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  1. #1
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    Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Rams Recap: Makeshift line and Chandler hold up well
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    08/11/2004

    As dress rehearsals go, Thursday night's exhibition with the Chicago Bears was fairly productive.

    The Rams got plenty done during their 13-10 preseason overtime loss to the penalty-prone Bears at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Youngsters Andy King and Scott Tercero got to take their bows with the first-team offense during the pre-game introductions. Then they held up admirably at left guard and right tackle, respectively, despite their inexperience.

    The makeshift offensive line allowed only one sack, on a linebacker blitz, until well into the third quarter. Under the circumstances, that is not bad.

    The front defensive seven had an excellent surge for most of the game, despite the constant rotation of personnel. Captain Tyoka Jackson spent a great deal of time in the Bears backfield.

    Back-up quarterback Chris Chandler didn't always look sharp up at Macomb, Ill. -- but he was most impressive during his first Rams game in a long, long time. He looked surprisingly nimble in the pocket during his first-half appearance and made accurate throws all over the field.

    Here is what else caught our eyes:


    THE GOOD

    * With the Bears in scoring position, we loved the way cornerback Kevin Garrett smothered receiver Marty Booker on a corner route into the end zone. That Rex Grossman pass landed harmlessly out of bounds.

    * Rams quarterback Marc Bulger appeared to be in midseason form when he found receiver Isaac Bruce for 19- and 24-yard passes on back-to-back plays. He also threw a nice third-down strike to receiver Dane Looker, good for 13 yards along the right sideline and a first down.

    * On their first defensive sequence, the Rams applied decent pass pressure but didn't get results. But on the first play on of the second sequence, veteran Jackson burst in and dumped Jonathan Quinn.

    * The assault continued with defensive ends Leonard Little and Bryce Fisher arriving simultaneously to sack Quinn.

    * Receiver Shaun McDonald reminded us why the Rams liked him so much last summer; he snagged a Chandler pass while slicing right to left through the Bears secondary. He turned on his jets and turned that into a 40-yard gain.

    * Chandler showed his veteran poise to throw his first Rams touchdown pass in some time. He looked left and found nothing, then rolled back right and flipped a pass to fullback Joey Goodspeed -- who released into the right flat for a 13-yard TD reception.

    That capped an impressive 86-yard scoring drive engineered by Chandler. Maybe he does have a little bit left in that 900-year-old body.

    * Nice pass, nice catch -- rookie quarterback Jeff Smoker gunned a nice throw down the middle to tight end Mike Brake.

    * Defensive end candidate Erik Flowers turned some coaching heads by sacking Quinn early in the third quarter. (He added another sack in the fourth quarter, just before the two-minute warning.)

    * Rookie running back Steven Jackson got ample work in relief of starter Arlen Harris, carrying 15 times for 73 yards. (Marshall Faulk spent the game encased in bubble wrap.) Jackson broke an 18-yard gain through the line that nearly went for much more. He ran inside and outside with authority.

    * The highlight of the game was McDonald's zig-zagging touchdown punt return . . . which was called back due to an illegal block by Dusty McGorty. But what a dazzling effort!

    * Smoker fired a 20-yard pass to Kevin Curtis on one third-down play, then completed a pinpoint pass to Looker to move the Rams into scoring position. Unfortunately, Looker then coughed up a fumble . . . and there went the chance to surge ahead.


    THE BAD

    * The eager Rams defense got caught over-pursuing a Thomas Jones sweep during the game's first drive. As a result, Jones reversed his field and picked up 26 yards on a third-and-one play. That big play led to a field goal and a quick 3-0 Chicago lead.

    * The Rams reached the red zone on their first possession, but fell prey to a Bears blitz on a third-and-goal play at the Chicago 4. Bears middle linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer walked through the middle of the line and dumped Bulger, forcing the Rams to settle for a game-tying field goal.

    * The Rams defense didn't need to lose linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa to a sprained ankle early in this preseason game.

    * That over-pursuit cost the Rams, as receiver Bobby Wade gained 25 yards on an end-around play.

    * Linebacker Trev Faulk got flagged for holding on a punt return, a mistake that pinned the Rams back on their 14-yard line.

    * In the final minute of the first half, fill-in left tackle Grant Williams got busted for holding -- wiping out a big play and compromising his team's chance of scoring one more first-half touchdown.

    * Chandler's one interception came when receiver Kevin Curtis let cornerback Eric Kelly wrestle the ball away from him.

    * The Rams didn't exactly defend the "Hail Mary" pass at the end of regulation play. Jamin Elliott got his hands on the ball in the end zone after time ran out, but he couldn't reel it in. Bat the ball down, fellas!


    THE UGLY

    * Smoker took a quick drop to his own goal line with 49 seconds left in regulation play and fired the ball out to the right flat – right to Bears linebacker Joe Odom. Alas, Odom dropped the gift or else he would have walked into the end zone with the game-winning score.

    * The game was marred by 31 penalties -- 19 by the Bears for a total of 160 yards. Yikes!

    * Somewhere, Bobby April flinched. The Bears won the overtime coin toss, then Ahmad Merritt rambled 87 yards with the kickoff to set up Chicago's game-winning field goal.

    So new Rams special teams coach Mike Stock will go back to the drawing board . . .


  2. #2
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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Nice to see the the front D appling pressure.....maybe Flowers might pull through, did Hargrove play???

    It's early but I'm excited about Macdonald, Curtis and Jackson, like to see what the young man can do behind Pace or Turley ( nice to see him turn up for the game )......

    heh guys it's great to read about some footie :redface:

    steve :ramlogo:

  3. #3
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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    * With the Bears in scoring position, we loved the way cornerback Kevin Garrett smothered receiver Marty Booker on a corner route into the end zone. That Rex Grossman pass landed harmlessly out of bounds.

    I'm telling you, Garrett is going to come up big this year at key spots.

  4. #4
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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Overall I think there were some positives about last nights game.One is that we have a decent back-up QB in Chandler.Another is McDonald.If this kid stays healthy,dare I say that we have possibly found a replacement for Az Hakim???Our run defense still needs work,but I think we knew that our Run D is gonna be a work in progress.And I have to wonder if the young punter can beat out the old punter???The kid was constantly pinning the Bears back deep in their own territory.What is that young punters name by the way????All in all I'm just glad that football has finally begun!

    Oh yeah!!And It looks like Jackson is the real deal!!!
    ST.LOUIS RAMS:THE MOST FRUSTRATING TEAM IN THE NFL!!!

  5. #5
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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Quote Originally Posted by Aries51
    What is that young punters name by the way????
    Jesse Nicassio.

  6. #6
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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Thanks Jake!!!For the life of me,I couldnt remember his name this morning.
    ST.LOUIS RAMS:THE MOST FRUSTRATING TEAM IN THE NFL!!!

  7. #7
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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Disco Man
    Jesse Nicassio.
    How ironic. Two weeks ago, didn't we cut this guy for 2 or 3 hours? Now he's pushing Landetta. You gotta love preseason.
    * Linebacker Trev Faulk got flagged for holding on a punt return, a mistake that pinned the Rams back on their 14-yard line.
    which was called back due to an illegal block by Dusty McGorty.
    fill-in left tackle Grant Williams got busted for holding
    Smoker took a quick drop to his own goal line with 49 seconds left in regulation play and fired the ball out to the right flat – right to Bears linebacker Joe Odom.
    All of these are rookie and/or preseason mistakes that can be worked out. I'm excited. I think these guys are going to make some noise. Let's get to the season.
    Youngsters Andy King and Scott Tercero got to take their bows with the first-team offense during the pre-game introductions. Then they held up admirably at left guard and right tackle, respectively, despite their inexperience.
    The best news of the night, IMO.
    "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

  8. #8
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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    All of these are rookie and/or preseason mistakes that can be worked out. I'm excited. I think these guys are going to make some noise. Let's get to the season.
    Not to mention Dwight Anderson's illegal contact on 3rd and 27 and his block in the back on McDonald's punt return.

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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Is there a punter controversy? Can we magnify it into more than it is? Is it better to punt for distance or accuracy? Do we need experience or a combination of placement, distance, and high time?

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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Do either of them spend time after practices and games signing autographs? You know, this causes a disruption in the team. Any religeous differences? Never mind, we don't even want to go there...

    I heard they need a kicker in NY...
    This space for rent...

  11. #11
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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    I am, without a doubt, a Landettarian.

  12. #12
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    Re: Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    I am, without a doubt, a Landettarian.
    On behalf of Nicassiolians world-wide, I'm offended. :tongue:
    "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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