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    Gordon: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


    Quick-strike Rams drop Seahawks

    By Jeff Gordon
    Online Sports Columnist
    10/10/2004

    Now THAT was fast and furious football.

    The Rams scored 17 points during a breathtaking span of 5 minutes 34 seconds in the fourth quarter – rallying from a 27-10 deficit to force the stunned Seahawks into overtime.

    Then they won the coin toss, took the opening kick-off and marched right back into Seattle territory.

    And in one of the great plays in franchise history, Marc Bulger lofted a 52-yard touchdown strike to Shaun McDonald give the Rams a thrilling 33-27 victory.

    The Seahawks blitzed on third down, the Rams picked up the extra pass rushers, Bulger knew he had his receivers singled up . . . and he led the streaking McDonald perfectly for the winning score.

    Wow.

    Bulger shook off three earlier interceptions to lead the frantic comeback. Bulger's spectacular touchdown passes to Brandon Manumaleuna and Kevin Curtis brought the Rams back from the dead.

    The two halves were dramatically different. In the first and second quarters, the Seahawks ran running back Shaun Alexander right through the middle of the battered Rams defense.

    That ground success allowed Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to execute a diversified passing attack, spreading the ball around to all this targets.

    And the Rams offense? It sputtered through the first 30 minutes of action.

    The Seahawks failed to finish off the Rams in the third quarter, however, then Mike Martz finally got his offense on track in the fourth quarter.

    Now 3-2, the Rams moved back within arm's reach of the 3-1 Seahawks for the NFC West lead.

    That makes up for that painful home-field loss to the New Orleans Saints, eh?


    THE GOOD

    * After failing miserably the first time on the field, the Rams defense earned a three-and-out stop on its second chance.


    * It took a 48-yard burst off right tackle by rookie running back Steven Jackson to arouse the Rams offense. (Their first quarter yardage total was 11 yards. Yikes!)


    * Jackson's big run set up Bulger's nine-yard touchdown sprint, on a well-executed bootleg play that cut Seattle's lead to 10-7.


    * The Rams opened up the second half with a strong running sequence, but failed to make a dent in Seattle's 24-7 lead.


    * The Rams' offensive highlight was a difficult touchdown catch in traffic by Manumaleuna. He out-leaped three Seahawks defenders to snag the jump ball.


    * Hey, the Rams got a big special teams play? McDonald broke off a 39-yard punt return to set up the Rams on Seattle's 41-yard line.


    * That led to Bulger's 41-yard touchdown bomb to Curtis on the next play with 3 minutes, 30 seconds left.


    * Defensive end Leonard Little gave the offense one more crack by sacking Hasselbeck with 85 seconds left on a third-down play. He also stripped the ball loose, but the Seahawks were able to cover it.


    * Bulger brought the Rams back one last time, completing a 27-yard pass to Isaac Bruce and a 16-yarder to Dane Looker to move them into field goal range. And Jeff Wilkins forced overtime with his 36-yard field goal.


    THE BAD

    * How did the Rams' offense respond to the first Seahawks touchdown? By taking a powder with a three-and-out sequence. On third down, two different Rams were flagged for penalties on an incomplete pass. Nice.


    * Cornerback DeJuan Groce blew an open-field tackle on receiver Koren Robinson in the first quarter as the Seahawks marched toward their second score.


    * With the Seahawks facing a third-and-11 situation in the first half, the middle of the Rams defense allowed fullback Mack Strong to plow forward for the first down. That helped Seattle extend its lead to 10-0.


    * After the Rams scored their first touchdown, their defense got spliced by another Seahawks scoring drive. At the end, safety Rich Coady couldn't locate Hasselbeck's 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jerramy Stevens.


    THE UGLY

    * The Seahawks spent two weeks developing their play script for this game. And it worked perfectly as they marched 74 yards in 10 plays to take a quick 7-0 lead in this game.

    Running to set up the pass – and passing effectively to facilitate the run – Seattle waltzed through the Rams defense.


    * Bulger hung a throw toward Torry Holt in the end zone and got picked off by Ken Lucas.


    * Bulger located Lucas again in the second quarter, badly overthrowing Bruce while throwing his second interception of the game.


    * The Seahawks were just trying to run out the clock at the end of the first half. But then Alexander broke off a 21-yard run to change the scenario and receiver Darrell Jackson ran free on a 56-yard touchdown pass.

    What coverage where the Rams attempting to play on that bomb? Jackson blew past Coady, who stayed put, and was all by himself.

    That put the Rams into a 24-7 hole at halftime. Ugh.


    * On the Seahawks first offensive play of the second half, Alexander broke off a 41-yard run. Double ugh.
    Last edited by evil disco man; -10-10-2004 at 11:35 PM.


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