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A star is born

We seem to have a fairly optimistic projection for Marc Bulger, and, as noted yesterday, there's every reason to think that Bulger can bounce back in line with what he's capable of. Naturally, after two straight season of injuries to Orlando Pace, I worry about the big guy going down. However, he is healthy now - should be officially cleared sometime this month, before camp - and his recent injuries (rotator cuff & triceps) aren't the kind that tend to cascade for an OT and accelerate the downward side of a great career. The coaches and fans will be paying particularly close attention to the rest of the tackles in camp, hoping that should Pace miss a game, someone has at least improved to the point where they can fill in adequately on the blind side.

Before we change subjects away from Marc Bulger, Football Outsiders has their rankings for best QB games since 1995 posted. Third from the top is Marc Bulger's masterpiece against the Chargers in week 10 of the 2002 season.

That day, Bulger completed 36 of 47 passes for a stunning 453 yards and 4 TDs, leading the Rams to a 28-24 victory over San Diego. Bruce had 3 of those TDs and 10 catches for 163 yards. Ernie Conwell had the other TD, and Holt had 7 catches for 118 yards. The Rams played from behind after the Chargers made it 17-7 at the half, with Bulger and Bruce leading the 4th quarter rally with 2 scores. But it wasn't all pretty. Two fo San Diego's TDs came on fumble returns.

Nevertheless, that 4th quarter shone brightly as the crown jewel of a 7-9 season, a season that started with 5 straight losses. The roller coaster started to climb after hitting bottom in week 5 against the 49ers, who won the division with a 10-6 record. Riding the comeback momentum, the Rams beat the Bears the next week, before finishing the season with a disappointing 2-4 run.

That game was also Bulger's coming out party, one of 7 he started that season as the Rams grappled with quarterback turmoil as Warner started the season 7 INTs and 1 TD before succuming to a broken finger in week 4. The rest is pretty much history.

Back later today with some thoughts on Donnie Avery and the spread.