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  1. #1
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    Gordo--Good, Bad, Ugly

    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Sunday, Sep. 19 2004

    Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick re-established himself as one of the
    NFL's most electrifying threats Sunday.

    The Rams would have preferred that he wait another week to do that.

    Vick led the Falcons to a thorough 34-17 victory over the Rams in Atlanta. He
    demolished the Rams defense with his arm and feet. He threw short and long. He
    scooted downfield on impromptu scrambles and designed runs.

    He made great use of running back Warrick Dunn, tight end Alge Crumpler and
    receiver Dez White in the new Atlanta offense – forcing the Rams to play
    catch-up all afternoon.

    And the sloppy, penalty-plagued Rams weren't up to that challenge in Atlanta.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger was able to play pitch-and-catch with Isaac Bruce and
    Torry Holt, but the offensive line failed to establish consistent run blocking
    and then broke down against the Falcons pass rush in the second half.

    In the tactical showdown between head coaches Jim Mora and Mike Martz, Mora won
    by a TKO. All in all, this was not a pleasant afternoon for the Rams.


    THE GOOD


    * Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa led a four-man charge on Vick on Atlanta's first
    third-down attempt, resulting in a huge early sack.


    * Third and short, a hand-off to Marshall Faulk, he muscles forward for a
    first down . . . that's an excellent early sign. Too bad it wasn't a sign of
    good things to come.


    * On a fourth-and-one play at the Atlanta 10, rookie running back Steven
    Jackson lunged for the first down with a nice second effort.


    * On a fourth-and-goal play at the Atlanta 1, the Rams went for it – and Faulk
    walked into the end zone on a successful sweep left. Fullback Joey Goodspeed
    delivered the key lead block.


    * Wow! Holt went up and got a Bulger long ball for a 33-yard touchdown
    reception. Holt was well-covered on the pump-and-go pass, but he adjusted to
    the ball and two Falcons defensive backs didn't. That play got the Rams back
    into the game . . . briefly.


    * Defensive end Leonard Little broke up an end-around play in the third
    quarter, leading to an intentional grounding penalty and, one play later, a
    punt.


    * With the Rams moving back into scoring position, Faulk danced for a
    first-down on a third-and-one play. Yes, he can still make men miss in the open
    field – and miss badly.


    * That led to Jeff Wilkins' 46-yard field goal, which tied the game 17-17 in
    the third quarter. How nice to have a place-kicker that makes 46-yarders
    routine.


    THE BAD


    * Edgy in the face of a threatened blitz, tight end Brandon Manumaleuna took a
    false start penalty on the Rams' second possession.


    * The Rams defense seemed to have receiver Peerless Price corralled for a
    massive loss in the second quarter, but he reversed his field on an end-around
    run and gained nine yards. That kept the Falcons rolling toward their second
    touchdown.


    * Goodspeed committed a holding penalty on a second-quarter kickoff return,
    putting the Rams in a hole at their 13-yard line. Then guard Chris Dishman
    backed the team up another five yards with a false start penalty.


    * Bulger got away with a huge mistake when his touchdown pass to Falcons
    linebacker Matt Stewart was negated by a defensive holding penalty that didn't
    affect the play. Whew!


    * What's with all these illegal motion penalties? Tight end Cam Cleeland
    committed one the moment the Rams reached the red zone for the first time.


    * Jackson couldn't hold off Bryan Scott on a corner blitz; the result was a
    10-yard loss.


    * After the Rams crept back in the red zone, Orlando Pace committed an
    unfortunate holding penalty.


    * Goodspeed took another special teams holding penalty, this time on a punt.
    The Falcons got a 22-yard return on the do-over, allowing them to maintain the
    upper hand in the field position war.


    * Here was another inexplicable penalty: Jackson got flagged for taunting
    after a kickoff return, moving the Rams back to their 10 after the Falcons took
    a 24-17 lead.


    * Then defensive end Patrick Kerney moved the Rams another nine yards back by
    waltzing around Manumaleuna to sack Bulger.


    * The Rams' kick return and coverage teams were badly outplayed by the
    Falcons, giving Atlanta a significant field position advantage.


    * Add a facemask penalty by Grant Williams to the fiasco that was the
    offensive line play. Yikes!


    THE UGLY


    * Safety Adam Archuleta failed to tackle fullback Justin Griffith at the
    corner – allowing him to take a swing pass 62 yards and set up a three-yard
    touchdown pass to Griffith. That was NOT a good defensive sequence for the Rams.


    * Not only did the Rams allow Falcons kicker Jay Feely to recover his own
    onside kick in the first quarter, but then Martz squandered a timeout with a
    no-chance replay appeal. Nice.


    * Falcons defensive end Brady Smith walked around Pace as if he were a pylon,
    stripped the ball from Bulger's hand in the end zone and then grabbed it for a
    touchdown himself. That was NOT a Pro Bowl moment.

    Martz wanted to appeal the play, but the officials reminded him that the ball
    never hit the ground so there was nothing to appeal.


    * Bulger threw a strike to Falcons cornerback Aaron Beasley with 10 minutes
    36 seconds left to kill what little hope the Rams had.


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Gordo--Good, Bad, Ugly

    * The Rams defense seemed to have receiver Peerless Price corralled for a
    massive loss in the second quarter, but he reversed his field on an end-around
    run and gained nine yards. That kept the Falcons rolling toward their second
    touchdown.
    This was very embarrassing. Should have been a huge loss, and in the Ugly column.



    * Bulger got away with a huge mistake when his touchdown pass to Falcons
    linebacker Matt Stewart was negated by a defensive holding penalty that didn't
    affect the play. Whew!
    Yeah, the decision was bad. But the penalty was good. So shouldn't this be in the good column?



    * Here was another inexplicable penalty: Jackson got flagged for taunting
    after a kickoff return, moving the Rams back to their 10 after the Falcons took
    a 24-17 lead.
    This was inexcusable. I know rookies will make mistakes, but don't pull this kind of crap. Be the bigger man.



    * Not only did the Rams allow Falcons kicker Jay Feely to recover his own
    onside kick in the first quarter, but then Martz squandered a timeout with a
    no-chance replay appeal. Nice.
    It seems to me Martz probably challenged not to try and overturn the play, but to give his defense more time to rest as well as try and calm the momentum that the Falcons gained. I wouldn't call this ugly at all, if that's the intent.
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    Re: Gordo--Good, Bad, Ugly

    You know, momma said there would be days like this. We can analyze this forever, but reading Gordon's GB&U post just goes to show you that some days, all the planets lineup against you. Remember last year when we tore the Vikings a new one in the ED, or how about '01 in the playoffs when we shredded the Packers? We weren't that much better than either of those teams, but somedays you're the windshield, somedays the bug. Today we were the bug. Next week we'll be the windshield.

    We learn and move on. If we continue to make the same mistakes, then we can start rounding up the villagers, grabbing the pitchforks and lighting the torches.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Gordo--Good, Bad, Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    It seems to me Martz probably challenged not to try and overturn the play, but to give his defense more time to rest as well as try and calm the momentum that the Falcons gained.
    Nice try. sMartz ought to hire you as his publicist.

  5. #5
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    Re: Gordo--Good, Bad, Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by adarian_too
    Nice try. sMartz ought to hire you as his publicist.
    John Fox has admitted to using challenges in that way. So after the challenge occurred, it seemed obvious to me he wasn't going to win the challenge, therefore I could only conclude that there was some alternate motive behind it. According to Martz himself, there wasn't. So I was wrong. I'm beginning to wonder who's talking to Martz from the booth, and if he's even listening.
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