ST. LOUIS (AP) The
St. Louis Rams left no doubt who's in charge of the NFC West.
Marshall Faulk scored two touchdowns,
Kurt Warner threw for two and the St. Louis defense dominated the matchup
of division leaders in a 27-14 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on
Sunday. 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. 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. Warner's 16th interception of the season was his first
in two weeks as the Rams, who committed 13 turnovers in their two losses,
continued to cut down on mistakes.
The Rams have beaten the 49ers six
straight times following a 17-game winning streak by San Francisco in the
series. They also took a step toward re-establishing homefield advantage
in the Dome at America's Center, where they had lost five of their previous
The 49ers (9-3) won eight of their
previous nine, a huge stride for a team coming off a 6-10 season. But they
didn't get a first down until the second quarter and were held to 222 yards
as Jeff Garcia had his second tough day against the Rams.
Garcia, who entered the game leading
the NFC in passer rating, was 13-for-36 for 146 yards with no touchdowns
and two interceptions. In the second week of the season against the Rams,
he was 19-for-34 for 121 yards with one touchdown, an interception and
a 61.0 passer rating in a 30-26 loss.
Aeneas Williams got both of the interceptions.
The first led to Faulk's run for the game's first score, and the second
led to a 39-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins that put the Rams ahead 27-7
with 9:47 to go.
The 49ers' lone score came on a 1-yard
run by Garrison Hearst in the third quarter. Hearst was held to 39 yards
on 11 carries,
The Rams' defense overcame three
big mistakes. Zach Bronson's interception of a scrambling Warner ended
up with a punt six plays later, and the 49ers went three-and-out after
Wilkins kicked off out of bounds in the third quarter.
A fumble after a catch by Az-Zahir
Hakim gave the 49ers, trailing 27-14, one last chance with 3:37 to go.
But the 49ers went nowhere in four plays.
The Rams went at the 49ers with a
more conservative attack than usual, often running on first down and holding
gadget plays to a minimum. They scored on drives of 12, 11 and nine plays.
But coach Mike Martz also was bold
at times, twice going for it on fourth down on the Rams' first scoring
drive. The second time, Warner faked disgust under center and walked away
as Faulk took a direct snap and ran for the first down.