Facebook Twitter

Faulk edges MVP Warner

SHARE Faulk edges MVP Warner

ST. LOUIS — Kurt Warner is the NFL's Most Valuable Player and the trigger man of the St. Louis Rams' offense. Nevertheless, opponents have to prepare just as diligently for an equally productive teammate.

Marshall Faulk, who won The Associated Press NFL Offensive Player Award for the third straight year on Thursday, is the key to the league's best team.

"I think it's the first thing you do when you defend this team," coach Mike Martz said. "You try to figure out how you're going to account for or take away Marshall."

No one has been able to do that. Faulk is the first player in NFL history with four straight 2,000-yard seasons, and he followed up last year's record 26-touchdown season with 21 more scores.

Warner edged Faulk by four votes in MVP balloting, and it was even tighter for offensive player, with Faulk beating Warner by one vote.

It was a routinely spectacular season for Faulk, who rushed for 1,382 yards and gained 765 yards receiving on 83 catches, tops among NFL running backs. He finished with 2,147 yards.

Those numbers and his versatility earned Faulk 23 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Warner was just behind with 22.

"I don't think that's a consolation prize, I think that's a great honor," Martz said. "That's a tremendous award. I don't know how you can separate them."

Warner, two years older than the 28-year-old Faulk, helped the Rams to a league-best 14-2 record. Although Warner threw an NFC-high 22 interceptions this season, he passed for 4,830 yards — second most in league history. He led the league with 36 touchdown passes, yards per attempt (8.85), completions (375), completion percentage (68.7) and overall rating (101.4).

Both were voted to the All-Pro Team, with Faulk a unanimous choice.