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Bulger Rallies Rams To Win

52-Yard Pass In OT Completes The Comeback: Rams 33, Seahawks 27

By Tim Korte
Associated Press
Monday, October 11, 2004; Page D11

SEATTLE, Oct. 10 -- Marc Bulger was at his best when his teammates needed him most.

Bulger threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Shaun McDonald three minutes into overtime, leading the St. Louis Rams to a thrilling 33-27 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

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_____  Week 5 Results _____
Baltimore 17, Washington 10
Pittsburgh 34, Cleveland 23
Detroit 17, Atlanta, 10
New England 24, Miami, 10
Minnesota 34, Houston, 28 (OT)
N.Y. Giants 26, Dallas, 10
Indianapolis 35, Oakland 14
Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans, 17
N.Y. Jets 16, Buffalo 14
San Diego 34, Jacksonville 21
San Francisco 31, Arizona 28 (OT)
Denver 20, Carolina 17
St. Louis 33, Seattle 27 (OT)

Monday
Tennessee 48, Green Bay 27

Open Date
Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Philadelphia

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"I wish I had some bubbly," wide receiver Torry Holt said. "As a team, we should feel good about this one."

The Rams (3-2) ended Seattle's 10-game home winning streak, with Bulger leading a 17-point rally by throwing two touchdown passes in the final 5 minutes 34 seconds of regulation. Jeff Wilkins kicked a 36-yard field goal with eight seconds left, forcing overtime.

"This team never quits," Bulger said. "We have guys who have been in that situation before, and they know not to quit. They play to the end."

The Seahawks (3-1), trying to open 4-0 for the first time ever, had things in control, leading 24-7 at halftime and 27-10 midway through the third period. They came apart when Bulger took over.

"That's a tough way to lose," Seattle Coach Mike Holmgren said. "As good as we were in the first half, we were average to below average in the second half. Give the Rams credit. They hung in there."

Bulger, who threw three interceptions before St. Louis rallied, finally got started midway through the fourth. The Rams pulled to 27-17 with 5:34 remaining when he threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Manumaleuna.

St. Louis forced a punt, and McDonald returned it 39 yards to the Seattle 41. On the next play, Kevin Curtis beat two defenders and Bulger found him in stride for a 41-yard scoring strike that made it 27-24.

"A perfect pass," Curtis said. "He was throwing a long route and we had good protection up front. He gave me a great ball."

Rams defensive end Leonard Little came up with a big play on Seattle's ensuing series, sacking Matt Hasselbeck for a 12-yard loss and forcing a fumble. Center Robbie Tobeck fell on the loose ball.

It was huge because that was the first play after the two-minute warning. Hasselbeck had seen Bobby Engram open on third and five. St. Louis was out of timeouts, and a good pass would have allowed Seattle to run out the clock.

"If we complete the ball, the game's over," Holmgren said.

Instead, Brown kicked a 35-yard punt because regular punter Tom Rouen suffered a late hamstring strain. That gave the Rams possession at their 36 with 1:14 to play and no timeouts remaining.

Bulger found Isaac Bruce for a 26-yard gain to the Seattle 37, then added a 16-yarder to Dane Looker that got the ball out of bounds at the 18, and Wilkins tied it at 27 on the next play.

"Marc did a beautiful job, just beautiful," Rams Coach Mike Martz said.

Bulger completed 24 of 42 passes for 325 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The remarkable part is how he rallied the Rams -- not by looking for stars Holt and Bruce, but by firing passes to lesser-known receivers McDonald, Curtis and Looker.

"You need the third and fourth receivers to come up with plays to win," Bulger said. "That's the matchup we need to take advantage of. We've got some young guys in that position who can make things happen."

He also made a great adjustment on the game-winning play, checking away from what he expected would be a slot pass to Holt. On third and eight near midfield, Bulger knew McDonald could get behind Seattle safety Terreal Bierria.

"I was just hoping he'd put it up. I knew I could beat the safety," McDonald said.


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