Dieter Brock, ranked 25th among NFL passers going into the game, completed 16 of 20 for 215 yards and two touchdowns today in guiding the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams to a 17-6 victory over the winless Atlanta Falcons.
"When you're 4-0, you can't ask for any more," said Rams Coach John Robinson, whose team is tied with the Chicago Bears for the NFL's best record.
Still, Robinson might have silently been asking the fates to be kinder to his star running back, Eric Dickerson, who left the game with a hamstring injury late in the second quarter.
Dickerson said of leaving the game, "I'm not the 'Terminator.' When I get hurt, it hurts. It was the coach's decision to take me out, but I didn't argue."
The Rams are off to their best start since 1978. The Falcons are off to their poorest since 1968.
"It doesn't look like this game was in the cards for us," said Atlanta Coach Dan Henning. "I felt we were well prepared, but we made some critical mistakes that hurt.
"Obviously, we're going to have to do something."
Dickerson, playing his second game after a 46-day holdout, gained 26 yards on seven carries. Los Angeles wound up with only 106 yards on the ground on 29 rushes. Barry Redden got 74 on 18 tries.
The 34-year-old Brock hit Henry Ellard on a 64-yard pass-run combination early in the second quarter to erase a 3-0 deficit and put the Rams ahead for good.
Brock, an NFL rookie who played 12 years in Canada, completed a 13-yard scoring pass to Bobby Duckworth, who wrestled the ball from defender Bobby Butler with 52 seconds remaining in the third period for the final score.
The Falcons (0-4) never got closer than the Rams' 27-yard line as they were held to two field goals by Mick Luckhurst. He has made his last 10 attempts, breaking Tim Mazzetti's team record.
Henning pulled veteran Steve Bartkowski midway through the second quarter after he had been sacked three times. Dave Archer finished.
"Dieter Brock is undefeated in the NFL. To my criterion, he's played very sound every game," said Robinson. "I thought he had an outstanding game against Atlanta."
"I felt really good about the game," said Brock, who took advantage of an injury-riddled Falcons secondary. "I'm feeling real comfortable with our receivers now."