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Rams Start Slow, But Roll On

Rams Marshall Faulk looks upfield as teammate Tom Nuten (61) blocks the 49ers Jeff Posey.
AP
Kurt Warner's high interception total hasn't cost the St. Louis Rams yet.

Warner threw two touchdown passes and two more interceptions in a 41-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, giving him six in each category. Last year he had 41 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.

"I hate to seem them, but we're 3-0 and that's all that matters and I've got to put them behind me," Warner said. "Those are things I go back and study."

Because of his inaccuracy, the Rams (3-0) had to do it the hard way, just like their 37-34 victory over Seattle last week and a 41-36 decision over Denver in the opener. They won a franchise-record 13th straight at home, exceeded 30 points for an NFL-record ninth straight game and beat the 49ers (0-3) for the third straight time after losing 17 previous times in the series.

"It's the 49er changeup," safety Keith Lyle said. "It's not the old 17-0, same old sorry Rams. The 49ers have got to take it."

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Game Summary

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  • That it came against a downtrodden team that was a 17-point underdog with the league's worst defense, and wasn't secured until Marshall Faulk made it 34-24 on a 4-yard run with about eight minutes to go, made it less impressive.

    "If this is what it takes to win games, get used to it," said Faulk, whose third score was a 1-yard run with 1:42 to play.

    "It's good for the fans, it's good for the sport," Rams cornerback Todd Lyght said.

    Jeff Garcia made it interesting with three touhdown passes for the 49ers, going 21-for-34 for 290 yards with two interceptions. One play after Warner was intercepted by Winfred Tubbs on the Rams' first snap of the game, Garcia hit Fred Beasley for a 29-yard score.

    He also connected with Charlie Garner from 20 yards and cut the gap to 27-24 on a 12-yarder to Terrell Owens early in the fourth quarter.

    "When you play the Rams, you have to go in with the attitude that you need to score every single series," Garcia said. "If you can't keep up, you're going to find yourself in a difficult situation."

    Warner was 23-for-34 for 394 yards, giving him 300-plus yards all three games, and led the Rams to 529 yards of total offense. He avoided a seventh interception when the Rams challenged a call, and replays took away a pickoff by Ahmed Plummer on a tipped ball in the first quarter.

    Isaac Bruce caught eight passes for 188 yards, including a 78-yard bomb on the first play of a drive to tie it 17-17 with 1:53 left in the first half.

    "We figured we'd take a shot early and maybe we could catch them waiting for us to throw something underneath," Warner said. "They had one safety there and Isaac did the rest."

    Bruce beat Plummer, one of the 49ers' two first-round draft picks this year.

    "He made about five fakes, and I was playing one of the fakes," Plummer said. "I guess he pulled that one out of his bag of tricks."

    Kick returner Tony Horne, subbing for injured Ricky Proehl, added an 18-yard touchdown catch on his first career reception.

    Faulk had his 22nd career 100-yard rushing game, gaining 134 yards on 25 carries. His 1-yard run midway through the third quarter gave the Rams their first lead, 24-17.

    Garcia completed his first 10 passes for 113 yards as the 49ers took early leads of 10-3 and 17-10. He was perfect until throwing incomplete in the end zone with 10:48 to go in the second.

    Coach Steve Mariucci said there's no danger of another quarterback controversy.

    "You guys want to churn that up again, huh?" Mariucci said. "Jeff will be our starting quarterback next week."

    Warner had perhaps his slowest start ever and was 4-for-11 for 47 yards midway through the second quarter. After Dre' Bly's interception gave the Rams a chance to take the lead near halftime, Warner threw into a mass of bodies and was intercepted by John Keith in the end zone.

    The Rams defense had its best game, holding the 49ers to seven points in the second half. St. Louis allowed 70 points the first two games.

    Notes

  • Rams first-round pick Trung Canidate, a running back, was again inactive. He missed most of training camp plus the first two games with a high right ankle sprain, and now has an injured arch on his left foot.
  • Beasley has scored in every game this year and has a career-high five touchdowns.
  • Jerry Rice caught three passes for 44 yards, extending his NFL record to 212 straight games with at least one reception.
  • Bruce's 78-yard catch was the second-longest of his career. He had an 80-yarder against Minnesota in 1998. Bruce has 407 receptions with the Rams, passing Tom Fears (400) for second on the team's list.

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