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Rams Gear Up Against Martz

October 02, 2006|From the Associated Press

Maybe the Rams merely needed their former ringmaster back in the building to resemble "The Greatest Show on Turf."

In a shootout befitting Mike Martz's return to St. Louis, Isaac Bruce caught a five-yard pass for a touchdown with 1:56 to play as the St. Louis rallied to beat Detroit, 41-34, Sunday.

Trailing 34-33 with 4:42 to play, the Rams (3-1) got the ball and marched 56 yards in seven plays, scoring when Marc Bulger threw to Bruce, who wriggled into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season. Bulger and Bruce then connected on a two-point conversion.

On the first play after the Rams' score, a pass by Lions quarterback Jon Kitna was intercepted, but the Lions got the ball back with 47 seconds left after Jeff Wilkins missed a 47-yard field-goal try.

Detroit drove to the St. Louis 37-yard line, then appeared to get a break when Rams rookie Ty Hill was called for interference against Az-Zahir Hakim in the end zone with 22 seconds left. But after a huddle, the officials reversed the call because the ball was tipped, and Kitna's fourth-down pass sailed out of the end zone.

Bulger completed 26 of 42 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns. Torry Holt had six catches for 102 yards and a score, and Bruce caught seven passes for 100 yards and a score.

Detroit (0-4) has made steady progress under Martz, who took over the offense after being fired in St. Louis, where he was head coach for six seasons. After scoring 13 points in their first two games, the Lions have scored 58 in their last two.

Kitna completed 29 of 43 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Carolina 21, New Orleans 18 -- No amount of Saints momentum was enough to stop Steve Smith and the Panthers at Charlotte, N.C.

Jake Delhomme threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Drew Carter midway through the fourth quarter to put his team ahead to stay as Carolina (2-2) handed New Orleans its first loss of the season.

The Saints (3-1) were playing on the road six days after an emotional Monday night rout of Atlanta in their return to the Superdome.

Then Smith got loose late.

Smith caught three passes for 35 yards on the 91-yard drive. Then with the Saints focusing on Smith and Keyshawn Johnson, Delhomme lobbed a pass to a wide-open Carter to put Carolina ahead 14-10 with 7:15 left.

Rookie Reggie Bush was limited to 22 yards in 11 carries and lost a fumble at the Carolina 21 in the second quarter.

Atlanta 32, Arizona 10 -- DeAngelo Hall returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown, Jerious Norwood broke off a 78-yard scoring run and 46-year-old Morten Andersen kicked five field goals for the Falcons (3-1) at Atlanta.

The Cardinals (1-3) lost for the third consecutive time. Matt Leinart replaced Kurt Warner at quarterback with 13 minutes left. On the rookie's second play, Grady Jackson blew by his blocker to knock the ball away from Leinart before he could even hand off on a running play.

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