Fitzpatrick's rally fizzles
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Aug. 20 2006
Nine months after he introduced himself to the NFL by leading the Rams to a
stirring comeback win over the Houston Texans, second-year quarterback Ryan
Fitzpatrick found himself in a similar situation Saturday night.
Again, the Texans were lined up across from him. And again, Fitzpatrick was
driving the Rams toward the end zone and perhaps a victory. But this time, the
rally fizzled in the final seconds, and Houston escaped with a 27-20 preseason
win at the Edward Jones Dome.
"We were down on the 2-yard line, and we had four shots at the end zone there,"
Fitzpatrick said, shaking his head. "We were going to put the ball in the end
zone, go for 2 and win the game. But it didn't work out."
After running back Antoine Bagwell got a yard up the middle, fellow undrafted
rookie J.D. Washington was dropped for a 1-yard loss. Fitzpatrick then failed
to connect on successive passes for rookie wideouts Clinton Solomon and Marques
Hagans.
Fitzpatrick said he had no flashbacks Saturday to Nov. 27, when he came in with
the Rams down 24-3 and rallied them to a 33-27 overtime win in Houston.
Fitzpatrick was in for just the one drive. He completed five of 10 passes for
59 yards, without a touchdown or an interception; his passer rating was 68.3.
Fitzpatrick's frustration was offset by Dave Ragone's satisfaction at producing
10 points in his two series at quarterback. Ragone and Fitzpatrick are battling
for the No. 3 quarterback spot behind Marc Bulger and Gus Frerotte.
Ragone was upset after tossing an interception in the red zone Aug. 10 in the
Rams' 19-17 win over Indianapolis. He felt much better after guiding the team
to a touchdown and a field goal vs. the Texans, his former teammates.
"Yeah, especially after I gave points away last week," said Ragone, a 6-foot-3,
221-pound lefthander. "That was my goal going in there, to get points. I wish
we could've scored on the second drive; it would've made it easier for Fitz to
go in there and just get a field goal" for a tie.
Ragone wound up connecting on nine of 11 passes for 76 yards, also without a
touchdown or interception. His passer rating was 95.5.
The Rams trailed 20-10 when Ragone entered in the third quarter. He completed
his first four passes and scrambled for 5 yards.
Running back Fred Russell completed the 11-play, 74-yard march with a 1-yard
touchdown run off left tackle that made it 20-17 with 1 minute, 27 seconds
remaining in the period.
Houston countered with a touchdown, and Ragone again had the Rams on the move
on their next possession. Starting at their 16-yard line, they advanced to the
Houston 18. The drive was scuttled by a 3-yard loss on a run by Russell and a
false-start penalty. Remy Hamilton's 33-yard field goal cut the Texans' edge to
27-20, and then Fitzpatrick got his turn with 7:15 to go.
Ragone said he regarded his solid showing as just one positive step in his
preseason competition with Fitzpatrick. "I look at this as a four-game
championship type of thing," Ragone said, "I know that these are the four games
I get to show what I can do. ...
"It's just fun to be out there and compete; you feel like you did something
when the game's over. You're not just taking your pads off with no sweat. This
time, it means something."