Rams rout Dolphins 42-10 in battle of unbeatens
Updated: Monday October 01, 2001 10:54 AM
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 third quarter.
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," Rams head 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 season in November, but Warner was out with a broken finger.
"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."
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, 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 consecutive 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," Faulk said.
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.
On the Rams' 99-yard drive, a 24-yard catch by Ernie Conwell gave St. Louis 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.
Notes: 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 concussion.