ST. LOUIS (AP) -- After St. Louis had 57 points and 614 yards,
Kurt Warner wanted more.
Warner threw four touchdown passes for the defending Super Bowl
champions as unbeaten St. Louis defeated the winless San Diego
Chargers 57-31 in another awesome display of offensive power.
Warner finished 24-of-30 for 390 yards, showing no signs of
slowing down a season after winning the league and Super Bowl MVP
awards. The Rams (5-0), who compiled their second-largest yardage
total ever, are averaging 43.4 points.
"I've never seen anything like that," Chargers quarterback Jim
Harbaugh said. "They score so fast their defense is right back on
Warner had a quarterback rating of 158.3, a perfect game under
the league's complicated formula. Not good enough for Warner, who
gave the offense a B-plus even though the Rams never had to punt.
"No, we got a few field goals in there," Warner said. "We've
got a little more than that in us."
After complaining mildly that he threw only 19 times last week,
Warner opened the game with 14 straight passes. He was 21-of-26 for
290 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone and left
late in the third quarter with the Rams ahead 40-17 en route to
their 14th straight victory in the Trans World Dome.
Warner hit 10 of his first 12 throws, just missing on a long
attempt in the end zone to Isaac Bruce and a short pass that an
off-balance Marshall Faulk dropped.
"We knew their strength was against the run, so we were going
to attack their weakness," Warner said. "Once we started moving
the football and doing the things we wanted in the passing game,
The Rams led 30-10 at the break, extending their NFL record to
11 straight regular-season games with 30 or more points. By then,
they were well on their way to earning a week off -- a carrot
dangled by coach Mike Martz for the team's bye week if they won.
|Kurt Warner, left, and Marshall Faulk hooked up for a 13-yard TD pass in the first quarter.|
If they had lost, the Rams would have practiced Wednesday and
"A week off is unheard of in the NFL," tight end Roland
Williams said. "I've been telling some of my buddies from
Cleveland and Jacksonville and Green Bay, and they were
Warner threw for an NFL-record 1,557 yards the first four games.
Now he's got 1,947 for five games, and he also wasn't intercepted
for the first time.
Warner's backup, Trent Green, also got in on the fun. Green, in
his first regular-season action since hurting his knee in an
exhibition game against the Chargers last year, hooked up with
Faulk on a 48-yard pass play to cap his first series.
Chargers safety Rodney Harrison's hit injured Green last year.
The two met on the field before the game.
"I'm glad it's over with, finally," Harrison said. "I don't
have to hear anything else about it, forever."
Isaac Bruce and Faulk each caught a pair of touchdown passes,
and Torry Holt added one.
The scoring total was the Rams' best since a 49-37 victory over
Minnesota in the playoffs last year. It was their highest point
total in the regular season since a 59-16 victory over Atlanta on
Nov. 10, 1996.
Last year, when they scored the third-highest points in NFL
history, their high-water mark was 43 points against the Saints in
their 11th game.
Among the big plays, Warner hit Bruce for 53 and 37 yards,
Az-Zahir Hakim for 51 and Faulk for 29. Reserve running back Justin
Watson had a 49-yard run in the fourth quarter and wrapped up the
scoring with a 12-yard run with about three minutes to go,
finishing with 102 yards on 14 late carries.
The problems for the Chargers (0-5) have been mostly an anemic
offense that totaled five touchdowns the first four games. In this
game, a defense that was 11th in the NFL had no chance, either.
Middle linebacker Junior Seau left with a strained left
hamstring late in the first half, but the rout was already on.
Jermaine Fazande and Terrell Fletcher scored on runs of 2 and 6
yards and Harbaugh, who replaced the injured Ryan Leaf at
quarterback, threw two touchdown passes.
Harbaugh hit Fred McCrary for 3 yards in the third quarter and
Trevor Gaylor on a 62-yarder with 1:52 left. He finished 27-of-40
for 348 yards with one interception.
Leaf, who has a sprained wrist, is expected back next week
||TOM DONAHOE'S BREAKDOWN
Once again, the Rams were just awesome on offense -- they had more than 600 yards total offense, which is mind-boggling.
Kurt Warner and Trent Green led the way against a pretty good defensive team. Junior Seau left the game late in the first half with a strained hamstring, and San Diego obviously missed him. But even with Junior in there, the Chargers simply did not have an answer for the Rams offense.
But no one has had an answer for St. Louis' offense this year.
Jim Harbaugh started at QB for San Diego and provided a bit of a spark offensively. The Chargers have struggled moving the ball and scoring touchdowns, but they had their best success so far this year in this game.
Against the Rams, one of the things you have to try to do is control the clock. But the Chargers did not run the ball nearly well enough to do that.
The Rams' two marquee playmakers -- WR Isaac Bruce (nine catches, 167 yards) and RB Marshall Faulk (six catches, 116 yards) -- came up with huge performances.
No one is unstoppable, but the Rams are piling up some unbelievable numbers (including an average of 43.4 points per game). Defensive coordinators are going to have to stay up late to try to come up with some answers to what the Rams are doing.
Tom Donahoe, ESPN.com's NFL analyst, was formerly the Steelers' director of football operations.
The Rams hold the NFL yardage record with 735 on Sept. 18,
1951, against the New York Yankees in a 54-14 victory. The 614-yard
performance is tied for 12th in NFL history with the Kansas City
Chiefs, who did it Oct. 23, 1966, against Denver. ... The last time
an NFL team had more than 600 yards was the Cincinnati Bengals with
621 on Dec. 21, 1986, against the New York Jets. The Washington
Redskins had 676 yards in an overtime game against the Detroit
Lions Nov. 14, 1990.
San Diego Clubhouse
St. Louis Clubhouse
Chargers' Parrella played Sunday to honor father's memory
Chargers' Conway questionable for St. Louis game