Originally created 10/09/01

Rams 35, Lions 0



PONTIAC, Mich. -- The St. Louis Rams thrive on the pass. The Detroit Lions die by it, which is one reason the Rams are unbeaten and the Lions are winless.

Kurt Warner threw three touchdown passes and Dre' Bly returned an interception of Ty Detmer 93 yards for a score Monday night as the Rams remained the NFL's only unbeaten team with a 35-0 victory over the Lions.

It was hard to tell if the Rams (4-0) were good or the Lions (0-3) were bad in a game that was really never in doubt after Warner threw first-half touchdown passes of 15 yards to Az-Zahir Hakim and 36 yards to Torry Holt. Those scores capped two drives in which Warner threw 16 straight times.

"You know Kurt, he'll get you the ball," Holt said. "You just have to make sure you get in the right spot."

Bly picked off an ill-thrown pass by Detmer, who was intercepted seven times by Cleveland in the Lions' last game, and returned it for a TD to make it 21-0 at halftime.

On came Charlie Batch, whom Detmer had replaced after a 28-6 opening-week loss in Green Bay. Batch had no better luck - he completed his first two passes, but his third was intercepted in the end zone by Dexter McCleon.

Then, after driving the Lions 55 yards to the St. Louis 8, Batch was sacked by Leonard Little and fumbled. The ball was recovered by Grant Wistrom, who returned the ball for an apparent touchdown, but the Rams were penalized for running on the field after the recovery and the touchdown was nullified.

"It just felt good to get in," said Batch, who was 11-of-16 for 113 yards. "I'm just disappointed that we didn't score."

It really didn't matter.

So easy was it for the Rams to pass on a Lions secondary minus Bryant Westbrook, recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon, that St. Louis ran the ball just three times in the first half while Warner went 16-of-21 for 197 yards, many of them underneath Detroit's deep zone. Warner finished 29-of-37 for 291 yards.

Detmer was 14-of-17 for 143 yards, a deceptive figure if there ever was one.

The Rams scored twice in the final quarter on Warner's third TD pass, a 1-yarder to Ernie Conwell, and a 6-yard run by Marshall Faulk.

The Rams took a 7-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter on Warner's pass to Hakim at the end of an 80-yard drive that took 10 plays, all passes. The 15-yard scoring play was a 5-yard flip over the line to Hakim, who sidestepped Jimmy Wyrick and danced in.

It was like most of the drive - short hitches and outs underneath the Detroit defense.

The first time Warner went deep was on the next series, hitting Holt from 36 yards behind Ron Rice to make it 14-0 2:29 into the second quarter.

Even when the Detroit offense moved, it ultimately failed.

Late in the second quarter, it drove from its own 38 to the St. Louis 16. But Detmer threw off his back foot right to Bly, who took it 93 yards untouched to make it 21-0.

Notes: Faulk lost a fumble for the first time since 1999, a stretch of 502 handles without losing the ball. ... The Lions turned over the ball three times inside the St. Louis 30. ... St. Louis cornerback Aeneas Williams left the game in the first quarter with a pinched nerve in his neck. He returned in the second half. ... Detroit fans became so bored in the second half that they began chanting "Let's Go Red Wings." ... Next week's Monday night game is Washington (0-4) at Dallas (0-4), the first time ever this late in the season two winless teams have met on Monday night. ... This was the Rams' first shutout since moving to St. Louis in 1995. Detroit was shut out for the first time since 1993.