PaRam put together an awsome list that brought a tear to my eye. WOW, what a special season. That PRFan!! Hope you don't mind me sharing it with other fans.
Revisiting our greatest season.
Baltimore at St. Louis
With just 11 career passes to his credit, Kurt Warner passed for 316 yards and 3 TD's to lead the Rams to a 27-10 victory. A 35 yard punt return by Hakim set up Wilkins 36 yard FG in the 1st quarter for a 3-0 lead. Warner's performance varied in the first half, completing 2 of the Rams last 4 possessions of the half with TD passes, and finishing the other two with interceptions, one of which led to Stover's 25 yd FG and the Ravens only points. Scott Mitchell completed 5 of 7 passes on a late third quarter drive capped by a 28 yard TD pass to rookie Brandon Stokley to make it a 17-10 game. On the ensuing Rams possession early in the fourth quarter, Deron Jenkin's sack forced Warner to fumble and Fernando Smith recovered for Baltimore on the Rams 30. However, the Ravens lost 6 yards on the next three plays and Stover's 54 yard FG attempt sailed wide right. The Rams scored on their next two possessions, capped by rookie Tory Holt's 19 yard TD reception with 2:40 remaining. Warner was 28 of 44 for 316 yards and 3 TD's (6y to Williams, 2 y to Bruce and 19 y to Holt)and 2 Int's.
Atlanta (0-2) at St. Louis (1-0)
Kurt Warner passed for 3 TD's and ran for another as the Rams won 35-7. The Rams scored on their first 4 possessions, on drives of 80, 78, 46 and 80 yards to take a 28-0 lead at the half. The Falcons lone drive inside the Rams 40, on their first possession of the second half led to a TD. Warner's 5 yard run on the ensuing drive finished the scoring. The Rams outgained the Falcons 442-233. Warner was 17 of 25 for 275 yards and 3 TD's (38y Holt, 46 y Bruce, 17y Faulk). Marshall Faulk rushed 17 times for 105 yards.
St. Louis (2-0) at Cincinnati (0-3)
Az-Zahir Hakim scored 4 touchdowns as the Rams remained undefeated. Cincinnati took a 3-0 lead on Doug Pelfrey's 26 yd. FG on the Bengals first drive. The Rams then put together drives of 76, 91, and 61 yards, twice capped by Warner TD passes to Hakim and the other a 1 yard run by Robert Holcombe. Hakim's 84 yard punt return two minutes into the second half, in which he weaved and hurdled players preceeded his 18 yard touchdown reception late in the quarter that put the Rams up 35-3. Wilkins kicked a 19 yard FG and Akili Smith threw a fourth quarter touchdown pass to finish the scoring. Warner was 17 of 21 for 310 yards and 3 TD's. Issac Bruce had 6 catches for 152 yards.
SF 49er's (3-0) at St. Louis (3-0)
Issac Bruce caught 4 of Kurt Warner's 5 touchdown passes as the Rams snapped a 17 game losing streak to the 49er's. Bruce capped each of the Rams' first three drives, covering 83, 64 and 45 yards with TD receptions to give the Rams a 21-3 lead with 1:12 left in the 1st quarter. The 49er's cut the deficit to 28-17 at the half on Junior Bryant's recovery of a Warner fumble in the end zone. Wade Richey's 43 yard FG late in the third pulled SF to within 8 points, but Tony Horne returned the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, and Warner hooked up with Bruce for the fourth time on the next drive to pull away in a 42-20 Rams win. Warner was 20 of 23 for 323 yards and 5 TD's( 13y, 5y, 45y, 42y Bruce, 22y Robinson). Bruce had 5 receptions for 134 yards and 4 TD's.
St. Louis (4-0) at Atlanta (1-4)
Marshall Faulk rushed for 181 yards and a TD and the Rams scored on defense and special teams to remain undefeated at 5-0. St. Louis drove 76 (4y TD pass to Bruce) and 60 yards (6y run by Marshall) on their first two drives for a 14-0 lead. Chris Chandler 13 yard TD pass to Bob Christian made it 14-7 but Tony Horne again turned the tide by returning the kickoff 101 yards for a score. The Falcon's drove to the Rams 9 late in the half only to see Grant Wistrom snare a pass and outrunning everyone to the end zone for a 28-7 lead. Morton Anderson kicked a 20 yard FG to make it 28-10 at the half. Kevin Carter's fumble recovery and Billy Jenkin's interception led to Jeff Wilkins' FG's of 22 and 49 yards. Then Marshall Faulk's 49 yard run set up Holcombe's 1 yd TD run early in the 4th and the Ram's won easily 41-13. Warner was 13 of 20 for 111 yards and a TD (4y Bruce).
St. Louis (5-0) at Cleveland (0-6)
Kurt Warner had 3 TD passes and the Rams remained the NFL's lone unbeaten team (6-0) with a win over the Browns. St.Louis took a 14-0 lead before Cleveland ran a play, on a 1 yard TD pass to Roland Williams and Charlie Clemon's recovery of Ronnie Powell's fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Warner then hit Bruce with a 4 yard TD pass. The Browns scored on their first possession but the Rams responded with an 8 play 69 yard drive culminating with Warner's second 1 yard TD pass to Williams for a 21-3 lead with almost 11 minutes left in the half. The Browns drove to the St. Louis 4 but Todd Lyght's interception ended the threat and the Browns didn't get inside the Ram's 30 again. The Rams sandwiched a 33 yard TD run by Marshall Faulk with 2 Jeff Wilkins field goals in the second halt to win 34-3. Warner was 23 of 29 for 203 yards and 3 TD's. Faulk had 16 carries for 133 yards with a TD and 9 receptions for 67 yards.
St. Louis (6-0) at Tennessee (5-1)
In what proved to be the Superbowl Preview of 99, Jeff Wilkins missed a 38 yard FG with 7 seconds left as the Titan's won 24-21. The Titan's and Rams were now both 6-1. McNair, six weeks after back surgery, passed for 2 TD's and ran for another in the first quarter to give the Titan's a 21-0 lead. Tennessee drove 80 yards on their first drive ending with a 4 yard TD pass to FB Lorenzo Neal. After an exchange of punts, Joe Bowden sacked Warner and forced a fumble that Barron Wortham recovered and returned 8 yards to the Ram 15. McNair hit Eddie George with a pass that went 17 yards for a score. Two plays later Wortham recovered another Warner fumble at the Rams 26 and McNair went 10 yards up the middle two plays later for the 21-0 lead that didn't change until after halftime. Two plays into the second half Warner hit Faulk for a 57 yard TD pass to start the rally and found Bruce for 3 yard TD on the next possession. Al Del Greco kicked a 27 FG before Warner hit 5 different receivers on an 11 play 80 yard drive that ended with a 15 yard pass to Amp Lee with 2:14 left. Lorenzo Styles recovered Wilkins onside kick and Warner's 15 yard pass to Hakim at the Titans 29 set up Wilkins 38 yard FG attempt that failed. Warner was 29 of 46 for 328 yards and 3 TD's (57y Faulk, 3y Bruce, 15y Lee).
St. Louis (6-1) at Detroit (5-2)
The Rams dropped their second straight game in a seesaw battle with the Lions. The Rams led 12-10 at the half on the strength of a London Fletcher safety (tackling RB Greg Hill in the endzone), a 6 yard TD pass from Warner to Robinson and a 34 yard FG by Wilkins. In the third quarter, Terry Fairís 6 yard interception return to the Rams 12 set up Corey Schlesingerís 3 yard TD pass from Gus Frerotte, who replace an injured Charlie Batch early in the quarter. A 33 yard pass from Frerotte to Germane Crowell set up Jason Hansonís second FG to give the Lions a 21-12 lead. Kurt Warnerís 75 yard TD pass to Hakim cut the deficit to 2 but Frerotte hit Sedrick Irvin for 31 yards to set up another Hanson FG with 6:10 left. Warner then engineered an 8 play 87 yard drive capped by a 2 yard TD pass to tackle eligible Ryan Tucker and two point conversion to Issac Bruce giving St. Louis a 27-24 lead with 2:42 remaining. Sacks by Kevin Carter and DíMarco Farr forced the Lions into a 4th and 26 situation from their own 21. Frerotte hit Germane Crowell down the sideline for 57 yards to the Rams 22. An interference penalty on Dexter McCleon three plays later gave Detroit a first down at the 12, and Frerotte found Johnny Morton for the winning TD pass with 28 seconds left. Warner was 25 of 42 for 305 yards with 3 TDís (6y Robinson, 75y Hakim, 2y Tucker) and 2 Intís. Faulk had 10 receptions for 78 yards.
After a 6-0 start we ďslumpedĒ to 6-2 at the halfway point (remember when that was downhill?). We still hadnít beaten a team with a winning record except for the niners, which would be the complaint of non-believers all season, but we ďplayedĒ teams with winning records and knew we could beat them. That would go a long way once the postseason came along.
Carolina (3-5) at St. Louis (6-2)
Carolina scored on their first possession on a 14 yard TD pass from Steve Beuerlein to Wesley Walls, but the Rams used a 53 yard pass to Faulk from Warner to set up a 22 yard TD pass to Bruce. After Todd Lyghtís 57 yard interception for a TD, the defense forced a Carolina punt and St. Louis drove the ball 80 yards culminating with a 19 yard TD pass to Roland Williams for a 21-7 lead. John Kasay kicked a 24 yard FG before the half but the Rams defense shut out the Panthers the rest of the way, thanks to a Mike Jones 35 yard fumble return for a TD early in the third. Carolina drove twice into Rams territory the rest of the way but were stopped on downs and a Dre Bly interception at the Rams 9. Warner was 19 of 29 for 263 yards 2 TDís (22y Bruce, 19y Williams) and an Int.
St.Louis (7-2) at SF 49erís (3-6)
Marshall Faulk rushed for 126 yards and the Rams defense forced 5 turnovers to sweep the 49erís for the first time since 1980. After a Jeff Wilkins 40 yard FG, SF took a 7-3 lead on the strength of a Fred Beasley 1 yard TD run, but Warner connected with Issac Bruce on a 5 yard TD pass and Wilkins kicked a 20 yard FG for a 13-7 lead at the half. Three plays into the 2nd half Mike Jones intercepted a pass and returned it 44 yards for a TD and Wilkins added a 49 yard FG later in the quarter to finish the scoring. The Rams defense forced 3 turnovers in the final 16 minutes to preserve the victory. Warner was 22 of 40 for 201 yards with a TD (4y Bruce) and Int.
N.Orleans (2-8 ) at St. Louis (8-2)
Marshall Faulk had 102 yards rushing and 2 TDís as the Rams won their 3rd straight game. Tony Horneís 64 yard return of the opening kickoff set up Warnerís 25 yard TD pass to Tory Holt three plays into the game. The Saints played tough and put together first half drives of 31, 50, 53 and 48 yards all resulting in Doug Brien FGís. St. Louis was limited to 6 first downs in the half, but Faulkís 1 yard scoring run, set up by a 35 yard pass interference penalty, gave the Rams a 15-12 lead at the half, when Faulk ran it in for the two point conversion. The Saints drove 68 yards to open the second half but Briens 24 yard FG attempt hit the left upright. The Rams needed just 7 plays to drive 80 yards, capped by Faulkís 6 yard TD run, his second of the game. Scoring on all four of their second half drives on Faulkís run, a 3 yard Robert Holcombe run, a 20 yard TD pass to Holt and James Hodgins 1 yd plunge, the Rams won 43-12 to go to 9-2. Warner was 15 of 27 for 213 yards and 2 TDís (25y, 20y Holt)
St. Louis (9-2) at Carolina (5-6)
Kurt Warner passed for 351 yards with 3 TDís and the Rams fought off a late rally to defeat the Panthers. Az-Zahir Hakim caught two TD passes (48, 49 yards) and Roland Williams another (14 yards) in the first half to give St. Louis a 21-0 lead. It could have been more had it not been for Mike Minterís interception in the end zone to end another drive. Carolina drove 70 before the half for a 15 yard TD pass from Beuerlein to Wesley Walls and caught a break in the third quarter when Mike Jones intercepted a pass, only to fumble allowing Chris Terry to recover. Five plays later Beuerlein hit Donald Hayes with a 36 yard pass for a TD to make it 21-14. Jeff Wilkins 44 yard FG on the first play of the fourth made it a 10 point lead but Beuerlein hit Patrick Jeffers with a 71 yard TD pass on the next play to pull within 3 points. The Rams drove to the Panther 33 on their next drive but Wilkins missed a 51 yard FG attempt. On Carolinaís ensuing drive Dre Bly intercepted a pass and took it 53 yards to the house to restore the 10 point lead with just under 10 minutes remaining. The Panthers failed to cross midfield the rest of the game and Wilkins added a 29 yard FG to make the final score 34-21 Rams. Warner was 22 of 31 for 351 yards with 3 TDís (14y Williams, 48y, 49y Hakim) and 2 Intís. Faulk had 22 carries for 118 yards. Hakim had 4 receptions for 122 yards and Isaac Bruce added 6 catches for 111.
St. Louis (10-2) at N.Orleans (2-10)
Marshall Faulk rushed for 154 yards and scored twice as the Rams continued to blow through opponents. N. Orleans scored first on a 29 yard FG by Doug Brien and the Rams answered with a 1 yard TD pass to Robert Holcombe. The Saints took a 14-7 lead on another Brien FG (26 y) and Wayne Martinís fumble recovery preceding a 2 yard TD pass to Cam Cleeland and 2 pt conversion to Eddie Kennison. The Rams scored on their next three possessions (40 y FG, a 4 yard run by Faulk and a 30 yard pass to Faulk) the last two set up by inteceptions by Todd Lyght and Dexter McCleon to take a 24-14 lead to the locker room. St. Louis drove inside the Saints 25 five times in the second half but Wilkins only converted 2 of 4 FG attempts and Fred Weary intercepted Warner on the other drive. The Rams defense permitted just 3 second half first downs and Taje Allenís pick deep in Rams territory sealed the 30-14 win. Warner was 21 of 31 for 346 yard with 2 TDís (1y Holcombe, 30y Faulk) and 1 Int. Holt had 6 receptions for 113 yards and Bruce added 4 for 102.
NY Giants (7-6) at St. Louis (11-2)
Kurt Warner passed for 319 yards and 2 TDís and the Rams defense returned two interceptions for scores as St. Louis clinched home field throughout the playoffs with 3 games left to play. The Rams took a 10-0 lead at the half on a 47 yard FG by Wilkins and a 3 yard TD pass to Hakim. Cary Blanchardís 23 yard FG to start the third quarter capped a 69 yard drive and the Giants forced a turnover later in the quarter. However Devin Bush intercepted a Collins pass returning it 45 yards for a TD and Warnerís second TD pass to Hakim (65 yards) gave the Rams a 24-3 lead. When Mike Jones returned another Collins pass 22 yards for a score midway through the fourth the party was on. Warner was 18 of 32 for 319 yards with 2 TDís (3y, 65y Hakim). The defense was opportunistic once again.
Chicago (6-8 ) at St. Louis (12-2)
The Rams started off slow. Wilkins missed a 48 yard FG and Sean Harris intercepted Warner in the end zone as the Rams failed to score on their first two drives. Their quick strike offense did, however, score on its last three possessions of the first half with drives of 82, 83 and 44 yards for a 48 yard TD pass to Faulk, a 2 yard TD pass to Williams and a 38 yard Wilkins FG. 17-0 Halftime. To open the second half the Rams drove 80 yards in 10 plays for a 4 yard TD pass to Bruce and Grant Wistromís interception and 40 yard return for a TD moments later made it 31 zip. The Rams scored 31 points in a 15:48 span. Wilkins kicked a 28 FG following two Bobby Engram TD receptions for a 34-12 win. Warner was 24 of 35 for 334 yards with 3 TDís (48y Faulk, 2y Williams, 4y Bruce) and 1 Int. Marshall had 12 receptions for 204 yards.
St. Louis (13-2) at Philadelphia (4-11)
The Eagles beat the Rams by 7 despite forcing 7 turnovers and playing most of the game against the St. Louis reserve players. It wasnít decided until Al Harris intercepted a Joe Germaine pass and returned it 17 yards for a TD with 1:16 left. Germaine did fire a 63 yard bomb to Holt for a TD on the next play but the Eagles recovered the onside kick to end it for a 38-31 Philly win.
Minnesota (11-6) at St. Louis (13-3)
Attendance 66,194 (and I wish I was one of them)
Kurt Warner passed for 391 yards and 5 TDís to put the Rams back in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since that debacle at SF in 1989. Gary Andersonís 31 yard FG on the games first possession opened the scoring but on the Rams first play Warner found Isaac Bruce on a post pattern for a 77 yard TD. It took the Rams 4 plays to score on their next drive capped by Marshall Faulkís 41 yard screen pass for a TD. The Viking drove 96 yards and a 22 yard TD pass from Jeff George to Chris Carter and when Robert Griffithís fumble recovery near midfield set up an eventual 4 yard scoring run by Leroy Hoard, the Vikings took a 17-14 lead into the locker room. Enter Tony Horne, whoís timely contributions all year were huge, to take back the second half kickoff 95 yards to put the Rams ahead for good. While the Vikings failed to get a first down on their next four possessions (3 punts and a fumble), the Rams scored TDís on four of their first five second half possessions (a 1 yard run by Faulk, a 13 yard TD reception by Robinson, a 1 yard catch by Ryan Tucker and a 2 yard reception by Roland Williams) to make the score 49-17 Rams with 8:13 remaining. In ďgarbage timeĒ George engineered drives of 75, 63 and 85 yards to make the score semi-respectable but it was never in doubt after Horneís race to the end zone. Warner was 27 of 33 for 391 yards, 5 TDís and 1 pick while completing passes to 10 different players. Bruce had 4 catches for 133 yards.
NFC Championship Game
Tampa Bay (12-5) at St. Louis (14-3)
This unforgettable game put the Rams in the Superbowl for the first time in 20 years. On the games first play Steve White intercepted Warnerís pass (as I sat in my living room thinking this is NOT the way we wanted to start this game) but the defense stiffened to force a 25 yard Martin Gramatica field goal. The Rams responded with a 24 yard Jeff Wilkins field goal and took the lead when Tony Mayberryís shotgun snap sailed over Shaun Kingís head. Alertly King swated it out of the end zone for a safety and a 5-3 Rams lead. Wilkinís missed a 44 yard FG attempt on the ensuing possession but Todd Lyghtís interception just before the half kept the game at 5-3. Kingís 32 yard pass to Jaquez Green early in the third led to another Gramatica FG (23 yards) and a 6-5 Tampa Bay lead. Warner was picked off on the next two possessions, once by Hardy Nickerson at the Bucs 2 yard line, to keep the score 6-5. The offenses were contained by both defenses and on 3 and 11 from midfield with just over 8 minutes remaining, Dre Bly intercepted a pass and returned it 9 yards to the Tampa 44. Six plays later, on 3rd and 4 from the Bucís 30 Warner launched a pass towards the endzone in the face of a blitz. Rickey Proehlís one handed grab with Brian Kelly right on him gave him his only TD catch of the year, and perhaps the most important of his career. King mounted one last attack but the Rams sacked him twice in the final two minutes and his fourth and eleven Hail Mary pass into the end zone was knocked down. I wonít expound on the controversial incompletion that was reviewed and determined incomplete leading to a rule change in the off season. It was incomplete, period. Warner was 26 of 43 for 258 yards, 1 TD (30y Proehl) and 3 Ints. Proehl had 6 catches for 100 yards and the second biggest TD catch in Rams history
St. Louis (15-3) vs. Tennessee (16-3)
The Rams high powered offense drove inside the Titans 20 with each of their first five possessions, but compiled just a 9-0 lead on three FGís (27, 29 & 28 yds) by Jeff Wilkins. Holder Rick Tutenís bobbled snap averted a 35 yard FG attempt to conclude the Rams first drive. The Titans responded with a 42 yard drive, their longest of the half, but Al Del Greco missed a 47 yard FG attempt. Jeff Wilkins had a missed 34 yard attempt along with his 3 field goals while the Titans didnít threaten the rest of the half, allowing the Rams to take a 9-0 lead to the locker room despite outgaining Tennessee in yardage 294-89. The Titans drove 43 yards with the second half kickoff, but Todd Lyght blocked Del Grecoís 47 yard attempt keeping the Tennessee scoreless. Kurt Warnerís 31 yard pass to Isaac Bruce keyed the ensuing drive that was capped by Torry Holtís 9 yard TD reception, for a 16-0 Rams lead with 7:20 remaining in the quarter. The Titans responded with two touchdown drives in excess of seven minutes each on their next two possessions. Steve McNairís 23 yard scramble set up Eddie Georgeís 1 yard TD run in the final minute of the third quarter. McNair two point conversion pass to Frank Wychek was incomplete, but the Tennessee defense forced a punt and the offense drove 79 yards in 13 plays. Highlighted by 21 yard passes to Isaac Byrd and Jackie Harris, the Titans finished the drive with a 2 yard run by Eddie George to cut the Rams lead to 3 with 7:21 remaining in the game. On the TD, Georges knee actually appeared to be down short. On their next possession the Rams went 3 and out and the Titans were threatening to drive for the lead but the defense held them to 28 yards and Del Greco kicked a 43 yard FG to tie the Superbowl with 2:12 seconds left. We all know what happened next. On the first play after the kickoff Warner hit Bruce, with the most famous pass in Rams history, up the right sideline at the Titans 38, with Jevon Kearse in his face, actually hitting his arm. Ike made one move and took it to the house. The Titans took the kickoff and drove the length of the field highlighted by a McNair to Dyson 16 yard pass off a scramble that put the ball on the Rams 10 with six seconds left. With no timeouts left McNair hit Dyson on a quick slant, that initially looked like the right call, as Mike Jones temporarily had Frank Wycheck in his face to distract him. The Tackle was made as time expired and the Rams had become the Superbowl Champions.
If you made it this far congratulations. I hoped you enjoyed it. Perhaps it brought back a good memory or two of that season that can never be taken away from Ram fans. I used the NFL Record & Fact Book accounts of each game but put a Rams fan spin on them. It was a lot of typing but a more enjoyable endeavor Iíve never taken (alone).
The thing is, there will never be another team as good in all three areas as the Greatest Show on Turf, the opportunistic defense and the timely special teams performances of Tony Horne and Az-Zahir Hakim (which by the way are extremely overlooked in my opinion). Even the great Colts of 2005, with there offense and improved defense, donít have special teams like the 99 Rams. I hope you enjoy it and donít hold every Rams team in the future to this level of perfection because so many things went right in 1999, we canít really ever expect them to go so good again. Merry Christmas.