KC keeps Governor's Cup with rout of Rams
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Tuesday, Aug. 24 2004

KANSAS CITY - Quarterback Marc Bulger looked skittish and out of sync in the
pocket. The Rams' defense forgot to pack its pass rush; it remained in storage
Monday somewhere at Rams Park.

Even with Kansas City's second-team offensive line in the game, the Chiefs
played road-grader on the Rams' defensive front seven. If that weren't enough,
starting cornerback Travis Fisher appears to be out for the season with a
fractured right forearm he suffered in the first quarter.

Other than that, things went absolutely peachy for the Rams in a 24-7 loss to
Kansas City in the Governor's Cup game at Arrowhead Stadium. Sure it was the
preseason. But based on what took place in the first half - when the regulars
for both teams were on the field - the Rams should be charged with two losses.
It was that bad.

"The bottom line is we didn't do our job tonight," Bulger said. "I didn't do my
job and I'm not going to make any excuses. Preseason or not, to lose like that.
... I guess it was a little embarrassing."

Well, more than a little.

"All I can think about is how bad a performance we had, especially our first
defense and the guys who play early," defensive captain Tyoka Jackson said.
"That's not good enough. It's simply not good enough."

The Chiefs went 76 yards on their first possession for a touchdown. They
marched 55 yards on their third possession for another TD. By the time the Rams
even crossed midfield, Kansas City had a 17-0 lead.

And even that venture in Chiefs territory turned out sour. Because on a
second-and-10 play from the Chiefs 40, a Bulger pass intended for Arlen Harris
against a blitzing KC defense was intercepted by linebacker Shawn Barber.
Barber returned the ball 60 yards for a TD, giving the Chiefs a 24-0 lead with
1 minute 8 seconds to play in the first half.

Outgained 200 yards to 68 in the first half, the Rams would have boarded a
plane and returned to St. Louis right then if allowed. Unfortunately for the
Rams, that wasn't an option.

"I did a very poor job getting this football team ready to play," coach Mike
Martz said. "This is my fault as a head coach. We came out here and flopped
around and acted like we didn't know where we were.

"And that's a coaching issue. Always is. Always will be. You can blame the
players, but that's my responsibility. That won't happen again. We'll make sure
these guys are ready to play."

Even when things appeared to go right, they went bad for Rams, now 0-2 this
preseason and losers of nine of their past 10 exhibition games. Late in the
second quarter, for example, Kevin Aldridge and Jackson combined for a sack of
Chiefs backup quarterback Todd Collins on third down. But Jackson was called
for roughing the passer - for a helmet to helmet hit. After the first down by
penalty, Kansas City kicked a field goal for a 17-0 lead. It was that kind of
night.

The frustration level for the Rams was never more obvious than on the last play
from scrimmage in the first half. A third-and-24 attempt over the middle by
Bulger sailed out of the reach of wide receiver Torry Holt and fell incomplete.
Isaac Bruce was in the vicinity, and he reacted by kicking the ball downfield -
almost hitting back judge Keith Ferguson.

Not even the preseason debut of Marshall Faulk helped Monday. Faulk played the
first three series of the night before giving way to rookie Steven Jackson.

"Give credit to the Chiefs," Martz said. "That's a fine football team. They're
in top form right now. We're not there, by any stretch of the imagination.
We're a long ways from where we need to be to start this season, but we'll get
there."

Playing the entire first half, Bulger was eight for 15 for 67 yards, finishing
with a passer rating of just 37.4. He was sacked three times.

The Rams started a patchwork offensive line that included a gimpy Grant
Williams (ankle) at left tackle, an overweight Chris Dishman at left guard, and
an untested Scott Tercero (prior NFL experience: 1 preseason game) at right
tackle. Franchise tackle Orlando Pace remains AWOL in a contract impasse. And
right tackle Kyle Turley remains sidelined with a bad back.

On Monday, the blocking at the point of attack didn't appear all that bad, but
the Rams couldn't handle the Kansas City blitz in the first half. In his second
tour of duty as Chiefs defensive coordinator, Gunther Cunningham blitzed early
and often, and the Rams couldn't handle it.