We saw again yesterday the inability of Marc Bulger to make plays that lead the Rams to victory. In each of the last two weeks, the Rams have had a chance in the closing moments to either win or tie a game, and Bulger hasn’t been able to get them into the end zone.
While it’s completely unfair to hold Bulger to the standards of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Kurt Warner, we have to hold him up to something.
How about Tony Romo, who’s been a playoff quarterback that hasn’t won a playoff game. Yesterday against the Redskins, he completed completed seven consecutive passes in the fourth quarter, adding a seven yard run, and provided his team a late touchdown in a 7-6 win over Dallas.
Late in the fourth quarter at Kansas City, Matt Cassel went 4-6 for 80 yards against the Steeler defense, leading a game-tying 91-yard touchdown drive. Then in overtime, he went 2-3 for 66 yards to set up the winning field goal.
Matthew Stafford led a game winning drive for Detroit, throwing a touchdown pass on the last play of the game…despite a badly injured left shoulder.
We see it every week in the NFL, but we don’t see it here. Quarterbacks making plays to get their team into the end zone. As the Rams have amassed six wins in their last 42 games,
Bulger has been the starting quarterback for 35 of them.
Thirteen times in the last three years Bulger has had a chance to lead his team to a late victory. The Rams have won two of those games, neither because Bulger got his team into the end zone. In fact, in one score games in the last three years, Bulger has accounted for zero touchdowns in the Rams’ last drive of the game.
In a 17-16 loss to San Francisco in 2007, a late drive stalls at the 49er 39 yard-line and Jeff Wilkins misses a 56-yard field goal with 1:04 left.
Against Cleveland that year, on 1st-and-5 at Cleveland’s 37, Bulger is intercepted by Leigh Bodden at the Browns 28 with 45 seconds left in a 27-20 Browns win.
On October 12 of last year, Bulger hits Donnie Avery twice for 55 yards in the last 2:33, setting up Josh Brown’s winning field goal at Washington.
Two weeks later, Bulger is intercepted by Deltha O’Neal at the New England 16 yard line with 1:26 left, as the Rams lose to the Patriots 23-16.
On November 30, 2008, in a 16-12 loss to Miami at the Edward Jones Dome, Bulger is intercepted by Andre Goodman at the Miami 10 with :42 on the clock.
In a tie game vs. Seattle on December 14, Bulger gets the ball at his own 29 with 2:41 to go, and goes 0-3. After a Rams punt, Seneca Wallace completes a 45 yard pass to set up the Seahawks’ last play field goal in a 23-20 win.
The following week, San Francisco scores a touchdown with 1:22 left to take a 17-16 lead. Bulger gets the ball at his own 26, but is intercepted by Tarrell Brown at the 49ers 38 with 22 seconds left.
In last season’s finale, Bulger goes 1-3 for and takes a sack with 1:15 to go as the Rams lose the ball on downs, and lose to Atlanta 31-27.
This year at Washington on September 20, Bulger gets the ball at his own four with 1:55 to go, and goes 0-4 as the Rams lose 9-7.
Against Jacksonville, Bulger gets the ball with 1:53 left and goes 4-7 for 69 yards to set up the tying field goal. The Rams lose in overtime.
Against Detroit, Bulger goes 1-2 for seven yards in the Rams final drive. A penalty accounts for 13 more, and Steven Jackson runs for 42, including the winning 25-yard touchdown, in a Rams win.
In a 28-23 loss to New Orleans, the Rams get the ball at their own 20 with 2:21 left, and fail on a 4th-and-1 on the Saints 32 as time expires.
Yesterday, the Rams make it a one score game and get the ball at their own 34 with 5:27 left. Bulger goes 3-5 for 66 yards, but misfires on third and fourth down to give the ball back at the Arizona seven. When the Rams get it again for one last gasp, Bulger is sacked, throws two incompletions, and then fumbles on 4th-and-17. The Rams lose 21-13.
Thirteen chances in three years to rally his team with a touchdown. Four last-drive interceptions. Six final possessions that end on stalled drives on third or fourth down. Two Josh Brown fields goals. And one Steven Jackson TD in Detroit for a victory.
I understand that the Rams quarterback is throwing to lesser talent than others, and that his circumstances are different. But no clutch touchdowns in three seasons? Thirteen chances to win a game late, and no TD’s? Marc Bulger is almost 33 years old. The magic is gone. It’s time to move on.