The St. Louis Rams took out more than a year of frustration on the New York Jets.
St. Louis (2-3) forced five turnovers in a 30-10 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday that ended the Rams' eight-game losing streak at the Trans World Dome. They hadn't won at home since Sept. 21, 1997, a 13-3 victory over the New York Giants.
"Everybody was telling us we were going to get murdered," free safety Keith Lyle said. "We were sick of losing."
All of the eight losses could have gone either way, with a combined differential of 48 points. Close or not, the Rams' loyal fan base had begun to wane, with 9,499 no-shows marring the team's 28th consecutive sellout.
"These people are ripe and deserving," coach Dick Vermeil said. "It's nice to get them a victory."
Amp Lee, playing a prominent role at running back due to injuries, ran for two touchdowns, and St. Louis played error-free ball.
"He's been wanting the rock," running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery said. "Today, he got the opportunity, and he capitalized."
Jets quarterback Glenn Foley, who missed the previous two games with a rib-cage injury, had a miserable day. Foley was 5-for-15 for 76 yards and two interceptions, each of which led to a St. Louis touchdown, before coach Bill Parcells yanked him n favor of Vinny Testaverde with 3:13 to go in the third quarter and the Jets (2-3) trailing 23-3.
Parcells wasn't blaming Foley, he was blaming the entire team.
"We had 45 guys dressed for this game and we had 12 coaches coaching. Everybody stunk, everybody," Parcells said. "That's as much as I can say."
Testaverde didn't do much better, going 9-for-18 for 96 yards and another big turnover. Roman Phifer forced a fumble on a flea-flicker attempt and D'Marco Farr returned the ball 16 yards to the 12, setting up Lee's second touchdown on fourth-and-inches that made it 30-3 with 14:22 left.
Parcells said he didn't know who would start next Monday night at New England. Testaverde has been the starter for both victories.
| The Jets fell over themselves, while Tony Banks and the Rams stood tall. (AP) |
"Let me just see what goes on," Parcells said. "Like I said, it wouldn't have made any difference who was playing today."
Lee, the Rams' third-down back, scored his first rushing touchdowns since Dec. 3, 1995, when he played for Minnesota. He got every-down status after Robert Holcombe strained his Achilles' tendon and Jerald Moore hurt his shoulder, even though both eventually returned. Lee finished with 53 yards on nine carries, plus six catches for 62 yards.
Tony Banks was 18-for-24 for 171 yards and a touchdown. He had 15 consecutive completions in one stretch.
The Jets, who have lost five straight to the Rams, have 16 turnovers in the first five games. Playing without running back Curtis Martin, out with a thigh injury after successive 100-yard games, didn't hurt New York too much.
His replacement, Leon Johnson rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries and had a 17-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
The Rams handed the Jets the first three points when Farr was called for offsides on a punt from the St. Louis 40. With the extra 5 yards, the Jets called on kicker John Hall, who kicked a 54-yard field goal.
The rest was all St. Louis. Todd Lyght knocked the ball loose from Foley on a sack and Mike D. Jones recovered, returning the ball 5 yards to the 6 to set up a 7-yard scoring pass from Banks to Derrick Harris.
Jeff Wilkins had a 52-yard field goal and Lee scored on a 1-yard run set up by his 29-yard catch in the second quarter for a 17-3 lead at the break. Wilkins' field goal was set up by an interception in the end zone by Eric Hill.
Wilkins, who is 5-for-5 from 50 yards and beyond for his career, added field goals of 30 and 34 yards in the second half before missing a 29-yarder with six minutes to go. He's 8-for-10 after slumping with 12 misses in 37 attempts last year.
NotesHall's 54-yard field goa in the first quarter matched the longest ever against the Rams. Steve Mike-Meyer had a 54-yarder for San Francisco on Nov. 9, 1975.
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