Greatest show on turf puls up lame, again

Rams fall to N.Y. Giants; continue losing streak started in Febuary Super Bowl loss

Posted: Monday, September 16, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- Kerry Collins was nearly flawless for the New York Giants, while the St. Louis Rams are looking more and more imperfect.

Collins built an early 17-point lead and the Giants' defense made all the big stops in a 26-21 victory over the defending NFC champions Sunday.

''I think we have higher expectations and desires than a lot of people think, or that we're capable of,'' said Giants coach Jim Fassel. ''Our guys weren't going to stop unless they were going to win.''

Collins hit 14 of his first 15 passes for the Giants (1-1).

''Everybody was writing us off before this game,'' he said. ''But we've got some good leaders in this locker room.''

The error-prone Rams are 0-2 for the first time since they went 4-12 in 1998, the year before Kurt Warner led them to their first Super Bowl title. St. Louis' offense has produced 37 points in two games, and the Rams have trailed at the half in their last four games, including a 14-3 deficit in their loss to the Patriots in the last Super Bowl.

At least they're good at describing their predicament.

''We keep tying our shoelaces in knots and stumbling over ourselves,'' said running back Marshall Faulk.

Broncos 24, 49ers 21

SAN FRANCISCO -- Denver appears ready to reclaim its status as one of the NFL's elite teams, led by a punishing defense that has contained two supposed Super Bowl contenders.

Mike Anderson rushed for 95 yards and caught a touchdown pass, and Brian Griese threw two TD passes as the Broncos beat the punchless 49ers 24-14 Sunday.

Olandis Gary rushed for 61 yards and a TD as Denver (2-0) followed up a surprising 23-16 win over St. Louis in its opener with a dominant defensive performance against San Francisco (1-1).

Bills 45, Vikings 39, OT

MINNEAPOLIS -- Overtime was much kinder to Drew Bledsoe and the Buffalo Bills this week, as Peerless Price took a pass from Bledsoe and streaked untouched for a 48-yard touchdown to beat Minnesota.

Bledsoe had not only the best passing day of his career, but the best of any Bills quarterback ever. He was 35 of 49 for 463 yards, surpassing the franchise mark of 419 set by Joe Ferguson in 1983.

Mike Hollis tied it as time expired in regulation with a career-long 54-yard field goal that hit the crossbar and bounced over. That answered Moe Williams' 3-yard TD run that put the Vikings up 39-36 with 26 seconds left -- the fourth lead change of the fourth quarter.

Dolphins 21, Colts 13

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ricky Williams ran for 132 yards on 24 carries and caught a touchdown pass, then watched the Dolphins' defense hold on to win for the fifth straight time in Indianapolis.

Jay Fiedler was 13-of-18 for 187 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for a 1-yard TD for Miami (2-0).

Williams became the first Dolphins rusher to top 100 yards two straight games since Bernie Parmalee in 1994.

Saints 35, Packers 20

NEW ORLEANS -- Aaron Brooks outperformed mentor Brett Favre by throwing two touchdown passes, and the relentless New Orleans defense led the Saints past Green Bay.

Brooks, who spent the 1999 season as Green Bay's third-string quarterback, was 16-of-28 for 217 yards as New Orleans jumped out to an early 21-3 lead.

Cowboys 21, Titans 13

IRVING, Texas -- Quincy Carter quieted his critics, for the moment at least, by passing for 240 yards and no interceptions as Dallas rallied from last week's bitter defeat to expansion Houston.

Carter, a lightning rod for the season-opening 19-10 loss to the Texans, perfectly executed a play fake for a 17-yard touchdown, then turned another well-run play-action into a 38-yard touchdown pass to Joey Galloway early in the fourth quarter.

Bears 14, Falcons 13

ATLANTA -- Brian Urlacher had a sensational game for Chicago, recovering a fumble by Michael Vick, sacking the speedy Atlanta quarterback and recording 12 tackles as the Bears improved to 2-0 for the first time since 1991.

Patriots 44, Jets 7

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tebucky Jones and Victor Green had defensive touchdowns and Tom Brady threw two TD passes for the Patriots, who seem to have dispelled all doubts that their Super Bowl win was a fluke.

Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals as New England (2-0) won its eighth straight regular-season game.

Buccaneers 25, Ravens 0

BALTIMORE -- Karl Williams returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown and Derrick Brooks scored on a 97-yard interception return as Tampa Bay gave John Gruden his first victory as Buccaneers coach.

The Bucs (1-1) limited the Ravens to six first downs before the fourth quarter and repeatedly frustrated Baltimore quarterback Chris Redman.

Baltimore (0-2) was shut out for the first time since Nov. 9, 1997.

Browns 20, Bengals 7

CLEVELAND -- Gus Frerotte proved he's not ambidextrous, and the Browns atoned for the mistakes of their opener by handing Cincinnati its second straight drubbing in Cleveland.

Late in the second quarter, Frerotte was trying to avoid a sack by Cleveland's Orpheus Roye when Frerotte flung the ball with his left -- non-throwing -- hand. Kenard Lang intercepted and ran 71 yards to set up a touchdown that put the Browns ahead 17-0.

Jaguars 23, Chiefs 16

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Jaguars rallied with two quick touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 79-yard touchdown pass from Mark Brunell to Patrick Johnson that was the longest pass play in Jacksonville history.

Johnson's TD made it 16-9, just two plays after Kansas City's Morten Andersen kicked his third field goal to tie it at 9-all with 5:59 left in the game.

Panthers 31, Lions 7

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rodney Peete passed for 310 yards and a touchdown for Carolina, which was happy to get a victory against the league's second-worst team from last year.

The Panthers actually looked good in doubling their win total from a year ago, when they lost their last 15 games. Now they're 2-0 for the first time since 1996.

Cardinals 24, Seahawks 13

SEATTLE -- Thomas Jones ran for a career-high 173 yards and MarTay Jenkins had a 95-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals rallied for the victory, ending Dilfer's 15-0 record as a starter.

Dilfer, whose last defeat as a starter came with the Ravens against Pittsburgh two years ago, was 29-of-47 for a career-best 352 yards and a touchdown, but he slowed down in the second half after leading the Seahawks (0-2) to a 10-3 lead at the break.

Chargers 24, Texans 3

SAN DIEGO -- If the Houston Texans didn't look like an expansion team in their opener, they sure did by the time Junior Seau and the San Diego Chargers were done with them.

Seau, the perennial Pro Bowl linebacker, intercepted rookie David Carr to set up one of Curtis Conway's two touchdowns, and defensive end Raylee Johnson recovered Carr's fumble in the end zone for another score by the Chargers (2-0).

Raiders 30, Steelers 17

PITTSBURGH -- Rich Gannon broke nearly every major single-game Raiders passing record, even those from the early days of the AFL, by throwing 64 times and Oakland's defense forced five turnovers as the Raiders beat the winless Steelers.

Gannon came out throwing, going 43-of-64 for 403 yards and a touchdown. The 43 completions were only two short of Drew Bledsoe's 1995 NFL record -- that in an overtime game -- and all but the yardage were Oakland records. The Raiders (2-0) rushed only 14 times.

They threw so much, only their second run of the game resulted in a 36-yard touchdown by Charlie Garner, who wasn't touched after squirming past the line of scrimmage.

CREDIT:AP Photo/James A. Finley

CAPTION:New York Giants' Jeremy Shockey (80) heads for the end zone to score on a 28-yard pass from quarterback Kerry Collins as St. Louis Rams' Kim Herring (20) gives chase during the second quarter in St. Louis Sunday.

HEAD:Rams fall to N.Y. Giants; continue losing streak started in February Super Bowl loss

HEAD:Greatest show on turf pulls up lame, again

BYLINE1:By R.B. FALLSTROM

BYLINE2:AP Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Kerry Collins was nearly flawless for the New York Giants, while the St. Louis Rams are looking more and more imperfect.

Collins built an early 17-point lead and the Giants' defense made all the big stops in a 26-21 victory over the defending NFC champions Sunday.

''I think we have higher expectations and desires than a lot of people think, or that we're capable of,'' said Giants coach Jim Fassel. ''Our guys weren't going to stop unless they were going to win.''

Collins hit 14 of his first 15 passes for the Giants (1-1).

''Everybody was writing us off before this game,'' he said. ''But we've got some good leaders in this locker room.''

The error-prone Rams are 0-2 for the first time since they went 4-12 in 1998, the year before Kurt Warner led them to their first Super Bowl title. St. Louis' offense has produced 37 points in two games, and the Rams have trailed at the half in their last four games, including a 14-3 deficit in their loss to the Patriots in the last Super Bowl.

At least they're good at describing their predicament.

''We keep tying our shoelaces in knots and stumbling over ourselves,'' said running back Marshall Faulk.

Broncos 24, 49ers 21

SAN FRANCISCO -- Denver appears ready to reclaim its status as one of the NFL's elite teams, led by a punishing defense that has contained two supposed Super Bowl contenders.

Mike Anderson rushed for 95 yards and caught a touchdown pass, and Brian Griese threw two TD passes as the Broncos beat the punchless 49ers 24-14 Sunday.

Olandis Gary rushed for 61 yards and a TD as Denver (2-0) followed up a surprising 23-16 win over St. Louis in its opener with a dominant defensive performance against San Francisco (1-1).

Bills 45, Vikings 39, OT

MINNEAPOLIS -- Overtime was much kinder to Drew Bledsoe and the Buffalo Bills this week, as Peerless Price took a pass from Bledsoe and streaked untouched for a 48-yard touchdown to beat Minnesota.

Bledsoe had not only the best passing day of his career, but the best of any Bills quarterback ever. He was 35 of 49 for 463 yards, surpassing the franchise mark of 419 set by Joe Ferguson in 1983.

Mike Hollis tied it as time expired in regulation with a career-long 54-yard field goal that hit the crossbar and bounced over. That answered Moe Williams' 3-yard TD run that put the Vikings up 39-36 with 26 seconds left -- the fourth lead change of the fourth quarter.

Dolphins 21, Colts 13

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ricky Williams ran for 132 yards on 24 carries and caught a touchdown pass, then watched the Dolphins' defense hold on to win for the fifth straight time in Indianapolis.

Jay Fiedler was 13-of-18 for 187 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for a 1-yard TD for Miami (2-0).

Williams became the first Dolphins rusher to top 100 yards two straight games since Bernie Parmalee in 1994.

Saints 35, Packers 20

NEW ORLEANS -- Aaron Brooks outperformed mentor Brett Favre by throwing two touchdown passes, and the relentless New Orleans defense led the Saints past Green Bay.

Brooks, who spent the 1999 season as Green Bay's third-string quarterback, was 16-of-28 for 217 yards as New Orleans jumped out to an early 21-3 lead.

Cowboys 21, Titans 13

IRVING, Texas -- Quincy Carter quieted his critics, for the moment at least, by passing for 240 yards and no interceptions as Dallas rallied from last week's bitter defeat to expansion Houston.

Carter, a lightning rod for the season-opening 19-10 loss to the Texans, perfectly executed a play fake for a 17-yard touchdown, then turned another well-run play-action into a 38-yard touchdown pass to Joey Galloway early in the fourth quarter.

Bears 14, Falcons 13

ATLANTA -- Brian Urlacher had a sensational game for Chicago, recovering a fumble by Michael Vick, sacking the speedy Atlanta quarterback and recording 12 tackles as the Bears improved to 2-0 for the first time since 1991.

Patriots 44, Jets 7

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tebucky Jones and Victor Green had defensive touchdowns and Tom Brady threw two TD passes for the Patriots, who seem to have dispelled all doubts that their Super Bowl win was a fluke.

Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals as New England (2-0) won its eighth straight regular-season game.

Buccaneers 25, Ravens 0

BALTIMORE -- Karl Williams returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown and Derrick Brooks scored on a 97-yard interception return as Tampa Bay gave John Gruden his first victory as Buccaneers coach.

The Bucs (1-1) limited the Ravens to six first downs before the fourth quarter and repeatedly frustrated Baltimore quarterback Chris Redman.

Baltimore (0-2) was shut out for the first time since Nov. 9, 1997.

Browns 20, Bengals 7

CLEVELAND -- Gus Frerotte proved he's not ambidextrous, and the Browns atoned for the mistakes of their opener by handing Cincinnati its second straight drubbing in Cleveland.

Late in the second quarter, Frerotte was trying to avoid a sack by Cleveland's Orpheus Roye when Frerotte flung the ball with his left -- non-throwing -- hand. Kenard Lang intercepted and ran 71 yards to set up a touchdown that put the Browns ahead 17-0.

Jaguars 23, Chiefs 16

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Jaguars rallied with two quick touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 79-yard touchdown pass from Mark Brunell to Patrick Johnson that was the longest pass play in Jacksonville history.

Johnson's TD made it 16-9, just two plays after Kansas City's Morten Andersen kicked his third field goal to tie it at 9-all with 5:59 left in the game.

Panthers 31, Lions 7

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rodney Peete passed for 310 yards and a touchdown for Carolina, which was happy to get a victory against the league's second-worst team from last year.

The Panthers actually looked good in doubling their win total from a year ago, when they lost their last 15 games. Now they're 2-0 for the first time since 1996.

Cardinals 24, Seahawks 13

SEATTLE -- Thomas Jones ran for a career-high 173 yards and MarTay Jenkins had a 95-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals rallied for the victory, ending Dilfer's 15-0 record as a starter.

Dilfer, whose last defeat as a starter came with the Ravens against Pittsburgh two years ago, was 29-of-47 for a career-best 352 yards and a touchdown, but he slowed down in the second half after leading the Seahawks (0-2) to a 10-3 lead at the break.

Chargers 24, Texans 3

SAN DIEGO -- If the Houston Texans didn't look like an expansion team in their opener, they sure did by the time Junior Seau and the San Diego Chargers were done with them.

Seau, the perennial Pro Bowl linebacker, intercepted rookie David Carr to set up one of Curtis Conway's two touchdowns, and defensive end Raylee Johnson recovered Carr's fumble in the end zone for another score by the Chargers (2-0).

Raiders 30, Steelers 17

PITTSBURGH -- Rich Gannon broke nearly every major single-game Raiders passing record, even those from the early days of the AFL, by throwing 64 times and Oakland's defense forced five turnovers as the Raiders beat the winless Steelers.

Gannon came out throwing, going 43-of-64 for 403 yards and a touchdown. The 43 completions were only two short of Drew Bledsoe's 1995 NFL record -- that in an overtime game -- and all but the yardage were Oakland records. The Raiders (2-0) rushed only 14 times.

They threw so much, only their second run of the game resulted in a 36-yard touchdown by Charlie Garner, who wasn't touched after squirming past the line of scrimmage.



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