St. Louis can't be beat

Posted: Monday, October 22, 2001

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Trung Canidate scored twice and accounted for 232 yards Sunday, helping the St. Louis Rams remain the NFL's only unbeaten team with a 34-14 victory over the New York Jets.

St. Louis is only the second NFL team to start three straight seasons with six victories. The 1929-31 Green Bay Packers had the only other such streak.

Canidate replaced Marshall Faulk, last season's Most Valuable Player, who bruised his right knee a week ago and was inactive for Sunday's game after saying during the week he might be able to play against the Jets (3-3).

The Rams and Canidate did just fine without him. Canidate rushed for 195 yards on 23 carries and added three receptions for 37 yards.

Canidate broke a 7-7 tie with the second of St. Louis' three touchdowns in the second quarter, and he will never have an easier score in his career.

With the Rams on their own 44, wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim took a handoff and was about to be tackled after a 12-yard gain when he pitched to Canidate near the sideline.

Canidate was in the clear for the final 44 yards and just trotted the last 10. He was going backward as he crossed the goal line, and because of the lateral, he wasn't even officially credited with a rushing attempt on the play.

Browns 24, Ravens 14

CLEVELAND -- Tim Couch threw two quick touchdown passes in the third quarter as Cleveland beat Baltimore for the first time since returning to the league.

Cleveland's defense forced three turnovers, had seven sacks and dominated the Super Bowl champion Ravens (3-3), who are a shell of the team whose defense dominated the NFL last season.

The Browns (4-2) were 0-4 and outscored 116-26 since '99 against the Ravens and owner Art Modell, who broke Cleveland's collective heart when he moved his franchise to Baltimore following the 1995 season.

Couch was 11-of-18 for 149 yards and rookie James Jackson rushed for 77 yards and one TD for the Browns, whose biggest win in three years will be followed by an off week.

Baltimore's Matt Stover set an NFL record by making a field goal for the 32nd straight game but that was the lone bright spot for the Ravens, whose defense has given up 55 points the past two weeks after allowing 165 all last season.

Bears 24, Bengals 0

CINCINNATI -- Anthony Thomas ran for a team rookie-record 188 yards and a touchdown as Chicago won its fourth straight game.

The Bears (4-1) are on their longest winning streak since 1995, the last time they made the playoffs. They're off to their best start since 1991, when they finished 11-5.

Thomas, a second-round draft pick who had not run for more than 58 yards in a game, darted through big holes on his 22 carries and wound up with the eighth-best rushing game in Bears history.

The crowd of 63,408 left early as the Bengals (3-3) were shut out at home for the first time in three years.

The Bears dominated every aspect and could have scored even more points. They missed a field goal, had another wiped out by a penalty and fumbled at the Bengals' 2-yard line, leaving them ahead only 10-0 at the half.

Chicago's defense, the NFL's stingiest, also was at the top of its game. Bengals running back Corey Dillon got only 30 yards on 16 carries.

Vikings 35, Packers 13

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brett Favre threw for only 169 yards against Minnesota's poor pass defense a week after shredding one of the NFL's top Ds, while counterpart Daunte Culpepper threw for one score and ran for another to lead the Vikings.

It was the Packers' worst regular season loss in eight years.

Minnesota (3-3), which entered the game ranked 29th in the league against the pass, won for the eighth time in its last 10 home games against Green Bay (4-2).

Favre completed 21 of 35 passes with two touchdowns and an interception. Most of the yards, though, came in the fourth quarter with Green Bay far behind. It was strikingly different from his performance last week in a 31-23 victory over visiting Baltimore, when Favre went 27-of-34 for 337 yards with three TDs.

Culpepper was 18-for-27 for 184 yards through the air and ran nine times for 70 yards. The rushing touchdown was his fifth of the season.

Doug Chapman, subbing for the injured Michael Bennett, had the best game this year by a Vikings running back -- 90 yards on 22 carries.

Steelers 17, Buccaneers 10

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jerome Bettis threw a 32-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option and ran for 143 yards and a TD as Pittsburgh dominated Tampa Bay for its fourth win in a row.

The Steelers' top-ranked defense sacked Brad Johnson 10 times and intercepted one of his passes in the end zone.

The Bucs (2-3) scored on Johnson's 5-yard pass to Frank Murphy with 28 seconds remaining, then appeared to recover an onside kick at their 43 to give themselves another chance to come back.

The officials ruled that Tampa Bay's Brian Kelly leaped into the air and came down with the ball before it squirted loose when he landed on the ground.

The ruling was reversed after it was reviewed on instant replay and the Steelers (4-1) ran out the clock to stay atop the AFC Central standings with their best start since 1996.

New England 38, Indianapolis 17

INDIANAPOLIS -- David Patten became the first NFL player in exactly 22 years to run, catch and pass for touchdowns in the same game, to lead New England.

Patten caught four passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns, scored on a 29-yard run, and completed a pass to Troy Brown for a 60-yard TD.

Walter Payton was the last player with such a trifecta, doing it against Minnesota on Oct. 21, 1979.

Tom Brady, filling in for Drew Bledsoe again, was 16-for-20 for 202 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.

Entering the game, Patten had touched the ball 19 times this season and hadn't scored once. The first time the wide receiver touched the ball Sunday, on an end-around on the Patriots' first play on offense, Patten ran 29 yards untouched into the end zone.

The Patriots (3-3) easily defeated the Colts -- widely considered a potential Super Bowl team -- for the second time in four weeks. New England beat Indianapolis 44-13 on Sept. 30.

Falcons 20, Saints 13

NEW ORLEANS -- Chris Chandler threw touchdown passes of 57 and 39 yards to lead Atlanta.

The Saints (3-2), who had the NFL's fourth-ranked defense coming into the game, allowed 297 yards, 124 on the ground.

Atlanta (3-3), loser of two straight after Jamal Anderson was lost for the season, seems to have found a replacement in Maurice Smith, who gained 83 yards on 22 carries against New Orleans.

Chandler completed 14 of 20 passes for 187 yards. He was sacked twice and threw one interception.

Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks completed 23 of 39 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked five times and intercepted once.

Running back Ricky Williams, who was averaging 4.5 yards a carry, gained just 51 yards on 21 carries, a 2.4-yard average.

Redskins 17, Panthers 14, OT

LANDOVER, Md. -- Brett Conway kicked a 23-yard field goal 1:52 into overtime to give coach Marty Schottenheimer his first victory with Washington.

The Redskins (1-5) twice believed they had won the game before they really did. Conway thought his 32-yard field goal with 36 seconds left in regulation was good -- it was ruled wide right -- and rookie Rod Gardner had a touchdown catch in overtime overturned when it was ruled that he was down by contact at the Panthers' 5-yard line. Conway kicked the game-winner on the next play.

With Washington trailing 14-0, LaVar Arrington's 67-yard interception return with 10:10 to play got the Redskins going, and Gardner caught an 85-yard touchdown pass on Washington's next offensive play to tie the score with 7:25 left. Suddenly, in a three-minute span, the Redskins had more points than they had scored in any game all season.

The Panthers (1-5) have lost five straight and were beaten on the last play of the game for the second consecutive week. It probably won't get any easier.

Running back Tshimanga Biakabutuka broke his foot in the fourth quarter after rushing for 121 yards and a touchdown. He is to have surgery Monday and most likely is out for the season.

The Panthers were undone by rookie Chris Weinke's four interceptions, including two inside the Redskins' 10-yard line in the first half. Weinke finished 28-of-35 for 226 yards.

Tony Banks completed 17 of 30 passes for 346 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Gardner had six catches for 208 yards, and Stephen Davis ran for 99 yards on 26 attempts.

Titans 27, Lions 24

PONTIAC, Mich. -- Joe Nedney kicked four field goals, including from 46 yards with five seconds left, for Tennessee.

Titans quarterback Steve McNair's 22-yard run set up the game-winning kick after Detroit (0-5) tied the game 24-all with 1:18 left. Tennessee has won two straight after starting the season 0-3.

Detroit, meanwhile, is off to its worst start since 1989, and a loss to Cincinnati at home next week would drop the Lions to 0-6 for the first time since 1955.

On the fourth play of the game, Lions defensive end Tracy Scroggins and Titans tackle Brad Hopkins were ejected for fighting. Midway through the second quarter, Detroit defensive tackle Luther Elliss was ejected for pushing an official.

Chargers 27, Broncos 10

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego forced two turnovers in Denver territory in the second half, both setting up touchdown passes from Doug Flutie to Jeff Graham.

Chargers linebacker Junior Seau went out with a strained groin in the first half and didn't return.

The Chargers were leading 13-10 when Seau's replacement, rookie linebacker Zeke Moreno, forced a fumble by Mike Anderson and San Diego safety Jason Perry recovered at the Denver 33. Four plays later, Flutie hit Graham on a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 20-10 lead with 2:17 left in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, defensive end Marcellus Wiley tipped a pass by Brian Griese, and Al Fontenot intercepted at the 38. Five plays later, Graham got behind second-year cornerback Deltha O'Neal for a 20-yard TD catch.

The Chargers began the season 3-0 but then lost two straight, blowing leads late in the fourth quarter both times. With the victory, they're 4-2 and a half game behind idle division leader Oakland. Denver (3-3) dropped into fourth place with its second straight divisional road loss.

Flutie completed 21 of 32 passes for 280 yards and two TDs, with one interception. Rookie LaDainian Tomlinson, the NFL's second-leading rusher, was held to a season-low 58 yards on 25 carries.

Griese, who came in with a sore right shoulder, threw two interceptions and was sacked four times. He was 26-of-41 for 212 yards and one touchdown.

Cardinals 24, Chiefs 16

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona's Corey Chavous intercepted Trent Green's pass in the end zone with one second to play after Kansas City had driven 97 yards from its own 1.

Michael Pittman rushed for 95 yards in 26 carries and caught four passes for 42 yards. His 24-yard touchdown run put Arizona up for good 10-9 with 9:17 left in the third quarter.

Thomas Jones ran 13 yards for Arizona's other touchdown as the Cardinals scored on their first three possessions of the second half to take a 24-9 lead, the first time they had been ahead by as many as 15 points in 42 games.

Green completed 21 of 43 passes for 352 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice. Priest Holmes carried 13 times for 85 yards.

Arizona improved to 2-3. Kansas City lost its third straight and fell to 1-5, its worst start since opening 1-9 in 1987.

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