Fullback remains hospitalized after sustaining concussion
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - Pace expected
back at practice
St. Louis Rams fullback Paul Smith was still in the hospital on Monday after sustaining a concussion in a collision with Detroit's Frank Davis.
Both players were injured when they crashed into each other on the opening kickoff of the second half.
"He roomed with the guy he ran into, how about that," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "It wasn't bad enough that they ended up knocking each other out of the game. They had to spend the night together."
Linehan said kickoff coverage was a major emphasis at halftime after Detroit's Eddie Drummond had returns of 41 and 31 yards in the first half.
"At halftime, we basically said that we need to go down and attack better on the coverage team," Linehan said. "Someone is going to have a make statement, and he certainly did on the first play."
The 5-foot-11, 237-pound Smith attacked the wedge with reckless abandon, crashing into 6-foot-3, 325-pound Davis. Drummond ended up being tackled at the Detroit 23 after a 23-yard return.
"Talk about giving one for the team," Linehan said of Smith. "That was unbelievable."
Davis had to be taken off the field on a cart with a neck injury. He was released from the hospital on Monday.
Linehan said Smith might have fractured some small bones near his eye.
Linehan said he didn't know how long Smith would be sidelined, but he expected him to be back "sooner rather than later."
Madison Hedgecock replaced Smith at fullback. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound Hedgecock has more bulk as a blocker than Smith, but he's not as an accomplished a receiver as Smith.
"He's a solid football player and a competitor," Rams offensive coordinator Greg Olson said of Hedgecock. "I know he was happy to get in there and get some playing time, and we really don't feel like we drop off a lot."
In other injury news, Linehan said Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace might take part in practice on a limited basis on Wednesday.
Pace sat out the Rams' game against the Lions because he's still suffering the lingering effects of a concussion sustained two weeks ago.
"It feels much better than it did at this time last week because he didn't play," Linehan said. "The prognosis is much more positive this week for him playing. But, until we get to Sunday, there is nothing guaranteed there."
Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa left the game against the Lions for a couple of plays after falling and breaking the brace on his dislocated elbow.
"Pisa is a touch sucker to go out and play with a dislocated elbow, two torn ligaments," " Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "Then he broke the brace, and he went back out and played for about five plays with tape on it. He got hurt and came back and put another brace on. You can't say enough about that kid."
Haslett wins another round with Martz
Haslett improved his record to 5-3 against Mike Martz-run offenses, though he says it's 5-2 because Martz wasn't calling the plays in the Rams' 28-17 win over the Saints last season.
"He didn't coach there last year, so I don't count that one," Haslett said of a game that Martz missed due to a heart ailment.
The Lions rolled up 370 yards of offense on Sunday with Martz as their offensive coordinator, but they also committed three turnovers.
Haslett claimed the win over Martz didn't mean anymore to him than any other win.
"I enjoy beating anybody," Haslett said. "A win is a win. The one thing you have to say about Mike is that he has always put good offenses out on the field. They got a lot yardage yesterday.
"But, the bottom line is who wins the game. We won the game. We got the turnovers. That's kind of like the past history playing him when he was here as the head coach in St. Louis. They'd racked up a lot of yards on us, but we'd get seven or eight turnovers and win the game."
Linehan admitted that he could have done a better job with clock management at the end of the first half against the Lions.
Quarterback Marc Bulger spiked the ball on third down even though the Rams still had a timeout.
Linehan said he didn't know if using the timeout with seven seconds left and then attempting one pass into the end zone would have been a prudent option.
"What I would have done different in that situation since we decided to spike the ball is take the clock down further so the game is over and we don't have to kick the ball off after the field goal," Linehan said.
• Wide receiver Torry Holt passed Henry Ellard for second place on the Rams' all-time receiving list with a 16-yard reception in the third quarter.
Holt also registered the 41st 100-yard receiving game of his career, tying him with Lance Alworth for the 10th most in NFL history.
• Wide receiver Bruce has taken over 10th place on the NFL's all-time receptions list with 832. He passed Larry Centers (827 receptions) with a 14-yard reception in the first quarter.