Bulger's perseverance pays off against Titans
By Jim Thomas
Saturday, Oct. 01 2005

He got knocked down several times but got up. He kept throwing passes and kept
competing. And by the end of the day, Marc Bulger quietly had posted some of
the best numbers of his career against Tennessee.

"Here's what you have to consider about his performance," coach Mike Martz
said. "How we started, first of all. He's getting sacked and drilled back there
to begin with. That normally would rattle any quarterback, I don't care how
good you are.

"Then all of a sudden you're behind by 10 points. And you can't get back and
put your foot in the ground to throw the ball. They're all over you. That can
be disillusioning to any quarterback, and then to come back and do what he did,
the way he did it, I thought was outstanding."

Bulger's completion percentage of 75 percent - on 21 of 28 passing - tied for
the second-best total of his career. His passer rating of 128.9 was the
third-best of his career. He finished with 292 yards and three touchdown passes.

Bulger, as usual, played down his performance.

"I've had better games with worse stats, I think, in the past than I did last
week," he said. "So I just try to learn from the film."

Now at nickel

Newcomer Chris Johnson performed well enough at nickel back last week to hang
on to the job this Sunday against the New York Giants.

"I have some little technique stuff that I still have to clean up coming off of
two years (of injuries), just trying to get back in the swing of things,"
Johnson said. "But I'd say by midseason, I should be as crisp as I was when I
first came out."

Johnson was acquired from the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 3 in exchange for
linebacker Robert Thomas. Despite entering the NFL in 2003, Johnson hadn't
played a regular-season game until this season because of injuries.

In addition to his kickoff return duties against Tennessee, Johnson had two
tackles and forced a fumble playing as a fifth defensive back.

"He's a big guy that has terrific catch-up speed," Martz said. "He really has
unusual speed."

What about Ivy?

Johnson's gain has been Corey Ivy's loss. Ivy began the season as the Rams'
nickel back and recorded a career-high 11 tackles against Arizona before giving
way to Johnson.

"I feel I played pretty well when I got in there against Arizona, and really
haven't seen the field since," said Ivy, who played only on special teams
against Tennessee. "I've just got to be ready when my number's called, and
capitalize on the opportunities that I get."