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Thread: Numbers don't look good, but ...
Numbers don't look good, but ...
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Monday, Jan. 03 2005
A weary but content Jimmy Kennedy sat slumped in his corner of the Rams locker
room Sunday, pondering the past and relishing the future.
"It's definitely been a strange season," said Kennedy, a first-team defensive
tackle. "To go through what we went through and to finish out as a playoff
team, that's a blessing. Just imagine if we'd go out there and win the Super
Bowl, a team that finishes 8-8, goes in as a wild card and wins it."
The Rams are about as improbable a Super Bowl contender as possible. They were
outscored by 73 points; were blasted by Miami (31-14) and Arizona (31-7), who
combined for 10 wins; finished a distant last in the 32-team league in turnover
margin (minus 24); were near the bottom of the statistics standings in most
special-teams categories; struggled mightily on defense for most of the season
And yet here they are, on the heels of back-to-back wins over Philadelphia and
the New York Jets, headed to Seattle to square off Saturday afternoon against
the NFC West-champion Seahawks (9-7). Strange, indeed.
"Record doesn't matter at this point, when you get in," coach Mike Martz said.
"It's just who's playing well now, not how you were playing in September or
November or whether you're 15-1. It's how you're playing right now ... right
now. That's what's important."
The Rams actually have a few factors in their favor as they head into their
fourth playoff foray in Martz's five seasons as head coach:
They swept the two-game regular-season series with the
Seahawks, rallying for a 33-27 overtime victory at Seattle on Oct. 10, then
cruising to a 23-12 victory Nov. 14 at the Edward Jones Dome.
They have a 3-2 record against the other NFC playoff
teams and a 4-3 mark against the postseason field overall.
They're playing considerably better defense over the past five
weeks, and by knocking off two teams with double-digit victory
totals to complete the schedule, have added confidence and built momentum.
"I think that we were a little bit unsure of ourselves for a while,
particularly with a new defense and trying to do some different things
offensively," Martz said. "At this point, we're kind of where I'd hoped that we
would be by midseason. There were a lot of factors ... all the things that
happened throughout the season have kind of settled down to an extent.
"I think this team is beginning to mature. I think they've attained a great
deal of confidence, and I'm excited about what lays ahead."
Of the several bumps and bruises suffered by Rams players Sunday in the 32-29
overtime win against the Jets, the most serious injury appeared to be guard Tom
Nutten's sprained left knee. Nutten was limping Monday, but he was more
optimistic than he was Sunday evening.
"I think half the pile came down on the outside of my knee, and right away I
knew that was it for the day," said Nutten, who went down late in the third
quarter. "I woke up (Monday) morning, and considering how it felt yesterday, it
was feeling pretty good."
Nutten, who was scheduled for an MRI later Monday, added, "Hopefully by
Wednesday or Thursday, it's bearable, where I can get some stuff done. Who
Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this
Re: Numbers don't look good, but ...
I'm telling you...on any given Sunday (or Saturday) we can beat anybody. We have a shot at this thing!