Rams 45, Falcons 29

Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Who needs a kicker when you have the highest-scoring offense in NFL history?

St. Louis made an NFL-record four 2-point conversions after kicker Jeff Wilkins was injured Sunday, defeating Atlanta 45-29 to stay undefeated after six games for the second straight year.

Marshall Faulk rushed for 208 yards and had a touchdown and two 2-point conversions. He set career highs for both rushing yards and yards from scrimmage (286), averaging 8.3 yards on 25 carries and scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown on a 3-yard run.

In six games, Faulk has 1,083 yards from scrimmage after setting the NFL record of 2,429 last season.

The Rams scored more than 30 points for a record 12th straight game, and for the season, St. Louis is averaging 43.7 points, on a pace for 699. The record is 556, set by the Minnesota Vikings in 1998.

Kurt Warner had another strong game, completing 24 of 40 passes for 313 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. It was his sixth straight 300-yard passing game, tying a record set by San Francisco's Steve Young in 1998.

It was another frustrating day for the Falcons (2-5), despite their biggest point output since scoring 36 in a season-opening win over San Francisco. The Falcons scored 21 points in the first half, but just once in the second on a 16-yard pass from Chris Chandler to Tim Dwight and a 2-point conversion run by Jamal Anderson.

Chandler was 18-of-30 for 220 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once, at the St. Louis 3, and was sacked three times. Anderson rushed 14 times for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Atlanta's Darrick Vaughn returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Rams kicker Rick Wilkins injured a quadriceps muscle on the kick.

The Rams matched the Falcons immediately. On the kickoff after Vaughn's return, Tony Horne took the ball 3 yards deep in the end zone, cut left, made a move around Atlanta's Gerald McBurrows and ran down the sideline for a game-tying score. Wilkins kicked the extra point, but did not return.

It was the first time in NFL history a game started with back-to-back touchdown returns on kickoffs. Horne's was the fourth of his career — three of them against Atlanta.

Atlanta came right back with a 64-yard scoring drive, culminating with Chandler's 16-yard touchdown pass to Terance Mathis.

Warner was uncharacteristically sluggish at the start, completing just one of his first four passes for 2 yards.

Then he took off.

The Rams scored on drives of 95, 97 and 75 yards in the second quarter. On the third drive, the Rams faced fourth-and-15 from the Atlanta 30 with 11 seconds left. Warner withstood a blitz and connected with Az-Zahir Hakim at about the 15. He broke Ronnie Bradford's tackle inside the 10 and waltzed into the end zone.

The Rams added a third-quarter touchdown on a 12-yard pass from Warner to Robert Holcombe, and Faulk's fourth-quarter score.

Without Wilkins, the Rams went for the 2-point conversion after their last five touchdowns. They converted four of five, setting an NFL record for 2-point conversions in a game. Baltimore had three in a 1996 game, and Pittsburgh had three in a 1998 game.