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Rams roll on

Faulk's monster day tames Bears in 35-12 romp

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Posted: Sunday December 26, 1999 06:33 PM

  Kurt Warner Another walk in the park with Kurt: Warner picked apart the Bears with deadly precision. AP

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- There was no letup by the St. Louis Rams.

Marshall Faulk became only the second player in NFL history to amass 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in one season, and Kurt Warner tied a record with his ninth 300-yard passing game as the NFC West champions beat the Chicago Bears 34-12 Sunday.

"We weren't going to hold anything back," Warner said. "We wanted to play the kind of football we've played all year, and I think we did that."

The Rams (13-2) ran out of season-oriented incentives last week when they clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. That didn't stop them from eliminating the Bears (6-9) from playoff contention, with Faulk piling up 222 total yards on 20 touches in the first half alone.

"The game just came to me," Faulk said. "They covered me -- tried."

The Bears blitzed constantly, leaving Faulk in single coverage. He was much more than a typical safety valve, catching three passes for 65 yards on the Rams' second scoring drive, then three more for 39 yards in a span of four plays to set up a field goal at the end of the half.

"We got a lot of hot reads and I was just able to flip it to Marshall," Warner said. "And we all know how explosive he is once he gets the ball."

The Bears couldn't do much about it.

"We knew it was coming, we called it out, but he still kept getting the ball," defensive tackle Mike Wells said. "He killed us."

The Rams led 31-0 with 8:08 to go in the third quarter en route to setting franchise records for victories and scoring, and tied Jacksonville for the NFL's best record. St. Louis has won nine in a row in the Trans World Dome, including eight this season by an average margin of 35-11.

That's slightly better than their overall winning margin of 33-14.

"Really, we've beaten everybody pretty soundly here at home, so it really makes a statement," Warner said. "That's what we wanted to do coming in so people know when they come to our house in the playoffs, it's a tough place to win."

Faulk played only one series in the second half and finished with 204 yards on a personal-best 12 catches and 54 yards rushing on 10 carries, for a season-best 258-yard game that ties Quadry Ismail of Baltimore for the NFL's best this year.

Faulk has 2,323 total yards -- 1,302 rushing and 1,021 receiving -- and needs 36 yards in the season finale at Philadelphia to break Barry Sanders' 1997 total yardage record of 2,358.

"That makes me have something to play for next week," Faulk said.

The only other player to amass 1,000 yards rushing and receiving was Roger Craig of the 49ers in 1985.

Warner got the Rams rolling after their second scoreless first quarter of the season and was 24-for-35 for 334 yards and three touchdowns in 2 1/2 quarters. Faulk, Roland Williams and Isaac Bruce each caught one touchdown pass.

Warner has 39 touchdown passes, tied with Brett Favre (1996) for third on the single-season list, and can become only the third quarterback to throw for 40. In his first season as a starter, his nine 300-yard passing games ties him for the NFL record with Dan Marino (1984) and Warren Moon (1990).

Warner raised his quarterback rating three tenths of a point to 111.4, just off the record of 112.8 by the 49ers' Steve Young in 1994.

Faulk scored after three clearout blocks on a 48-yard screen pass in the second quarter as the Rams broke the previous team record of 466 points set in 1950. Williams got his sixth touchdown on only 23 catches on a 2-yarder and Bruce caught his 12th on a 4-yarder in the third quarter.

Defensive end Grant Wistrom also scored on a 40-yard interception return -- his second interception runback of the season and the Rams' team-record eighth defensive touchdown in the third quarter.

It also was the Rams' 11th touchdown on a return this year, two shy of the NFL record set by Seattle in 1998. Wistrom also had a 41-yard fumble return in the first half, although Bobby Engram stole the ball from him on the way down.

Bears rookie quarterback Cade McNown sat out the second half with a strained right thigh. He was 9-for-16 for 125 yards and was sacked four times, including the final play of the first half.

McNown said he was hit from behind and strained his right thigh while uncoiling to throw a pass.

"It hurt when I threw hard and it kept getting worse each time I threw," McNown said. "I could have gutted it out, but I wouldn't have helped the team."

Wistrom intercepted a pass by McNown's replacement, Shane Matthews, on the Bears' first possession of the second half, making it 31-0.

The Bears also lost running back Curtis Enis, who strained his left shoulder in the third quarter. Enis had 21 yards on seven carries.

Matthews broke the shutout with an 8-yard pass to Engram with three minutes left in the third quarter. Engram, who had 11 receptions for 109 yards, also caught a 4-yarder with 11:18 to play.

Notes: The Rams have 54 sacks, two shy of the team record set three times, and the last time in 1988. Kevin Carter got his league-leading 16th Sunday. ... The game featured a rare brother vs. brother matchup. Rex Tucker started at right guard for the Bears and older brother Ryan is a backup offensive lineman for the Rams. ... Bears cornerback Walt Harris left with a strained hamstring in the first quarter. ... Rams backup tight end Jeff Robinson was ejected with 10:02 to go after a confrontation with Chicago's Ty Hallock. ... Bears punter Todd Sauerbrun averaged 51.8 yards on five attempts.

 
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