Monday, September 20, 2004

By Nick Wagoner
Staff Writer

Through the years, Rams’ receiver Isaac Bruce has made a habit of picking on the Falcons with big game after big game. Sunday was no different, except this time Torry Holt, Bruce’s partner in crime joined in the fun.

Bruce finished with 102 yards on eight catches, only to be topped by Holt’s nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Earlier this week, Atlanta coach Jim Mora called Bruce his No. 1 nemesis, as Mora had seen Bruce light up the ***** when Mora was defensive coordinator there.

The rivalry between Bruce and Mora is friendly and both have joked about it in the past. Bruce and Mora had a few close encounters, including an animated discussion after an illegal contact penalty was called on Atlanta in the second quarter.

Bruce’s third catch of the game gave him 700 for his career, putting him in 18th place on the career list. It was Bruce’s 35th 100-yard receiving game of his career, his third against the Falcons, and the fifth time he topped the century mark against Falcons’ head coach Jim Mora as his performance also gave him back-to-back 100-yard games for the seventh time, including his streak of six consecutive such games in 1995.

Holt’s big day was his 26th 100-yard game and his third against the Falcons. He made a highlight-reel catch to help pull the Rams within 17-14 in the third quarter. On first-and-10 from Atlanta’s 33, Marc Bulger lofted a pass to the left corner, where Holt outleaped and outmuscled the defender for the score. Holt fell just shy of a second straight 100-yard game, as he had 96 receiving yards against Arizona in week one.

INJURY REPORT: St. Louis left Atlanta relatively injury-free. Cornerback DeJuan Groce sprained his right knee in the first quarter, but that was the extent of the hits the Rams took to their health, according to coach Mike Martz.

INACTIVITY: The Rams seven inactives Sunday were quarterback Jeff Smoker (third quarterback), cornerback Travis Fisher, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, linebacker Trev Faulk, guards Tom Nutten, Blaine Saipaia and Darnell Alford and receiver Mike Furrey.

Wide receiver Kevin Curtis returned to the active roster after battling shin splints that left him on the inactive list in week one.

Notable inactives for Atlanta included first-round choice DeAngelo Hall, who was out with a hip injury. Kevin Mathis started in Hall’s place. Former Rams’ linebacker Jamie Duncan was also inactive because of a pectoral injury.

RING IT UP: Atlanta introduced its “Ring of Honor” on Sunday, honoring four of the greats from its past. Running back William Andrews, quarterback Steve Bartkowski and linebackers Tommy Nobis and Jessie Tuggle were honored in a halftime ceremony.

SHIVERS BACK: Safety Jason Shivers, the Rams’ fifth-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft cleared waivers and was brought back to St. Louis on Friday. Shivers was released so the Rams could move linebacker Tony Newson to the active roster.

Newson’s presence became important after Trev Faulk re-injured his hamstring, leaving St. Louis with just four healthy linebackers. Teams had