Stars don't come out as Rams dust Dolphins

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2001

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Marc Bulger tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Robinson early in the fourth quarter and the St. Louis Rams beat the Miami Dolphins 17-10 Monday night in the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame game.

Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, the NFL's MVP in 1999, played only one series and didn't attempt a pass. His backup, Joe Germaine, was 11-of-13 and ran for a score.

With almost all of the frontline players for both teams watching from the sidelines, Bulger, in his second year out of West Virginia, hit three key passes as the Rams drove 57 yards in six plays.

On third-and-1 at the Miami 49, he tossed a 15-yard pass to Trung Canidate, who sprained a ligament in his knee on the play. Bulger also completed a 12-yard pass to Yo Murphy and then found Robinson on a play-action pass on second-and-goal.

Canidate caught four passes for 77 yards and also rushed for 26 yards.

The Dolphins' best shot at tying the game ended when Josh Heupel, who led Oklahoma to the national championship last season, threw a pass through the end zone with 1:53 remaining.

Another pass by Heupel into the end zone fell incomplete on the final play.

Miami gained 25 yards on its first play of the exhibition season, a pass from Jay Fiedler to Rob Konrad.

On the next play, however, Fiedler's pass was tipped by linebacker Don Davis and was intercepted by Dexter McCleon.

The Dolphins avoided any glitches on their second possession, going 70 yards in 11 plays capped by Lamar Smith's 2-yard run. Fiedler was 3-for-3 on the drive for 43 yards -- each pass good for a first down.

The Rams scored the next 10 points, all with Germaine at quarterback. He completed both attempts for 25 yards leading to Jeff Wilkins' 34-yard field goal, then hit on all five of his passes in a 59-yard drive that he capped by keeping up the middle for a 2-yard touchdown.

St. Louis was 10-6 in the NFC West last year and earned a wildcard berth in the playoffs, losing to New Orleans 31-28.

The Rams retooled their defense after the season, hiring a new coordinator and new line, secondary and special teams coaches.

They also added six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Aeneas Williams, linebackers Mark Fields and Davis, linemen Cedric Jones and Tyoka Jackson and safety Kim Herring. St. Louis also used all three of its first-round draft choices on defenders: tackle Damione Lewis, safety Adam Archuleta and tackle Ryan Pickett.

The Dolphins' Olindo Mare kicked a 45-yard field goal on the last play of the half to tie it at 10.

With the score still 10-10 late in the third quarter, St. Louis drove to a first down at the Miami 1. After being stopped for no gain on first down by Dolphins safety Shawn Wooden, Canidate fumbled the ball and it was recovered in the end zone by Wooden.

Last year's league MVP, running back Marshall Faulk, did not play in the game for the Rams.

Backup quarterback Ray Lucas strained his back and didn't play in the second half for Miami. The Dolphins also lost defensive end Jason Taylor with a shoulder injury and running back J.J. Johnson with a knee injury.

The Dolphins are coming off a surprising 11-5 season in which they won the AFC East and then won their first playoff game before losing 27-0 to Oakland.



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