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Johnson redeems himself 99 times--Holt questionable
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
No, Chris Johnson acknowledged, he had never heard of Tony Horne. So, he was informed that Horne was the most recent Rams player to take a kickoff to the end zone ... until, that is, Johnson raced 99 yards with the opening boot Sunday.
"Oh, OK," Johnson said. "Each week I'm finding out different stuff."
Horne dashed 103 yards against Atlanta on Oct. 15, 2000, at the Edward Jones Dome. The last time the Rams scored on the opening kickoff was Oct. 29, 1990, when Gaston Green went 99 yards at Pittsburgh.
Johnson, 26, appears to have solved a problem area for the Rams, whose 19.1-yard average per kick return last year tied for last in the NFL. The week before, Johnson hauled back kicks 48 and 39 yards against the New York Giants. He's averaging 24.9 yards on 21 returns; the Rams' team average - 24.7 yards - ranks eighth in the league.
"I feel real good," said Johnson, who also has seen significant time at cornerback. "I'm just blessed that the Rams believed I could still play."
Johnson, 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, was a seventh-round draft pick by Green Bay in 2003, but knee and leg injuries kept him on the sidelines for two years. Intrigued by Johnson's speed - he ran a blazing 4.18-second 40 at his pro day at Louisville - the Rams acquired him Sept. 3 for linebacker Robert Thomas, a former first-round choice.
Johnson made his NFL regular-season debut Sept. 11 in the opener at San Francisco. It didn't start quite the way he had envisioned.
Standing on the Monster Park turf, awaiting the initial kickoff of the season, Johnson nearly was overcome with emotion. "When I got out there, I was like, 'I finally made it,'" he said. A few seconds later, euphoria turned to embarrassment.
An indecisive Johnson unwisely scooped up the ball, which was bouncing toward the end zone along the right sideline, and his momentum carried him out of bounds at the 1-yard line. So, the Rams started their first possession 99 yards from the end zone.
Johnson returned those 99 yards Sunday. "It was just a great feeling," he said.
Rams' road woes
The Rams, who play at unbeaten Indianapolis on Monday night, have lost eight of their past 11 regular-season road games. In six of those setbacks, the Rams found themselves trying to claw their way out of an early hole.
"When you're on the road, you've got to weather those storms," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "Every (opponent) is going to be good ... and it's up to the offense to keep scoring and keep the game close."
This season, the Rams trailed 21-9 at the half at San Francisco (the ***** won 28-25) and 27-7 in the second quarter at New York (the Giants won 44-24).
Wide receiver Isaac Bruce (toe), who has missed the past two games, was listed as doubtful Wednesday on the first injury report of the week. Wide receiver Torry Holt (knee), cornerback DeJuan Groce (hamstring) and tackle Rex Tucker (calf) were questionable, and defensive end Leonard Little (back) and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna (knee) were probable. ... Among the Colts' probable starters, fullback James Mungro (knee) was questionable and linebacker David Thornton (groin) probable. ... The Rams' first practice since Sunday's 37-31 loss to Seattle is this afternoon, with interim head coach Joe Vitt in charge.
Re: Johnson redeems himself 99 times--Holt questionable
Holt 'questionable'? :football: Groce 'questionable'?
I hope their condition will be uggraded to probable instead.
Re: Johnson redeems himself 99 times--Holt questionableOriginally Posted by RealRam
Re: Johnson redeems himself 99 times--Holt questionableHorne dashed 103 yards against Atlanta on Oct. 15, 2000, at the Edward Jones Dome. The last time the Rams scored on the opening kickoff was Oct. 29, 1990, when Gaston Green went 99 yards at Pittsburgh.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]