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  1. #1
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    Curtis excels in place of injured Bruce

    Curtis excels in place of injured Bruce
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Jan. 16 2005

    ATLANTA - Second-year wide receiver Kevin Curtis, who played in only four games
    in an injury-plagued rookie year and didn't catch his first pass this season
    until the third game, was thrust into the NFL playoff spotlight Saturday night.

    Veteran Isaac Bruce was a late scratch for the Rams' NFC semifinal game against
    the Atlanta Falcons. Curtis started in his place, and he was the team's leading
    receiver in a 47-17 loss. He had seven receptions for 128 yards and a
    touchdown.

    Curtis' impact was felt early. On the Rams' fifth play, quarterback Marc Bulger
    found Curtis on the right side, and his sprint to the end zone completed a
    57-yard scoring play that made it 7-7.

    Despite his third big game in a row, Curtis took little solace after the Rams'
    season came to a crushing conclusion.

    "It doesn't really take the place of losing a big football game," he said.
    "It's not the way you want it to end."

    Bruce had been bothered by a hip injury late in the regular season, and he
    suffered what originally was described as a groin pull last weekend in the
    Rams' 27-20 first-round victory in Seattle. Coach Mike Martz later described it
    as a stomach-muscle problem.

    Bruce declined to speak with reporters after Saturday night's defeat. But
    according to a Rams official, Bruce tested the injury a couple of hours before
    kickoff at the Georgia Dome and deemed it too sore to play.

    Curtis acknowledged that sliding into Bruce's spot carried stress.

    "Oh, yeah, it's a lot of pressure," Curtis said. "Obviously, you never want
    Isaac out of a game; it hurts. I just tried to go in and be a decent
    replacement for him."

    With Curtis lining up opposite Torry Holt with the first unit, Shaun McDonald
    and Dane Looker moved into the Nos. 3 and 4 wideout slots. McDonald had four
    catches for 37 yards, and Looker, who hadn't seen much action other than on
    special teams, latched onto three passes for 38 yards. Holt had two catches for
    42 yards.

    "It is nice to get back in the lineup and catch a couple of balls," Looker
    said. "But it's awful when you lose. ... All week in practice we knew that
    Isaac was questionable; he didn't take many reps in practice. You know
    something's really wrong with him when he doesn't play, because he's as
    competitive a guy as I've ever seen and he's as tough a football player as I've
    ever seen."

    While emphasizing that losing Bruce was a blow, Bulger said: "But that's the
    nature of the beast. It happens, and you have to move on from it."

    Bruce, an 11-year veteran, had missed just one game in six years before landing
    on the inactive list Saturday. He was second to Holt during the regular season
    in catches (89) and yards (1,292).

    Curtis, a third-round draft pick out of Utah State in 2003, was coming off the
    best two games of his career. He had six receptions for 99 yards in a 32-29
    overtime win over the New York Jets in the final regular-season game, then
    followed with a six-catch, 108-yard outing against the Seahawks. He was named
    the team's offensive player of the week.

    Curtis finished the regular season with 37 receptions for 421 yards and two
    touchdowns.

    "He deserves to be a starter," Martz said Saturday night. "He's a good player,
    and I'm excited to see what he'll do in the future."



  2. #2
    Shadesofgrey Guest

    Re: Curtis excels in place of injured Bruce

    I'm real excited about Curtis and his development. He didn't miss a beat filling in for Bruce. Next year it'll be fun to watch Holt, Bruce, and Curtis tear it up. The 3rd season is usually the breakout season for Wr's..I have no doubts that Curtis will establish himself as one of the better Wr's in the league.

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Curtis excels in place of injured Bruce

    Between Curtis and McDonald, I think we have one of the strongest receiving cores in the league. Both have looked sharp this season catching the ball when called upon.
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  4. #4
    moklerman Guest

    Re: Curtis excels in place of injured Bruce

    Curtis definitely stepped it up but at what cost? Tory (I dissapear during big games) Holt only had two catches and the third receiver, Shaun (I've been studying Seattle wr's) McDonald didn't do much at all. Granted, Holt had a td so it wasn't his usual disappearing act but the wr corps, other than Curtis, was a non-factor. For a team built on it's wr's that's not a good thing. Especially when you consider that the special teams have been sacrificed to add depth to the wr's, it's really unacceptable. The TE's have been written out of the offense unless the moon is a bright shade of blue, Jackson hasn't really proven himself as a threat out of the backfield and Marshall's always on the bench. Just how multi-faceted is the offense when the wr's are basically the only option in the passing game?

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