St. Louis RB Faulk sets single-season TD mark
Updated: Sunday December 24, 2000 10:52 PM
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Marshall Faulk capped the most prolific touchdown season in NFL history by scoring three times Sunday to give him 26 for the season to break Emmitt Smith's record of 25 set in 1995.
"I had a big game in the big game," Faulk said.
Faulk scored on a 1-yard dive with 3:27 left to give the Rams a 26-14 lead and get the record. He then ran over to the stands and presented the ball to his mother.
"When you start a game you're never sure of the impact you'll have," Faulk said. "But coach [Mike] Martz put the ball in my hands four times on the first drive and I knew what kind of day it would be."
The record-reaking touchdown was set up by a 42-pass to Torry Holt to the Saints' 1.
Faulk, who missed two games during the season with minor knee surgery, ran untouched for a 9-yard score with 2:45 left in the third quarter. He also scored on a 13-yard pass from Kurt Warner in the first period.
"He is the best in the league, definitely the MVP," Rams backup quarterback Trent Green. "He played exceptionally, especially at the end of the game when we needed the first downs."
Faulk, who finished with a career-best 220 yards on 32 carries, had five carries for 54 yards on the Rams' final drive, enabling St. Louis to run out out the final 1:03.
"He made some great runs, a lot of great plays," Saints safety Sammy Knight said. "He made us miss tackles on a couple of big runs that he had at the end. They went for the world with Marshall and they won."
The first Rams-Saints game Nov. 26 was the second since surgery for Faulk. In that one he had only eight carries for 27 yards.
This year, Faulk became the first player in NFL history to score four touchdowns in a game three times in a season. He's also the first player in league history to score four touchdowns in back-to-back games.
Vikings QB Culpepper injures right ankle again
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper left the game against Indianapolis in the second quarter after re-injuring his sprained right ankle.
Minnesota had already clinched the NFC Central Division title and a first-round bye when Tampa Bay lost at Green Bay 17-14 in overtime and after New Orleans lost 26-21 to St. Louis. Tampa Bay could have won the division with a victory and a Vikings loss.
When the Vikings-Colts game started, Tampa Bay was lining up for a game-winning field goal.
So the Vikings started Culpepper, who missed most of practice this week with the ankle injury.
Culpepper was hit in the ankle on the second play of the game, when Chad Bratzke rolled into it. He was hit in the ankle again after throwing a 13-yard completion to Chris Walsh with 14:09 left in the half -- on the Vikings' third offensive series. Culpepper limped badly after the play and was forced to call timeout.
Culpepper finished that series, but turned the quarterback duties over to backup Bubby Brister on the Vikings next possession.
Culpepper was 7-of-10 for 97 yards and threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss before leaving.
Oakland RBs Kaufman, Ritchie inactive vs. Carolina
The moves left the Raiders short-handed in the backfield while trying to win their first division title since 1990. Oakland is averaging a league-best 152.7 yards rushing per game, but Ritchie and Kaufman practiced sparingly this week because of injuries.
Ritchie, the Raiders' starting fullback, has a sprained right ankle. He is Oakland's third-leading receiver with 26 catches for 173 yards. Zack Crockett took his place.
Kaufman was declared inactive because of knee and thigh injuries. He rushed for 499 yards this season, the team's second-highest total.
Rams QB Warner suffers concussion vs. Saints
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- St. Louis quarterback Kurt Warner was diagnosed with a concussion on Sunday that leaves his status in question for next week's playoff game.
Warner left the Rams-New Orleans Saints game early in the third quarter with a concussion. He was later taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a moderate concussion.
After the game, Rams head coach Mike Martz said he was not sure what Warner's condition or status is for when the Rams visit New Orleans again next weekend in an NFC wild-card game.
Warner, last year's NFL Most Valuable Player, was injured on the Rams' first series of the third quarter. He was sacked by La'Roi Glover, threw one more pass, then St. Louis settled for a 39-yard field goal that increased its lead to 13-7. The Rams went on to win the game 26-21, setting up a third meeting with the Saints.
When the Rams offense took the field again with 10:41 left in the quarter, Trent Green went in and Warner went to the locker room to be examined.
Warner returned to the field minutes later, but rode an exercise bike on the sidelines while Green remained at quarterback. He was later taken to the hospital.
Before leaving the game, Warner completed 12 of 17 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once and sacked twice.
Warner missed five games this season with a broken finger on his right hand. He did not play in the first Saints-Rams game Nov. 26. The Saints won that game 31-24.
Chiefs' Gonzalez third TE to reach 90 receptions
Gonzalez, who entered the game with 88 receptions, reached the landmark with 19 seconds left in the first period.
Gonzalez faked a block at the line, slipped to the other side of the field to catch a pass from Elvis Grbac, then rambled through several defenders to reach the end zone.
Gonzalez joined Ben Coates and Todd Christensen as the only tight ends to reach 90 receptions in a season. Coates had 96 with New England in 1994, while Christensen caught 95 passes for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1986.
Gonzalez had three catches by halftime of the final game of the season, giving him 91 overall.
Ravens QBs Dilfer, Banks hurt against Jets
The injury to Dilfer occurred late in the second quarter. X-rays on the wrist were negative, and Dilfer was cleared to play.
But Banks, who entered the game on a conversion attempt with seven seconds left in the first half, also started the third quarter.
Banks hurt his left shoulder while scrambling on his third play and left the field for X-rays. He has a separated shoulder, and will be lost one to three weeks, team officials said.
After Banks left, the Ravens punted on the next play. After the Jets kicked a field goal, Dilfer returned to the game.
QBs for Bears, Lions down with injuries
Matthews broke his thumb while throwing an incomplete pass with 2:37 left in the half. He was replaced by Cade McNown after completing 14 of 18 passes for 123 yards.
Batch aggravated his rib injury when Chicago's Brian Urlacher sacked him with 1:32 left in the first half. Batch has played with injured ribs since the Lions' win againstNew England on Thanksgiving. He was replaced by Stoney Case.
Batch's status for the rest of the game wasn't clear.
Batch was 7-of-15 with 81 yards with a touchdown against the Bears before walking off the field. Herman Moore dropped what would've been a touchdown pass from Batch in the second quarter, and other accurate passes from Batch were dropped by other Lions, who led Chicago 10-6 at halftime.
Game official injured during game at Philadelphia
Vince Siminetti was carried off the field on a stretcher when he was knocked over during a punt early in the game. He was conscious and was taken to the trauma center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
No other details were available about his injuries.
Siminetti was motionless on the sideline as the Eagles ran a deep pass on the first play after the punt.
The game then was stopped for 11 minutes with 13:18 left in the first quarter as medical personnel attended to Siminetti.
Fire damages Jacksonville QB's home
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell's house suffered heavy damage from a fire that apparently started when a candle tipped over early Sunday.
Nobody was injured in the fire. Most of the contents were damaged and the house was considered uninhabitable, teammate Tony Boselli said.
Brunell, who left early Sunday for Seattle, was not available for comment. He is building a house nearby that is expected to be completed this winter.