ST. LOUIS — The winless St. Louis Rams added several players to an already lengthy injury list on Monday. Quarterback Marc Bulger, nursing two broken ribs and coming off the first sub-50 percent passing day of his career, was not one of them.
Coach Scott Linehan on Monday had no thought this week of resting Bulger, who has thrown four interceptions, totaled 230 yards passing and produced zero touchdowns the past two weeks while operating behind an injury-riddled line. The Rams have a capable backup in Gus Frerotte, but Linehan is banking on Bulger’s track record helping the team escape its spiral.
“Logic sometimes isn’t always the answer for a number of reasons,” Linehan said. “I go back on past experience with the player and he’s played extremely well.
“We’ve got to get him playing good again, that’s a big part of what we’ve got to do. And he’s getting healthier.”
Bulger was lifted late in the third quarter of Sunday’s 35-7 loss to the Cowboys after going 11-for-24 for 114 yards. Both he and the coaching staff refuse to use the rib injuries as an excuse.
“Marc says, ‘Hey, I can go,’” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “I believe in Marc Bulger and I believe his word.
“As you go back and review the tape, oftentimes there’s not a lot of time for him back there.”
The 0-4 Rams believed before the season they were loaded on offense. Instead, they’ve gone 31 consecutive possessions without an offensive touchdown, with the only scoring on Sunday coming from Dante Hall’s 85-yard punt return. They’ve totaled two offensive touchdowns in four games, starting slowly and now hobbled by injuries to five offensive linemen.
The latest loss is offensive tackle Adam Goldberg, a replacement starter the past two weeks, who will be out a month with a left knee ligament strain. Linehan was hopeful guard Richie Incognito, out since the preseason with a high ankle sprain, could return this week and add a smidgen of stability.
In this scenario, it’s understandable that Bulger might be skittish. Olson said Bulger forced an end zone throw to a well-covered Drew Bennett that was intercepted by Ken Hamlin.
“We have got to protect him better and do a better job and make him more comfortable so he doesn’t feel like he has to force the ball and make a play,” Olson said. “When you’re not protecting the quarterback early on, how does it affect his play later in the game?”