ST. LOUIS (AP) – The St. Louis Rams broke another team’s heart for a change.

Marc Bulger threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Curtis with 27 seconds to go for a 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, snapping a five-game skid that included two leads lost in the final minute.

Stymied much of the game, Bulger was 9-for-9 for 66 yards during a 12-play, 80-yard drive for the winning score. He finished 23-for-34 for 201 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Frank Gore had 134 yards on 21 carries for the 49ers, who missed a chance to keep the pressure on first-place Seattle in the NFC West. San Francisco has not been above .500 this late in the season since 2002.

Both of St. Louis’ last-minute losses during the slump came against the Seahawks. This time, safety Oshiomogo Atogwe intercepted a desperation pass by Alex Smith and ran out the clock.

The Rams (5-6) responded after the 49ers (5-6) punished the NFL’s weakest run defense to take a 17-13 lead. San Francisco chewed up more than seven minutes on a 13-play, 75-yard march capped by Joe Nedney’s 24-yard field goal with 3:54 to go. Only one play during that drive was a pass, with Gore, Maurice Hicks and Michael Robinson all keeping the chains moving on the ground.

Gore, who has four 100-yard games in the last five weeks, had 40 yards on five carries in the drive. He also produced the 49ers’ lone highlight of the first half, a 12-yard scoring run in which he powered through Atogwe at the 2.

Steven Jackson was just as impressive for the Rams, who returned to basics after a failed one-dimensional effort last week in a 15-0 loss to the Panthers. In that game, they called 41 pass plays and only eight runs.

Jackson, limited to 27 yards on seven carries last week, had 121 yards on 23 carries with a 36-yard scoring run in the first half. He had two carries for 10 yards in the winning drive and four catches for 25 yards to help the Rams beat a resurgent San Francisco defense that had allowed only 30 points in the last 3 games.

Curtis had three catches for 41 yards, but made big plays at the finish of each half. He was able to find a hole in the 49ers’ defense for the game-winner, and his 27-yard reception set up Jeff Wilkins’ 51-yard field goal on the final play of the first half that put the Rams ahead 13-7.

Curtis fell down after catching a low throw from Gus Frerotte, who came in the game after Marc Bulger got the wind knocked out of him on a hit by Bryant Young. But Curtis was untouched, giving him a chance to get up and run for several more yards to get the ball close enough for Wilkins.

The losing streak was St. Louis’ longest since an eight-game skid in 1997.

The Rams led 10-0 with 2:47 to go in the first half, their first double-digit lead since they blew a 21-7 cushion in a 30-28 loss at home to the Seahawks in the first loss during the slump.


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