Back to normal
Rams dance their way past Vikings 40-29
Updated: Monday December 11, 2000 5:42 PM
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Bringing the "Bob 'N Weave" out of mothballs brought out the best in the St. Louis Rams.
The swagger was back for the defending Super Bowl champions, who ended a three-game losing streak in sometimes brazen fashion in a 40-29 victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Marshall Faulk scored a team-record four touchdowns rushing and the Rams, who also had lost three in a row at home, celebrated their first two touchdowns with the banned dance.
They also signaled their own first downs and spun the ball after big plays.
"It's real fun seeing the guys do the 'Bob 'N Weave,'" quarterback Kurt Warner said. "That's what we're all about, showing emotion. We knew we had to break it out."
Vikings head coach Dennis Green is co-chairman of the NFL's competition committee, and he was behind the league crackdown on celebration dances this season. In the days before the game, several Rams said they wouldn't mind paying a fine.
"It has nothing to do with Dennis Green," said wide receiver Torry Holt, who invented the dance last year as a rookie and marked its return with nine catches for 172 yards. "It didn't matter who we were playing, we were going to do it."
Green said he had no reaction to the Rams' celebrations.
The Rams (9-5) opened the game with an 80-yard scoring drive capped by Faulk's 1-yard run, and seven Rams did the Bob 'N Weave.
On the second TD, another 1-yard run by Faulk, six players participated. The third time, wide receiver Isaac Bruce called a halt to the celebrating after another bunch of players convened in the end zone.
Faulk's touchdowns gave him a league-leading and career-high 19, and they were his first visits to the end zone in three games. After a couple of quiet weeks following his return from arthroscopic knee surgery, he had 135 yards rushing on 25 carries, topping 1,000 yards for the fourth consecutive season, and 43 yards on six receptions.
"The energy was good, my leg felt good, I felt good," Faulk said.
Warner, who threw four interceptions in a 16-3 loss at Carolina last week in a disastrous return from a broken little finger, was 27-for-32 for 346 yards. Warner was well-protected all day and completed his first 11 passes.
The Rams also played error-free ball a week after committing seven turnovers, and in the previous three weeks, they had 14. John Baker didn't punt until there was 4:17 remaining.
"We just could not stay with them," Green said. "If you don't have the ability to get turnovers and if you don't sack the quarterback, it's going to be very hard to beat a team on this surface."
The NFL's No. 1 offense scored 40 points for the first time since Game 6. They reached 40 five times in their first six games, but totaled just 47 points during the three-game losing streak.
The victory was critical to the playoff hopes of the Rams, who had lost five of seven after a 6-0 start. They remained tied for the NFC West lead with the Saints.
The Vikings (11-3), who have the NFC's best record, missed a chance to clinch the NFC Central and had a four-game winning streak halted. After trailing 17-0, they closed to 20-14 on an 8-yard run by Daunte Culpepper in the third quarter, but the Rams answered with Faulk's third score on a 5-yard run for a 26-14 lead.
Faulk set up his fourth touchdown when the Vikings' Robert Griffith interfered with him in the end zone on a pass play, and he scored on a 1-yard run the next play for a 33-14 lead.
The Vikings scored again on a 2-yard pass from Culpepper to Cris Carter, but the Rams answered back. Backup running back Justin Watson finished off an 80-yard march with a 6-yard run for a 40-21 lead with 8:10 to go.
Culpepper was 21-of-33 for 221 yards, passing for three touchdowns and running for a fourth. Randy Moss had a quiet day until catching a 32-yard touchdown pass and then a conversion pass with 2:27 to go. Robert Smith, who entered the game first in the NFL in rushing, had 67 yards on 15 carries.
Notes: Holt has six 100-yard days this season. ... Several players shared the previous Rams record of three touchdowns rushing, with Lawrence Phillips the last to do it Aug. 31, 1997. ... The Rams scored a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time since Dec. 12, 1999, against the Saints. ... Jeff Wilkins, who had two field goals, has made 18 in a row dating to last season. He's the only kicker in the NFL who has not missed a field goal or extra point this year. ... Despite the loss, the Vikings have only six losses in their last 39 games on artificial turf, and the last two also are on turf.