ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Even the Miami Dolphins couldn't beat Kurt
Warner threw four touchdown passes, and Marshall Faulk scored
three times Sunday in a 42-10 victory in a game pairing unbeaten
Miami (2-1) was supposed to pose a stiff test, but the Rams, who
sputtered at times in their first two games, rolled up 451 yards in
total offense, and Warner engineered a 99-yard scoring drive in the
Warner has never lost at home, going 16-0 in the Dome at
America's Center counting regular season and playoffs. He was
24-for-31 for 328 yards and no interceptions.
"We are not used to teams moving the ball like that on us,"
Dolphins cornerback Patrick Surtain said.
The Dolphins were ranked eighth in the NFL on defense, and their
reputation was probably better than that.
"He is that good, let's face it," coach Mike Martz said,
referring to Warner. "People need to start realizing that you
don't line up against a defense like that and do what he did."
In the first two games, both outdoors and on the road, Warner
had four touchdown passes and three pickoffs. The Rams lost three
in a row at home last November, but Warner was out with a broken
"I played in a dome in college. I played inside in Arena
Football. I just love playing inside," Warner said. "It's my
element, it's what I'm comfortable with."
Was this a case of a bad day for the Dolphins' D or was it a great day for the Rams' O?
Great players make great plays in big games. Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk took the game over. You can play good defense on those guys, like the Dolphins did at times, but they just made great plays.
The game turned on Jay Fiedler's fumble in the second quarter. There was a big turnaround after that. The Dolphins played OK, but the Rams made the plays they needed to make. The Rams played a smart game defensively. They didn't give up any big plays, they stopped the run and they were going to make Fiedler beat them by throwing the ball -- and he didn't.
The Rams' D has improved since last season. They've got more speed and they've got guys who are aggressive and hungry. Whether they're back to the level of their Super Bowl year remains to be seen.
ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.
It was a delayed home opener for the Rams (3-0), who were to
have opened Sept. 17 against the Falcons. Besides the pregame
ceremony honoring victims of the terrorist attacks, offensive line
coach Jim Hanifan, a U.S. Army veteran, waved a large American flag
at the 50-yard line before the national anthem.
Perhaps even more impressive than the 99-yard drive that made it
28-10 was Warner's 1-yard touchdown pass to Faulk on the last play
of the first half, making it 21-10. Warner delivered the ball while
in the grasp of linebacker Scott Galyon, and after the pass, he was
slammed to the turf by Jermaine Haley and Brock Marion.
"It never hurts quite as much when you get a touchdown out of
it," Warner said.
Warner opened the game going 8-for-8 for 68 yards on a 10-play
drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Proehl, giving him
13 straight completions in a span of two games. Warner caught Torry
Holt in stride on a 45-yard score in the fourth quarter.
"I'll refer to him as Marino," Dolphins defensive tackle Daryl Gardener said of Warner. "Randy Johnson, Dan Marino: He threw
nothing but strikes."
Faulk, who scored an NFL-record 26 touchdowns last year, has
four in the first three games. He finished with 88 yards on 19
carries and six catches for 72 yards, also scoring on a 10-yard
swing pass in the first half and a 1-yard run.
"Forty-two points is nice, but we strive for perfection,"
Two first-half failures inside the 10 cost the Dolphins (2-1). A
blitzing London Fletcher forced Jay Fiedler to fumble on
third-and-goal from the 6 in the second quarter, with Dexter
McCleon recovering the ball.
"Every day in practice and in meetings, we talk about getting
turnovers," Fletcher said. "That was a huge play."
Fiedler was 19-for-27 for 204 yards and two interceptions. The
Dolphins' lone touchdown came on a 24-yard touchdown pass from
Fiedler to James McKnight, who broke three tackles en route to the
end zone. Fletcher a pass on the game's next to last play after the
Dolphins had first-and-goal from the 3.
On the Rams' 99-yard drive, a 24-yard catch by Ernie Conwell
gave the Rams breathing room. The Rams caught a break near the end
of the drive when Jeff Robinson was ruled down just before fumbling
at the Dolphins 1.
Trung Canidate, the Rams' first-round pick last year, wrapped up
the scoring with his first career touchdown on a 9-yard run with
2:25 to go.
Faulk has 93 career touchdowns, tied for 14th on the NFL
career list with Jim Taylor. He passed Jim Brown, Tony Dorsett and
Bobby Mitchell on Sunday. ... The Rams have outscored their
opponents 20-0 in the third quarter. ... The Dolphins, whose
six-game series winning streak was ended, are 7-2 overall against
the Rams. ... Dolphins K Olindo Mare tied Mark Clayton (492) for
fourth on the team's career scoring list. ... Conwell sustained a
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