Curtis' catches keep Rams rolling
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Sunday, Jan. 02 2005

Isaac Bruce has caught 777 passes in his NFL career. Fellow wide receiver Kevin
Curtis has caught 36.

Yet when Bruce hobbled to the sideline late in the third quarter Sunday with a
bruised hip, Curtis jumped into the breach, and the Rams' attack kept perking
along. Curtis played a key role in the Rams' 32-29 overtime victory over the
New York Jets.

Curtis, a second-year pro from Utah State, had four receptions in the fourth
quarter, with three for 38 yards on the drive that put the Rams up 29-26 with 5
minutes 6 seconds remaining. The Jets tied the score on a field goal with three
seconds to go in regulation, but the Rams (8-8) prevailed on Jeff Wilkins'
31-yard boot and grabbed a wild-card spot in the playoffs.

"I saw a few more balls today," Curtis said. "All year, if Isaac goes down, I'm
usually the guy that goes in there. You just never know. It's been a long
season, and a lot of guys get hurt. So you've always got to be ready if your
number's called."

Overall, Curtis totaled a career-high 99 yards on six catches. He has 32
receptions for 328 yards and two touchdowns this year, after injuries scuttled
most of his rookie season.

"Kevin just needs opportunity; he's ready to play," coach Mike Martz said. "He
can play at a very high level."

The Rams trailed 26-21 when Bruce was hurt. Quarterback Marc Bulger hooked up
with Curtis for gains of 9, 12 and 17 yards on an eight-play, 59-yard march
that ended with a 19-yard TD strike to receiver Torry Holt. Running back Steven
Jackson barreled in for the two-point conversion, giving the Rams a three-point
cushion.

The lead changed hands five times in the 3-hour 51-minute bout in front of
65,877 at the Edward Jones Dome. "It was like a roller-coaster," Curtis said.
"It kind of reminded me a little bit of last year's (playoff) game (a 29-23 OT
loss to Carolina), so back and forth and having a chance here and there and
then you think maybe you've run out of chances."

When Jets kicker Doug Brien missed a 53-yard field-goal try in overtime, "we
got another chance," Curtis said. "We kept plugging away, and it paid off."