Final

Rams 35

(9-2, 6-0 away)

Falcons 6

(6-5, 2-4 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:15 PM ET, December 2, 2001

 

1 2 3 4 T
STL 14 0 14 735
ATL 3 3 0 06

Warner throws four TD passes, Faulk scores three

ATLANTA (AP) -- The St. Louis Rams showed just how dominating they can be when they don't turn the ball over.

Marshall Faulk

Marhsall Faulk will be a huge obstacle for the Patriots on Sunday.

Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Co. thoroughly overwhelmed the Atlanta Falcons, cruising to a 35-6 victory Sunday.

Warner threw four touchdown passes and had his seventh 300-yard game of the season. Three of his scoring passes went to Faulk, who got his 100th career TD.

Clearly, this wasn't the same Rams team that lost to Tampa Bay on Monday night.

"When we play football like we did today, I like our chances against anybody," said Dre Bly, who returned an interception for a touchdown.

Did the Falcons play poorly or are they simply not in the same league as the Rams?
If the Rams don't turn the ball over, nobody can beat them. And when Chris Chandler went down, the Falcons' chances went with him.

The Falcons had won three straight coming into this game. But when Warner, Faulk and Co. are on, St. Louis is virtually impossible to beat.

The Rams' defense played tough, too, limiting Atlanta to just two first-half field goals.

ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.

St. Louis (9-2) lost to the Buccaneers 24-17 largely because of turnovers. There were three fumbles, then Warner was picked off on the final two possessions.

The Rams came to Atlanta leading the NFL with 32 giveaways -- 20 in the last four games. At the end of the day, they still had 32.

"If you bring it to their attention, and tell them they've got to protect that ball better, keep that ball squeezed, then they do it and it's done," coach Mike Martz said. "That's the kind of guys they are."

It didn't hurt to be playing the Falcons (6-5), who came in as a surprise playoff contender but have been thoroughly dominated by the Rams for three years.

Warner and the league's most explosive offense were coldly efficient against Atlanta, which had won three straight and four of five to eclipse its victory total from each of the last two seasons.

None of that mattered with St. Louis in the house. The Falcons have been outscored 197-75 in losing five straight games to their NFC West rival.

"We are real disappointed," coach Dan Reeves said. "We didn't stand up to the test. We thought we had a good chance."

Not against Warner, who was 17-of-23 for 342 yards. His career numbers against the Falcons are staggering: 83-of-127 for 1,377 yards, 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions in five games.

"We really don't have any concerns," Warner said. "Obviously, we're trying to rid ourselves of (the turnovers). But bottom line, we've got to continue to make plays. We can't change our personality of what we do. We have to stay on the attack and be aggressive."

Faulk had touchdown catches of 19 and 9 yards before a 65-yard play in the third quarter made him the 13th player in NFL history to score 100 touchdowns. He is tied with Franco Harris on the career list.

Overall, Faulk had six catches for 128 yards. He also ran 12 times for 70 yards.

"I always want the ball," he said.

The Falcons had the ball first, only to make the biggest mistake of the day. On the fourth play from scrimmage, Chris Chandler threw into double coverage and was picked off Bly, who streaked 56 yards the other way for a touchdown.

The unusually raucous Georgia Dome fans quickly settled back in their seats, knowing they had seen this all before.

"It was a play we had been working all week," Bly said. "I just got a great read on the quarterback. I read him the whole way and made the play on it."

The Falcons actually kept the game close until halftime by holding the ball for nearly 21 minutes.

Still, the Rams had a 14-6 lead. They blew it open with two more touchdowns in the third, including Warner's 45-yard touchdown pass to Torry Holt on the third play from scrimmage.

Chandler wasn't around for the end. He was knocked down by Grant Wistrom after completing a pass on the next-to-last play of the first half, severely spraining his left ankle.

"We were moving the ball good, we just couldn't capitalize in the red zone," said Chandler, who was 14-of-18 for 123 yards.

After the interception, the Falcons drove St. Louis territory on their next four possessions, but wound up with only two field goals. Jay Feely also missed twice.

Michael Vick, the NFL's No. 1 draft pick, played most of the second half, with third-stringer Doug Johnson getting some work when the game got out of hand.

Chandler has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. He already had missed one game and been knocked out of two others because of various ailments.

The Falcons dropped to 2-13 since the start of the 1999 season when Chandler leaves the game or doesn't play because of an injury.

Game notes
Vick was 7-of-18 passing for 94 yards. He also ran six times for 52 yards. ... The Rams finished with a 422-320 edge in total yards. ...Jamie Martin finished up at quarterback for St. Louis. ... The Falcons played their second straight game without strong safety Gerald McBurrows (knee). ... The Falcons, who came in with a plus-7 turnover differential, also lost a fumble late in the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSTLATL
stlTD12:45Touchdown
Drive info: 1 plays, 43 yds, 0:00
60
stl12:45
Drive info: 1 plays, 43 yds, 0:00
70
FOURTH QUARTERSTLATL
stlTD6:35Touchdown
Drive info: 3 plays, 70 yds, 0:52
346
THIRD QUARTERSTLATL
stlTD13:35Touchdown
Drive info: 3 plays, 77 yds, 1:56
206
FOURTH QUARTERSTLATL
stl6:35
Drive info: 3 plays, 70 yds, 0:52
356
THIRD QUARTERSTLATL
stl13:35
Drive info: 3 plays, 77 yds, 1:56
216
FIRST QUARTERSTLATL
atlFG9:31Jay Feely 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 45 yds, 2:11
73
THIRD QUARTERSTLATL
stlTD6:05Touchdown
Drive info: 10 plays, 98 yds, 5:29
276
FIRST QUARTERSTLATL
stlTD3:37Touchdown
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:40
133
THIRD QUARTERSTLATL
stl6:05
Drive info: 10 plays, 98 yds, 5:29
286
FIRST QUARTERSTLATL
stl3:37
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:40
143
SECOND QUARTERSTLATL
atlFG5:50Jay Feely 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 29 plays, 33 yds, 15:11
146