By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Oct. 27 2008
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. Antonio Pittman says he always prepares as if he's
starting. And that's a good thing. Because when he walked into the visitors'
locker room Sunday following pregame warmup, Pittman saw Pro Bowl running back
Steven Jackson icing his injured right thigh muscle.

"About that time, I knew I was ready to go," Pittman said.

Jackson tested the leg a couple of hours before kickoff, but it didn't feel
right.

"He did a lot in pregame; he just couldn't go," coach Jim Haslett said. "Every
time he planted and tried to cut on it, it grabbed. So we thought what's best
for him, and what's best for this team, was not to let him go."

Jackson was among the Rams' designated pregame inactives. Pittman, the
second-year running back from Ohio State, made his first NFL start.

"I thought (Pittman) did well," Haslett said a few minutes after the Rams'
23-16 loss to New England. "He ran hard. Hung onto the ball. He'll be tired
tomorrow."

Pittman, who had only 39 NFL career carries before Sunday, carried 19 times.
Three of those carries produced first downs, including a 2-yard gain on fourth
and 1 from the St. Louis 41 on the opening series of the game.

Pittman rushed for 83 yards, easily a career high, and also caught three passes
for 22 yards. His per-carry average was 4.4 yards, which is better than
Jackson's season average of 4.2 yards.

"Games like that, the tempo's a lot different than practice," Pittman said. "So
there were times when I did get winded, but I was able to catch my breath."

There were several plays that went for little or no gain that Pittman tried to
bounce outside instead of heading inside. Even so, it was a surprisingly
effective performance considering Pittman hadn't played since suffering a
broken bone in his lower left leg Sept. 21 against Seattle.

LITTLE SIDELINED

With Rams castoff Mark LeVoir starting in place of the injured Nick Kaczur at
right tackle for New England, it looked as if Leonard Little could be in for a
big day because of a favorable matchup. But Little, who had 4 sacks in his
previous three games, aggravated a right hamstring injury in the early going
Sunday and was finished for the day. He played sparingly.

Little thinks it might have been just scar tissue tearing, in which case he
might be able to return next week against Arizona.

"Hopefully, that's what it was," Little said. "I think that's what it was
because it feels all right now. I'm just kind of down because I let my
teammates down and I want to be out there playing with them."

He's scheduled for an MRI exam today.

"I thought I was kind of dehydrated," Little said. "I don't know. My mouth was
kind of dry all day. When I get dehydrated, I get those strains and stuff like
that."

RAM-BLINGS

Chris Long doubled his season total with two sacks against the Patriots. ...
Eric Moore, who saw extensive action in place of Little, had the Rams' other
sack Sunday.

With three catches for 28 yards, Torry Holt moved ahead of Charlie Joiner for
15th place on the NFL's career list for receiving yards. Holt has 12,174 yards.
... The Rams had nine penalties for 63 yards; New England had zero penalties.

Marc Bulger, who hadn't even had a 200-yard passing game this season, threw
for 301 Sunday. His 69-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery was the longest pass
play of Bulger's NFL career.