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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Archuleta's Big Play Saves the Day

    Sunday, September 25, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    After a year that he would call his worst in the NFL because of some missed opportunities to make big plays, Adam Archuleta is starting to make a habit of making the biggest plays when the Rams need them the most.

    In other words, Archuleta is starting to look like the Archuleta that everyone in St. Louis knows he can be.

    One week after coming up with a sack to ice the Arizona game, Archuleta came up with an interception that he returned 85 yards for a touchdown. With St. Louis trailing 10-0 and the Titans on the verge of a 17-0 lead and potential blowout victory, Archuleta jumped Titans’ receiver Drew Bennett’s crossing route at the 15 and went untouched into the end zone.

    “Watching him come off the field it was like he got this ton of bricks off his back,” coach Mike Martz said. “Adam is back. He played very well today.”

    Archuleta tacked on six tackles and a pass defended in unofficial press box statistics, but none of those plays could compare to the interception for a touchdown.

    That 14-point swing turned into an avalanche of 24 unanswered points for the Rams and got a stagnant offense going.

    As Archuleta crossed the goal line, he flung the ball at the stands and hit a woman in the front row, who appeared to make a heck of a catch. The excitement of making a big play wasn’t just obvious in looking at Archuleta.

    All of his teammates appreciated the play, too. But Archuleta said this is the kind of thing he has come to expect from himself.

    “It meant a lot to me actually,” Archuleta said. “There was a couple times I can remember last year that a similar play came up and I didn’t make it. I took that as a hit to my pride. I want to be the guy to make those plays not miss them. That is huge for my confidence knowing I am going to make those plays.”

    Archuleta has gone on record calling last season his worst in the league, but he was hampered most of the year by a back injury that kept him from being able to touch his toes, let alone make big plays on the football field.

    The touchdown return was the first interception return of his career for a score and his third of his career. Archuleta has made a habit of giving himself a long way to run on the returns, following his 93-yard return of a fumble against Tampa Bay last season.

    But that is a trend that Archuleta certainly has no problem with.

    “On the next couple series, I definitely felt it,” Archuleta said. “I’m glad they didn’t try and attack me in those series, but I’ll take that (feeling) any day.”

    As for the whereabouts of the ball he fired into the stands, Archuleta wouldn’t mind having it back, but he doesn’t mind losing it.

    “That’s my gift to her I guess,” Archuleta said.

    And his gift to the Rams was their second win of the season.

    INJURY UPDATE: In a matter of moments the Rams lost two of their most important offensive players.

    Running back Steven Jackson suffered a shot to the chest after a 6-yard gain with three minutes and 50 seconds to go in the second quarter. Jackson immediately left to get an X-ray, but those came back negative and his diagnosis was bruised ribs.

    “Right now I’m feeling pretty good,” Jackson said. “I’ll get some more things looked at and make sure I’m all right. I came back at the end of the game and I expect to be there next week.”

    Jackson did indeed return to the game and finished with 48 yards on 12 carries with a catch for 6 yards.

    On a more serious note, receiver Isaac Bruce was lost for the rest of the game about a minute and a half later when he suffered a hyperextended toe. Bruce had one catch for 11 yards on the game before his exit.

    Bruce said he should be OK.

    “I’m optimistic that everything is well and I shall be back fast,” Bruce said. “I shall be quick, I shall be explosive and I shall be in the mix like I’ve always been.”

    Martz wasn’t quite as optimistic after the game.

    “Isaac’s turf toe I am concerned about,” Martz said. “Those turf toes are nasty things. I don’t know how bad it is, but it will probably be Wednesday before I can comment.”

    Free safety Michael Hawthorne left the game with a sprained ankle and was replaced by Mike Furrey. Hawthorne should be OK for next week, but his status won’t be known until later in the week.

    Tight end Brandon Manumaleuna suffered a sprained knee at the beginning of the game, but returned soon after. Rookie Madison Hedgecock took his place in the meantime.

    LATERAL MOVEMENT:
    Few calls have ever drawn Martz’s ire and the ire of the hometown fans like the call that ruled Bulger’s pass attempt to Jackson a backward lateral.

    The play resulted in a fumble that Tennessee’s Peter Sirmon recovered and nearly took all the way for a touchdown.

    The Rams challenged the call, saying it was a forward pass, but the video evidence wasn’t abundant enough to change the call according to referee Tom White.

    “I couldn’t determine exactly where he threw the ball from because of the visual line we had,” White said. “Even though we had a solid yard line, his body was not back to that point and the ball was in the air so you couldn’t tell the exact position of the ball when it left his hand or which side of the yard line it was on. It was too close to call visually to change anything that they did on the football field.”

    The rule on the play has nothing to do with where the player’s feet are. Rather, the ruling is more about where the ball leaves the player’s hand and where it lands. Those are the two points that are dealt with on the call.

    Still, Martz, the Rams’ sideline and all of the fans were irate. The fans even booed for pretty much the rest of the game.

    “We just had a difference of agreement,” Martz said. “His perspective was a little different. I was standing there on the sideline and I saw the throw. Maybe he had a better angle than I did.”

    The Rams were nursing a seven-point lead at the time and on the verge of making it a two-possession game. Although Jackson didn’t go get the ball after the throw got away, he did have the presence of mind to chase down Sirmon and save the touchdown.

    “I thought it would be a routine incomplete pass, but I didn’t hear the whistle,” Jackson said. “After a while I thought about it and I didn’t hear the whistle. So I just took off down field and was fortunate enough to make the tackle and I think that saved us on the scoreboard.”

    BIG GAME’S BIG GAME:
    It isn’t unusual for receiver Torry Holt to have big games, after all that is his nickname. But Holt’s big game against the Titans came at the right time.

    With Bruce out of the game because of the toe injury, the onus fell on Holt to come up with the big catches.

    Holt did indeed come up with the big catches, nine of them to be exact. He took those grabs 163 yards and added a 32-yard touchdown catch.

    “I just go out there and do what I do,” Holt said. “I just stay calm and when he calls my number I just work my route, work my technique and try to get open and help us win.”

    Holt’s 163-yard day was his second 100-yard game of the season and 35th of his career.


  2. #2
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    Re: Archuleta's Big Play Saves the Day

    There is no doubt that this could be the defining moment in Arch's career. He started off the game just as poorly as he had played lately - taking a whiff of toe jam as Brown went into the secondary.

    But a penalty calls back the tennTD and before you could ask 'where's the friggin' DBs' again, he had the ball and was gone.

    Changed the game and his tone all in one go. I saw at least 2 plays later in the game where he met the RB in the hole and stopped the play cold ...

    ... he read the play, made a break on the ball, and closed the deal ... big time confidence boost ... he knows it and I'll second it. Good for him.

  3. #3
    Curly Horns's Avatar
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    Re: Archuleta's Big Play Saves the Day

    “I couldn’t determine exactly where he threw the ball from because of the visual line we had,” White said. “Even though we had a solid yard line, his body was not back to that point and the ball was in the air so you couldn’t tell the exact position of the ball when it left his hand or which side of the yard line it was on. It was too close to call visually to change anything that they did on the football field.”

    The rule on the play has nothing to do with where the player’s feet are. Rather, the ruling is more about where the ball leaves the player’s hand and where it lands. Those are the two points that are dealt with on the call.
    Well even I can determine the release point on the VCR tape that I have. I'm sure the NFL has some high-end digital equipment. Granted the angle is not good, but Bulger's feet help to determine where his arm has to be at the point of release. Bulger is moving backwards and parallel with the sidelines. Therefore his body is naturally leaning backwards, and especially so, when he raises his arm in a throwing motion. His right leg crosses over his left and his left foot is within at least twelve inches of the 30 yard line when he releases the ball. If his arm span is reduced in half when he raises his arm in a throwing motion I would venture to guess that is 18 inches. Given that, plus the fact that he is leaning back, should put the release point at close to 12 inches on the other side of the 30 yard line. The ball clearly lands at the 30 yard line stripe. Of course none of this is definitive evidence to overrule the call, but it does beg the question as to why the refs ruled it a backward pass when it clearly looked like a forward pass to the naked eye in full speed.

    “We just had a difference of agreement,” Martz said. “His perspective was a little different. I was standing there on the sideline and I saw the throw. Maybe he had a better angle than I did.”
    Hmmm......and yet at the time Martz does not consider the angle, loses his composure, and throws what appears to me as a childish tantrum because he did not get his way. Now I'm all for Martz showing some fire, but seeing it for the first time in this manner was somewhat disturbing for me.



  4. #4
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Archuleta's Big Play Saves the Day

    Hey, I'd like to see the lady among the spectators in the endzone catching Archuleta's bullet after he scored the TD.

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    Re: Archuleta's Big Play Saves the Day

    Hmmm......and yet at the time Martz does not consider the angle, loses his composure, and throws what appears to me as a childish tantrum because he did not get his way. Now I'm all for Martz showing some fire, but seeing it for the first time in this manner was somewhat disturbing for me.
    Its not often I call a moderator on the board but by hell I am going to call you for this.

    If its any other coach in the NFL, he is being fiesty and defending his team but no, its Mike Martz and he is having a childish tantrum??????

    Man oh man

    :tut :tut


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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Archuleta's Big Play Saves the Day

    It's all about the Madness! :angryram:

    I was so glad to hear (radio broadcast) both Savard and Snow supporting everyone on the Rams sidelines -- including Master Madness, Mike Martz himself -- AND 99% of outraged fans in the Dome, roar with ire and fury on Tom White's failure to overturn that call!

    Coach Martz' outburst made it all the more evident, that it was a foreward pass. Granted, as GC has noted elsewhere, that, after further and careful review, it may have in fact been a lateral pitch, thus a live ball (as Coach Kollar was yelling).

    But at the time, there was an honest conviction to defend.

    Sometimes the head coaches have a legitimate point to EXPLODE. No problem there! :clanram:
    Last edited by RealRam; -09-28-2005 at 01:49 AM.

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