Rams end exhibition play with 29-9 loss to Dolphins

Friday, September 1, 2006

St. Louis finished the preseason with a 1-3 record.

MIAMI -- Marcus Vick caught punts, grabbed a touchdown pass and even played a little quarterback for the Miami Dolphins in their preseason finale.

Soon, he'll find out if he showed enough versatility to merit a roster spot.

On a night when backups got a final shot to show their worth before 53-man rosters are set Saturday, third-stringer Cleo Lemon completed 21 of 28 passes for 271 yards -- including a 5-yard scoring pass to Vick that helped the Dolphins beat the St. Louis Rams 29-9 on Thursday night in both teams' preseason finale.

"I feel like I left everything out there," Vick said. "It's up to the coaches now. Whatever they say is fine."

Olindo Mare made all five of his field-goal tries for the Dolphins, who outgained St. Louis 379-148.

"It's nice to end with a win," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said. "We didn't have a good start ... but I was pleased with the way we kind of hung in there and had some guys get opportunities today and take advantage."

Deke Cooper had a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter for Miami. Joey Harrington, who'll start the season as Daunte Culpepper's backup, was 5-of-8 for 46 yards before Lemon took over.

"When your number is called, you've got to go out and play," Lemon said. "And that's what a lot of our young guys did."

Jeff Wilkins made all three of his field-goal tries for the Rams, who didn't complete a pass after halftime. Dave Ragone was 0-for-7, with the interception for Cooper's score.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was 7-for-14 for 94 yards in the first half for the Rams.

"The guys who were out there were working hard," said Rams coach Scott Linehan, who spent last season as Saban's offensive coordinator. "You're going to see an exciting group and an exciting offense on Sept. 10."

Other than the kickers, few starters logged any sort of playing time for either team.

Marc Bulger paced the St. Louis sideline, donning a white hat and carrying a clipboard. Daunte Culpepper spent most of his night being a cheerleader, slapping fives with Miami teammates after big plays and occasionally swaying in time with the music being piped into Dolphin Stadium.

"You want to get the work, but there's that fine line with the injury factor," Bulger said. "It is a business ... and we've got a 16-game schedule."

St. Louis starts its schedule at home Sept. 10 against the Denver Broncos. Miami opens the regular season next Thursday in Pittsburgh against the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers.

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