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Rams gladly reply to *****' invitation
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Tuesday, Oct. 05 2004
The evening began with ***** linebacker Jamie Winborn trash-talking some of the
Rams during pregame warmups. It ended with a San Francisco assistant coach
dropping by the St. Louis locker room, thanking the Rams for not running up the
score in the second half.
In between, it was Marshall Faulk left, Marshall Faulk right, with a dose of
Steven Jackson thrown in for good measure. About the last thing the *****
expected from St. Louis Sunday night was a running game, but that's what they
got in a 24-14 Rams victory.
"I had heard they were getting some heat from their press in that they weren't
running the ball, but also, up to this game, that had been our strength," *****
linebacker Jeff Ulbrich said. "I felt like we played the run real well."
The ***** entered the game ranked fifth in the NFL in run defense, but you
wouldn't have known it by the way they got pounded by St. Louis. The Rams
rushed for 174 yards - more than twice the *****' per-game average in rushing
yards allowed entering the game.
So even on Monday, a day after the Rams evened their record at 2-2, the
question remaining in everyone's minds was: Where did all those running plays
"We've always been a little pragmatic about things in the last six years,"
coach Mike Martz said. "That's kind of how we approach things. You're standing
there on the sidelines, you look at it, they're playing a real soft Cover 2."
The ***** were playing their safeties deep, basically inviting the Rams to run
the football. Martz accepted the invitation.
"You start handing the ball off, and start rolling pretty good," Martz said.
So you keep handing it off.
"And that's what kind of happened," Martz said. "The offensive line took it
upon themselves to make things happen, and they certainly did. ... It's just
like in the passing game. If you're hitting them, you keep going. You do
whatever it takes to win."
By game's end, the Rams had 36 carries and only 25 pass plays. It doesn't
happen that way often, but more often than you'd think. In Martz's four-plus
seasons as head coach, the Rams have had 11 games when they've run more often
than they've passed. They are 11-0 in such games.
For an offensive lineman, run blocking beats the heck out of pass blocking, oh,
50 times a game.
"It does," offensive tackle Orlando Pace said, laughing. "I was telling Grant
Williams that (Sunday night). Man, it feels good to get out and actually run
block. I know the guys on the offensive line really enjoy it. If we can move
the ball and eat up some of the clock, it's always good."
Martz also was influenced in his play calling by the work of the offensive line
last week in practice at Rams Park.
"In our run drills, our nine-on-seven drills, the offensive line practiced as
well as I've ever seen a group here practice," Martz said. "It was exciting to
And that was with unproven Scott Tercero working with the first unit at left
guard in place of the injured Chris Dishman. But Tercero, a sixth-round draft
pick by the club in 2003, acquitted himself well at Monster Park in his first
NFL start. "I was real pleased with Scotty," Martz said.
Nonetheless, it still was unusual to see the Rams run so well against San
Francisco. The 174 rushing yards was the highest total for the Rams against
their West Coast rivals since the move to St. Louis in 1995. Over the past two
seasons, St. Louis had averaged just 55 rushing yards in four games with the
It was Faulk's fifth 100-yard rushing game against San Francisco, but his first
since the 2001 Super Bowl season. After Sunday night's 23-carry, 121-yard
performance, Faulk now has an even 1,000 yards rushing in his career against
San Francisco, more yards than he has gained against any opponent. But he's
also played the ***** more often (12 times) than anyone else.
Faulk doesn't like contentious topics. So when asked if the plan was to run the
ball more, or if it just evolved that way, he replied: "You'll have to ask Mike
Apparently, it was a little of both on a night when Mad Mike became Pragmatic
Re: Rams gladly reply to *****' invitationOriginally Posted by RamWraith
Re: Rams gladly reply to *****' invitationOriginally Posted by The Big O
Re: Rams invitation ...
What I am still trying to figure out - and mind you it's been a 36-hour-bender since it first hooked me - is how did games 2 & 3 get in between 1 & 4? Who's messing with the order of the slides?
Rams' reply to invitation ...It ended with a San Francisco assistant coach dropping by the St. Louis locker room, thanking the Rams for not running up the score in the second half.
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