PONTIAC, Mich. -- For the St. Louis Rams, remaining the NFL's only unbeaten team was as simple as pitch and catch.
Kurt Warner pitched touchdown passes caught by Az-Zahir Hakim, Torry Holt and Ernie Conwell. Cornerback Dre' Bly caught also, an interception off Ty Detmer he returned 93 yards for a score.
The result was an easy 35-0 victory Monday night over the winless Detroit Lions.
''I don't care at all about balance,'' said St. Louis coach Mike Martz, whose team ran only three times in the first half and threw 21 times as it took a 21-0 lead. ''The dink passes were really working.''
It was hard to tell if the Rams (4-0) were good or the Lions (0-3) were bad in a game that was really never in doubt after Warner threw first-half touchdown passes of 15 yards to Hakim and 36 yards to Holt. Those scores capped two drives in which Warner threw 16 straight times, almost all of them underneath a Detroit secondary protecting against the deep pass.
''You know Kurt, he'll get you the ball,'' Holt said. ''You just have to make sure you get in the right spot.''
For Detroit, the story was simple.
''We got zero points. Zero,'' coach Marty Mornhinweg said. ''It was a brutal offensive game.''
In the second half, Mornhinweg replaced Detmer, intercepted seven times by Cleveland in Detroit's last game, with Charlie Batch, whom Detmer had replaced after a 28-6 opening-week loss in Green Bay. Batch had no better luck -- he completed his first two passes, but his third was intercepted in the end zone by Dexter McCleon.
Then, after driving the Lions 55 yards to the St. Louis 8, Batch was sacked by Leonard Little and fumbled. The ball was recovered by Grant Wistrom, who returned the ball for an apparent touchdown, but the Rams were penalized for running on the field after the recovery and the touchdown was nullified.
''It just felt good to get in,'' said Batch, who was 11-of-16 for 113 yards. ''I'm just disappointed that we didn't score.''
It really didn't matter.
So easy was it for the Rams to pass on a Lions secondary minus Bryant Westbrook, recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon, that Warner was 16-of-21 for 197 yards in the first half. He finished 29-of-37 for 291 yards.
Detmer was 15-of-18 for 149 yards, a deceptive figure if there ever was one.
The second half was anticlimactic.
The Rams scored twice in the final quarter on Warner's third TD pass, a 1-yarder to Conwell, and a 6-yard run by Marshall Faulk.
''The beauty of the game is that the same thing doesn't always work,'' said Faulk, who ran just 14 times for 71 yards and had nine catches for 80 yards. ''Some days you just want to run the ball. Today throwing it was working. Stats and percentages don't matter. Points matter.''
The Rams took a 7-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter on Warner's pass to Hakim at the end of an 80-yard drive that took 10 plays, all passes. The 15-yard scoring play was a 5-yard flip over the line to Hakim, who sidestepped Jimmy Wyrick and danced in.
It was like most of the drive -- short hitches and outs underneath the Detroit defense.
The first time Warner went deep was on the next series, hitting Holt from 36 yards behind Ron Rice to make it 14-0 2:29 into the second quarter.
Even when the Detroit offense moved, it ultimately failed.
Late in the second quarter, it drove from its own 38 to the St. Louis 16. But Detmer threw off his back foot right to Bly, who took it 93 yards untouched to make it 21-0.
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