Big openings along the line of scrimmage, big gains beyond it. Rashaan Salaam felt like a rookie again.
“It’s been a long time,” Salaam said Sunday after rushing for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the Chicago Bears’ 35-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams.
“It feels pretty good to run for 100 yards but I kind of feel bad they didn’t put me in there until we don’t have a chance for the playoffs,” he said. “I just wish I would have gotten more playing time when it was on the line.”
The Bears, who expected to make the playoffs after consecutive 9-7 seasons, are 6-8.
Salaam entered the game with only 339 yards and one touchdown. As a rookie last season, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Colorado rushed for 1,074 yards and 10 touchdowns. He lost his job to Raymont Harris because of injuries and ineffectiveness and played three quarters Sunday only because Harris sprained an ankle.
“It’s important for Rashaan, as well as the coaches, other players and the fans,” Bear Coach Dave Wannstedt said. “It has been a difficult year for the kid. It was good to see him make some big runs.”
Salaam, who had 19 carries, scored on runs of three and four yards and also had a 32-yard run, the Bears’ longest this season.
“The offensive line was doing a great job. I was just running for the hole and it burst,” he said. “We knew St. Louis was the kind of team that got tired in the third and fourth quarters, so we just kept pounding.”
Michael Timpson, another player who was expected to make an impact but hadn’t, caught six passes for 111 yards for Chicago. Dave Krieg added a 27-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Conway and a one-yard touchdown run.
While the Bears rolled to their biggest offensive day of the season, it was a typically weak display for the Rams (4-10), who scored 13 or fewer points for the eighth time this season.