By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Oct. 13 2008
LANDOVER, MD. — Three years and 10 days ago, Josh Brown stood in almost exactly
the same spot, in almost exactly the same situation.

His Seattle Seahawks were tied with the Washington Redskins as Brown lined up
for a 47-yard field goal try with 1 second remaining. Brown's kick was long,
high and ... hooked left, bounding away off the upright.

The Seahawks lost in overtime.

On Sunday, with 90,376 voices enveloping FedEx Field, the Rams down by a point
and 2 ticks left, Brown sent a 49-yarder long, high and ... right down the
middle.

The Rams won 19-17.

"It was a good opportunity for me to kind of exorcise those demons," Brown
said. "But it feels good just to win a game."

That's something the Rams had done just three times in their last 20 contests,
and not once this season in four outings. The Redskins, conversely, were riding
a four-game winning streak.

Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe raced 75 yards with a fumble just before the half for
the Rams' only touchdown, and the special teams provided a big boost.

Brown connected on three other field goals, from 51, 25 and 44 yards. Donnie
Jones, the NFL's leading punter, averaged 47.2 yards on six boots, Dante Hall
averaged 23.7 yards on three kickoff returns and scooted 34 yards with his only
punt, and the Rams' coverage was generally solid.

"Even though the returns and some of the special-teams play didn't go for
points, it helped to maintain field position," Hall said. "If they did go on a
long drive, the defense would have time to recover and stop them."

Brown, who signed a free-agent deal in the offseason that made him the
highest-paid kicker in NFL history, was money on the game-winner, even after a
15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on guard Richie Incognito moved him
back.

"I was kind of angry," Brown said. "But you can't allow too much to go on in
your mind. You really just have to ... live in the moment, and kick your ball."

First, it has to be snapped properly, and Chris Massey got that done. "We
practice every day for this situation," Massey said. "It's different for a
snapper than a quarterback or a receiver, but you always look forward to having
the ball in your hands when the game's on the line."

Then, the holder has to catch it and spot it correctly, and Jones got that
done. "My heart was racing," Jones said. "I was telling myself, 'Just catch it
and put it down.'"

Finally, the kicker has to make solid contact, and Brown did. "You just have to
train yourself somehow to block everything out," he said. "Nothing else matters
but that 2-second moment."

The Rams, trailing 17-16, began the decisive march from their 24-yard line with
3:47 left. The crucial play was a 43-yard pass from quarterback Marc Bulger to
diving rookie wideout Donnie Avery at the Redskins' 16 with 39 seconds showing.

A yard was lost when Bulger took a knee to let the clock run down, and
Incognito was flagged in the meantime. So, the ball was resting on the 31 when
Massey snapped to Jones and Brown sent it on its way.

"I gave him a big hug after the game, and I told him, 'I'm glad you're in our
locker room right now,'" running back Steven Jackson said. "If we get within
his range, we know he'll knock it down for us."

Despite that unhappy memory from 2005.

"Today was just one of those days," Brown said. "We had a good feeling, we had
a good practice week, and we knew we were going to get an opportunity to win.
We didn't know how, but I'm glad it ended the way it did."