Bulger's status not known for this week

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Rams quarterback injured his shoulder in Monday night's loss.

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams interim coach Joe Vitt is unsure whether quarterback Marc Bulger will be able to play against New Orleans on Sunday.

Bulger sprained his right shoulder in the second quarter of the Rams' 45-28 loss Monday night in Indianapolis.

Vitt said Tuesday that MRI results weren't available.

"I don't want to assume anything yet; I think that's a hypothetical situation," Vitt said when asked about possibly losing Bulger. "But I will say this: Jamie Martin was born and raised in this system and knows the system as good as anybody."

Results for Martin were mixed Monday night. The backup to Bulger completed 17 of 21 passes for 134 yards, one touchdown and two crucial interceptions.

Martin's career with the Rams (2-4) dates to their Los Angeles days. He was on the Rams' practice squad in 1993 and spent time on and off with the Rams through 1996, when he saw action in six games. He played with Washington, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Jacksonville again before returning to back up Kurt Warner in 2001 and 2002.

He was on the Jets' roster but didn't play in 2003, then played one game for St. Louis last season. In 27 career games, he has started three.

Bulger's injury turned around what could have been a huge upset of the Colts, the NFL's only undefeated team.

The Rams were ahead 17-0 in the second quarter when Bulger threw a pass that was intercepted by Cato June. On the return, Bulger was hurt on a block by linebacker David Thornton.

"It was clean," Vitt said of the hit. "Mark's trying to make a play. Mark's trying to make a tackle."

The Colts outscored St. Louis 45-11 the rest of the way.

Bulger walked off the field holding his shoulder and was taken to the locker room for X-rays. He returned to the sideline wearing his jersey without shoulder pads, and a bag of ice taped to his shoulder.

He was 6-of-8 for 121 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Curtis. Even with the short outing, Bulger ranks second in the NFL with 1,769 yards passing, trailing only New England's Tom Brady. He leads the league in completions (145) and is second in passing attempts (223).

Beyond the quarterback situation, Vitt is searching for a way to shore up a defense that has allowed a combined 126 points the last three weeks.

"I think last night emotionally we came out of that tunnel smoking," Vitt said. "We went up there to win a football game and then some bad things started to happen to us."

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