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(Sunday, October 26th)
Final Score: New England 23, St. Louis 16
Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Kevin Faulk rushed for 60 yards on 13 carries and his 15-yard touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter was the difference as New England topped St. Louis, 23-16, at Gillette Stadium.
Matt Cassel completed 21-of-33 passes for a career-high 267 yards but was intercepted twice for the Patriots (5-2), who have won three of four. Coupled with Buffalo's loss to Miami, the Pats and Bills are now tied atop the AFC East.
Randy Moss had seven catches for 102 yards and BenJarvus Green-Ellis added a rushing score.
Donnie Avery caught six balls for a game-high 163 yards and a touchdown for the Rams (2-5), who suffered their first loss after two consecutive wins under interim head coach Jim Haslett.
"The numbers don't count if you can't get the win," Avery said. "We need to go out next week and get it done. We are a team and everyone has to put in, that is what we did today. We just didn't get it done."
Marc Bulger was 18-of-34 for 301 yards with one score and a pick, while Antonio Pittman led all rushers with 83 yards on 19 attempts.
After Josh Brown put the Rams ahead early in the fourth and both sides traded downs, Stephen Gostkowski made a 41-yarder with 8:22 to play for a 16-16 deadlock. Faulk got his team in prime field position with a 14-yard punt return to the visitors' 38-yard-line.
St. Louis went three-and-out on the next series, and a short punt gave the Pats possession at their own 47. An eight-yard pass from Cassel to Moss on a 2nd-and-7 from the 35 gave the Marshall product his 58th career 100-yard receiving game, third on the all-time list.
Two plays later, Faulk made an acrobatic catch on a 15-yard score with 3:13 remaining to give New England a 23-16 advantage.
"I think that's what you come in for," Faulk said. "You don't have a lot of opportunities sometimes. But the thing is, you always have to be ready because you don't know when the situation is going to come up."
St. Louis had a chance to tie the game once more on the ensuing drive, but a Bulger pass on 3rd-and-15 from the Pats' 38 was tipped into the hands of Deltha O'Neal. The veteran, who had been out of the game briefly with a head injury in the second quarter, returned the ball to the Rams' 37.
Cassel took a knee on three straight plays and a touchback gave St. Louis time for one last play but the effort proved futile as time expired.
Rams return specialist Dante Hall took the opening kickoff deep into Pats territory, but the big gain was called back due to a penalty. That didn't deter the Rams, who ended that 12-play drive with a 20-yard field goal from Brown.
The Pats responded on the following series, going 73 yards in 13 plays and taking a 7-3 lead when Green-Ellis backed into the end zone on a two-yard rush.
Less than a minute into the second quarter, the Rams went up 10-7 as Bulger hit Avery over the middle for a 69-yard TD strike. New England managed to counter with 1:49 left in the half on a Gostkowski 30-yard make.
After holding the Rams on the next possession, the Pats moved the ball quickly and took a 13-10 lead to the break after Gostkowski nailed a 27-yarder on the final play of the half.
Oshiomogho Atogwe's pick of a deflected Cassel pass set the Rams up at the New England 43 early in the third quarter, and Brown's 44-yarder knotted the game at 13-13.
The Rams defense came up with a big stop late in the third on a 4th-and-1 from its own 36, and a 44-yard connection from Bulger to Avery put St. Louis at the New England 20. However, the drive stalled and Brown booted a 25-yard field goal for a 16-13 St. Louis lead with 12:25 left in the contest.
The Rams were without running back Steven Jackson (thigh), while the Patriots had both Sammy Morris (knee) and LaMont Jordan (calf) out of the lineup...Haslett has not won in three tries against the Patriots...St. Louis lost despite outgaining New England 358-348...Each team has won five games against the other...New England heads to Indianapolis next Sunday night while St. Louis returns home to host Arizona.
10/26 18:17:41 ET
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