Rams topple Niners for best in West

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- Marshall Faulk scored two touchdowns and Kurt Warner threw for two as the St. Louis Rams won a matchup of NFC West leaders Sunday, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 27-14.

The victory, coupled with the Bears' loss at Green Bay, gave St. Louis the best record in the conference (10-2).

Faulk ran for a 6-yard score in the first quarter, and his 3-yard touchdown catch put the Rams ahead 21-7 at the half en route to a season sweep of the 49ers (9-3). Faulk, who has scored five touchdowns the last two weeks, had 88 yards on 25 carries and five catches for 19 yards.

Warner was 26-for-42 for 294 yards and one interception, also hitting Ricky Proehl for a 15-yard score in the first quarter.

Packers 17, Bears 7

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Ahman Green ran for 125 yards and a touchdown, and Brett Favre got career victory No. 100 as Green Bay took over the top spot in the NFC Central.

Both teams are 9-3, but the Packers swept Chicago, which lost on the road for the first time since the season opener against Baltimore.

Green broke a 7-7 tie late in the third quarter with a 12-yard touchdown run that capped a 91-yard drive. He became the first running back to top 100 yards against the Bears since Robert Smith for Minnesota on Oct. 15, 2000, a span of 20 games.

Green rushed 29 times and also had 49 yards on two receptions from Favre, who improved to 100-53 as a starter, including 16-4 against Chicago.

Favre finished 15-of-27 for 207 yards, with one touchdown pass and an interception. He went over 3,000 yards passing for the 10th straight year, breaking the NFL mark he shared with Dan Marino.

Bucs 15, Lions 12

TAMPA, Fla. -- Keyshawn Johnson caught a 13-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds remaining, his first scoring reception of the season, and Tampa Bay kept Detroit on track for a winless season.

Johnson had 10 receptions for 101 yards, including a 15-yard catch on fourth-and-8 to keep the game-winning, 80-yard drive alive at the Detroit 13. His final catch gave him 93 for the season, a career high.

It was the third straight win for Tampa Bay, heading into a tough stretch in which the Bucs (7-5) will face Chicago, New Orleans, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Eagles 24, Chargers 14

PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb passed for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and Brian Dawkins returned a fumble 49 yards for a TD for Philadelphia against San Diego.

Doug Flutie threw for 307 yards and two TDs against the NFL's top-ranked pass defense, but couldn't prevent the Chargers from losing their sixth consecutive game after opening 5-2.

On two previous occasions this season, Philadelphia (8-4) lost games at home against teams it should've beaten. Arizona, a 13-point underdog, defeated the Eagles 21-20 on Oct. 7, and Washington, a touchdown underdog, beat them 13-3 two weeks ago.

Cowboys 20, Giants 13

IRVING, Texas -- Quincy Carter rallied Dallas from a 10-point deficit, throwing for a career-best 194 yards and running for a crucial first down.

The Cowboys (4-8) won their second straight since the rookie quarterback returned to the lineup. The victory ended a three-game losing streak against New York.

The loss put the Giants (5-7) in serious jeopardy of not making the playoffs a year after reaching the Super Bowl.

New York scored on three of its first four possessions. Dallas found itself down 13-3, without a first down and with Carter having minus-2 yards passing.

The Cowboys closed to 13-6 at halftime, tied it on Emmitt Smith's 1-yard run and went ahead with Carter's 3-yard pass to Jackie Harris, set up by Carter's 11-yard gain on third-and-11.

Saints 28, Falcons 10

ATLANTA -- Deuce McAllister tossed a touchdown pass from his halfback position, then broke free for a 54-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, lifting New Orleans over Atlanta.

Cheered on by thousands of gold-clad fans who turned the Georgia Dome into Superdome North, the Saints (7-5) came up with a critical victory in the NFC wild-card race. They reversed an Oct. 21 loss to the Falcons (6-6), who have dropped two in a row at home and are 2-5 at the Georgia Dome.

McAllister threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Willie Jackson, and the 54-yard run was McAllister's only carry of the day.

The Saints also sacked Falcons quarterback Chris Chandler nine times.

Bills 25, Panthers 24

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Brandon Spoon returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown, and Travis Henry scored on a 1-yard plunge, rallying Buffalo from an 18-point deficit.

The Bills (2-10), who snapped a six-game losing streak, came back against a Carolina team (1-12) that has lost 12 straight, including nine in which the Panthers had the lead or were tied in the second half.

Trailing 24-6, the Bills' comeback began when Alex Van Pelt hit Peerless Price for a 7-yard touchdown with 1 second left in the first half. Spoon's interception return cut Carolina's lead to 24-19 in the third quarter, and Henry's dive with 7:51 remaining finished the rally.

Patriots 27, Browns 16

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Antowain Smith ran for two touchdowns, and New England (8-5) forced four turnovers against Cleveland.

The Patriots, 7-2 in their last nine games, finish the season against two of the NFL's weakest teams, Buffalo and Carolina, on the road, and then Miami at home.

Tim Couch threw three interceptions for the Browns, 6-6 after going 5-27 the last two seasons.

New England's Tom Brady, despite allowing Corey Fuller's touchdown on a 49-yard interception return, was 19-of-28 for 218 yards and two touchdowns.

Vikings 42, Titans 24

MINNEAPOLIS -- Todd Bouman, making his first NFL start, passed for 348 yards and four touchdowns, leading Minnesota (5-7) past Tennessee (5-7).

Staying on the fringes of the NFC playoff hunt, the Vikings (5-7) scored four touchdowns in a 12-minute stretch spanning the second and third quarters.

Michael Bennett ran for two touchdowns and had 113 yards on 16 carries, the first 100-yard game by a Minnesota running back since Robert Smith against Detroit on Nov. 30, 2000.

Randy Moss was booed the first few times his name was announced. But he was cheered after catching seven passes for 158 yards, including a 73-yard TD catch with 2:35 left.

Jaguars 14, Bengals 10

CINCINNATI -- Mark Brunell threw two touchdown passes, including an 11-yarder to Keenan McCardell early in the fourth quarter, to lift Jacksonville.

Brunell's performance decided a game between the AFC Central's two most miserable teams. They're tied for last at 4-8.

The Bengals matched their franchise record with eight sacks -- rookie end Justin Smith had three -- but couldn't stop Brunell when it mattered. The loss extended the Bengals' streak to 11 years without a winning record.

Brunell, hobbled for more than a month by pulled muscles in his right thigh, also threw a 17-yard pass to Jimmy Smith in the first quarter. Smith had nine catches for 119 yards.

Steelers 18, Jets 7

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh improved to 10-2 for the first time since its Super Bowl days in the 1970s, overcoming another erratic game by kicker Kris Brown and Jerome Bettis' absence.

Brown, who missed four field goals last month against Baltimore in Pittsburgh's only loss in 11 games, missed two field goals and an extra point against New York (7-5).

But he made four short- to medium-range kicks, and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala scored a 1-yard touchdown as a replacement for Bettis, who missed his first start in 54 games because of hip and groin injuries.

The touchdown came after a 79-yard drive featuring Kordell Stewart's completions of 29 and 11 yards to Hines Ward, who made 10 catches for 124 yards.

Raiders 28, Chiefs 26

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Tim Brown ran 88 yards for a touchdown on his first punt return in three years, and Regan Upshaw forced Trent Green's fumble on a 2-point conversion with 1:38 left.

AFC West-leading Oakland (9-3) looked nothing like the team that won the division last season and rolled up 10 straight regular-season home victories before last week's stunning overtime loss to Arizona.

But with big plays from Brown and Upshaw, the Raiders survived a series of blunders to widen their division lead and keep moving toward the playoffs.

Leading 28-20, Oakland stopped the Chiefs at the 4 with 3:03 to play. But Rich Gannon fumbled with 1:49 left while stretching for a first down that would have allowed the Raiders to run out the clock.

Trent Green, who passed for 253 yards and two scores, hit Tony Gonzalez for a 24-yard TD 11 seconds later. But Upshaw put a big hit on Green on the 2-point try, causing a fumble.

Redskins 20, Cardinals 10

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tony Banks threw for 210 yards and a touchdown, and Stephen Davis rushed for 110 yards in Washington's sixth victory in seven games.

Davis' 1-yard touchdown run after Banks' 40-yard pass to Rod Gardner put Washington ahead 20-3 with 8:20 remaining.

Washington (6-6) lost the first five games of the season before winning its next five, becoming the first team in NFL history to accomplish the extraordinary turnaround. Dallas beating the Redskins last week for the second time this season.

Broncos 20, Seahawks 7

DENVER -- Gus Frerotte, replacing the injured Brian Griese early in the second half, drove Denver to two third-quarter scores that carried the Broncos past Seattle.

Denver (7-6) sacked Matt Hasselbeck five times and held the Seahawks' running game in check.

Frerotte, seeing his first significant action since last season's AFC wild card playoff game, completed 10 of 20 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Terrell Davis, starting his second straight game in an injury-plagued season, ran for 109 yards.

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