Fuller Returns to Help Eagles Flex Their Defensive Muscles

From Associated Press

William Fuller made up for lost time and caught up with the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles' top-ranked defense.

Fuller, out the past two weeks because of a hamstring injury, had two of six sacks and forced a fumble that Kevin Johnson returned for a fourth-quarter touchdown Sunday as Philadelphia won its fourth in a row, 20-9 over the St. Louis Rams.

"These guys keep you on your toes as far as kidding around, saying, 'We may have to cut you,' " Fuller said. "I love the game and I love to get out there and play."

With the Eagles ahead, 10-3, the game turned after Isaac Bruce caught a 12-yard scoring pass with 11:46 to go. But instead of going for the extra point, the Rams (5-3) used a trick play and went for two points.

The line shifted from the middle of the field to the left hashmark, and the snap went to linebacker Carlos Jenkins. He tried to run behind the pack, but the Eagles stopped him short of the goal line.

"We've been working on those type of plays for a couple of weeks," Coach Rich Brooks said. "We use them to get some excitement going. And that's what we were trying to do on the two-point conversion. But that time, it didn't work."

The Eagles (5-3) got another solid performance from their defense, which had two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. Fuller and Andy Harmon had two sacks apiece.

After the Rams' failed two-pointer, Gary Anderson kicked a 36-yard field goal to make it 13-9, and the Eagles put the game out of reach when Fuller sacked Chris Miller, forcing the fumble that Johnson recovered and returned 37 yards for a touchdown.

"The turnovers in the second half killed us," said Brooks, whose team had no turnovers in the first four games, but 13 in the four games since. "We just had too many giveaways, and not enough takeaways."

Bruce recorded his team-record fourth consecutive game with at least 100 yards receiving. He finished with nine catches for 105 yards.

Philadelphia opened the scoring two minutes into the second quarter when the Rams allowed Calvin Williams to get open over the middle. Williams dived at about the St. Louis five-yard line, caught Rodney Peete's pass and bounced into the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown reception.

The Eagles extended their lead to 10-0 with eight seconds left in the half when an 80-yard drive stalled at the Rams' three and Anderson kicked a 20-yard field goal.

The Rams moved to the Philadelphia 15 on their first drive of the second half, but Steve McLaughlin was wide left with a 32-yard field goal attempt.

McLaughlin, who also missed a 62-yarder at the end of the first half, finally made a 29-yarder with 2:26 left in the third quarter to close the gap to 10-3.

St. Louis' scoring drive was aided by a run out of punt formation that gained 15 yards on fourth and five at the Philadelphia 44.

The Eagles had four sacks in the first half for 24 yards, leaving the Rams with 10 passing yards for the half.

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