Patriots 40, Rams 22
Adam Vinatieri beat the St. Louis Rams with his leg in the 2002 Super Bowl. This time, he used his leg and his arm.
The Patriots' kicker made four field goals and added his first career touchdown pass on a fake to help New England bounce back from a loss to Pittsburgh with a 40-22 win Sunday.
Corey Dillon rushed 25 times for 112 yards and a touchdown for the Patriots.
Vinatieri's best play was his pass, a perfect spiral to a wide-open Troy Brown for a four-yard touchdown that gave New England a 26-14 third-quarter lead.
"You kind of hope to get these guys sleeping a little bit, and we did," Vinatieri said. "Troy kind of hid out on the side and we snapped the ball before they noticed him."
St. Louis Coach Mike Martz was not pleased his defense failed to pick up Brown, who lined up wide left on the play. "I don't think that was the trickiest thing in the world," Martz said. "I mean, where was he going, to the john? We've got to pay more attention than that."
Reminiscent of his 48-yarder that beat the Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, there was no doubt on any of Vinatieri's field goal attempts from 43, 31, 45 and 36 yards -- all in the first half.
The Patriots (7-1) compensated for an injury-ravaged secondary by sacking Marc Bulger five times, forcing a fumble and intercepting a tipped ball.
Bulger was 23 for 33 for 285 yards and two touchdowns and Leonard Little recovered a fumble by New England quarterback Tom Brady in the end zone for St. Louis (4-4).
Brady was 18 for 31 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. For the Rams, Marshall Faulk had 66 yards on 12 carries and six catches for 22 yards. He has 18,256 career yards, passing Barry Sanders for fourth on the career list.