NFL Nation: Dolphins-Rams

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Rams, blown away more often than not lately, hung tough and lost a close one for a change. The close call won't do anything to endear Marc Bulger to the St. Louis fans, however.

Bulger tossed three second-half interceptions while completing only 46 percent of his passes with a 4.3-yard average per attempt. His 22.2 passer rating came despite strong production from Steven Jackson in the running back's first game back from injury. The Rams' defense also showed improvement in holding the Dolphins to one touchdown.

Jackson carried 15 times for 72 yards in the first half. He carried only six times for 22 yards in the second half, when Bulger's interceptions prevented the Rams from sustaining drives.

Life could get tougher for the Rams in the short term as they travel to face the Cardinals in Week 14. Arizona will be playing for the NFC West title after an extended layoff.
Posted by's Tim Graham

Pretty it wasn't.

Even so, the Miami Dolphins posted a road victory over the St. Louis Rams, 16-12, on Sunday afternoon in the Edwards Jones Dome.

The Dolphins will enter December two games above .500 and remain in the wild-card hunt. They will play the gagging Buffalo Bills next Sunday in Toronto.

The Dolphins intercepted Marc Bulger three times and gained 327 net yards, spreading the ball around to running backs Ronnie Brown (48 yards) and Ricky Williams (54 yards). Brown scored the game's lone touchdown in the second quarter, capping a 91-yard drive.

Chad Pennington completed only 13 of 26 passes for 133 yards.

It was enough. The Dolphins are 7-5 and very much alive in the playoff race.

Posted by's Mike Sando

San Francisco 49ers (3-8) at Buffalo Bills (6-5), 1 p.m. ET

The 49ers can make it 0-for-15 among teams traveling west to east across a 3-hour time difference this season. Seattle (0-4), Oakland (0-3), San Diego (0-3), Arizona (0-3) and San Francisco (0-1) have combined for an 0-14 record in games starting at 10 a.m. PT.

The Cardinals' defeat to the Eagles on Thursday night didn't qualify because Arizona is on Mountain time and does not adjust for daylight savings.

The early start isn't the 49ers' only enemy at Ralph Wilson Stadium. San Francisco's defense has allowed nine passing touchdowns over its last four games despite holding the Rams to one during a 35-16 victory in Week 11. The Bills aren't a great passing team, but they are coming of a 54-point showing at Kansas City.

Miami Dolphins (6-5) at St. Louis Rams (2-9), 1 p.m. ET

The Rams hope to have Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson and Orlando Pace in the starting lineup together for the first time since Week 6. They also hope it makes a difference.

Bulger has taken too many hits to trust his protection and run the offense with confidence. Jackson figures to be rusty if he returns, and his durability is in question. Pace is still a good player when healthy, but an offensive tackle can do only so much.

And it's not as though the Rams' defense has shown signs of picking up the slack. This game qualifies as a must-win for the Dolphins as they make a playoff push. Their ground game should punish the Rams' poor-tackling defense.




Sunday, 2/2