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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams let it slip away

    By Jim Thomas
    Sunday, Oct. 09 2005

    Never mind that the scoreboard read: Seattle 37, St. Louis 31.

    Given the recent history of the series, the Rams had the Seahawks right where
    they wanted them. They were getting the ball back with just over 3 minutes to
    play. And in good field position, too, since the Seahawks' Tom Rouen was
    punting in the shadow of his end zone.

    A couple of passes here, a run there, and - Presto! Whammo! - the Rams would
    score a dramatic game-winning touchdown, thus driving another dagger into the
    hearts of the Seahawks. That's the way it's always supposed to go against the
    Seahawks, right?

    Well, not this time.

    Last year at this time - on Oct. 10, 2004 - Shaun McDonald's career-long punt
    return of 39 yards helped launch an improbable St. Louis comeback in a 33-27
    overtime victory at Qwest Field in Seattle.

    On Oct. 9, 2005, McDonald fielded Rouen's 41-yard punt in a crowd at the St.
    Louis 40, tried to cut back, but was stripped of the ball by Seattle's Jordan
    Babineaux at the St. Louis 39. Seahawks teammate Jean-Phillippe Darche
    recovered the fumble on the St. Louis 37. And the Rams were done.

    Oh, there was still 2:51 left to play and the Rams had a timeout in their
    pocket. But the Rams haven't stopped anybody the last two games, and the final
    2:51 Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome would be no different. Three runs by Shaun
    Alexander netted two first downs, ate up the Rams' final timeout and took the
    clock to the 2-minute warning.

    Three kneel-downs by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck took care of the rest of the
    clock, snapping the Rams' 12-game home winning streak against NFC West foes.
    Seattle left town at 3-2 and in first place in the division, winning for the
    first time in five tries against St. Louis.

    The Rams fell to 2-3, their worst record after five games since the '02 squad
    started 0-5. Barring some miraculous turnaround by the defense - particularly
    the pass defense - the Rams are staring at 2-4, because their next opponent is
    unbeaten Indianapolis, in a Monday night game Oct. 17 in Indy.

    In winning two of their first three games, the Rams' defense played noticeably
    better than the defense of the '04 squad. But in losses to the New York Giants,
    and now Seattle, the bottom has fallen out. In those two games, the Rams have
    yielded 81 points and 889 yards.

    What's going on there?

    "That's a good question," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "I don't have
    an answer for you right now. But we're going to try to come up with one.

    "I know one thing: I'm going to show up to work Monday. So will my teammates.
    We ain't going to pack it in. I don't care what you all write, and what you all
    say. We're not going to pack it in. That you can be sure of."

    Any reclamation project must begin with the St. Louis secondary, which was
    awful for the second game in a row. Hasselbeck completed 27 of 38 passes for
    316 yards, two touchdowns, and a passer rating of 113.5. All that came with a
    patchwork group of receivers. Who knows what might have happened if the
    Seahawks weren't missing starting wide receivers Darrell Jackson and Bobby
    Engram because of injury.

    Seahawks receivers were running free all afternoon on a day when busted
    coverages were the norm. Coach Mike Martz blamed himself for some of that.

    "I asked our defense to put in a new coverage," Martz said. "I think they threw
    two touchdowns on that coverage. So that's my fault. I take full responsibility
    for that. I thought it would help us in the running game. You shouldn't meddle
    on defense as a head coach."

    Martz also blamed himself for his play-calling on offense. Quarterback Marc
    Bulger threw for 336 yards and two TDs. Running back Steven Jackson had 139
    yards rushing and receiving, and scored one rushing TD. But the offense was
    disjointed at times, with three 3-and-outs plus a Bulger interception that came
    on the third play of a series. "So this is Coach Martz's loss," he said. "Put a
    big check on that one. Bad job of play-calling. Preparation. And meddling with
    the defense. Other than that, you would've watched us win."

    During the practice week, Martz was diagnosed with a bacterial infection of a
    heart valve, a condition known as endocarditis. He said Sunday the illness
    affected his play-calling.

    "I wasn't myself this week," Martz said. "The game plan wasn't clear for me. I
    probably should've let Steve (Fairchild) call the game. But that's just that
    part that's in you; you just want to bulldog it."

    Fairchild is the Rams' offensive coordinator. In Martz's absence, Fairchild ran
    the offensive portions of practice Wednesday and Thursday - when a large chunk
    of the game plan was installed.

    Even so, there's not telling what would've happened had McDonald not fumbled
    that punt. McDonald was a last-second replacement for Terry Fair on the play.
    Fair had returned punts the entire game but said he was winded after replacing
    Travis Fisher at cornerback for three plays. (Fisher apparently tweaked an

    "I just tried to cut back; (Babineaux) got his hand on the ball, and it popped
    out," McDonald said. "I was just trying to do too much. ... I'm going to have a
    bad taste in my mouth until we get out there next week."

  2. #2
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Rams let it slip away

    [QUOTE"I asked our defense to put in a new coverage," Martz said. "I think they threw
    two touchdowns on that coverage. So that's my fault. I take full responsibility
    for that. I thought it would help us in the running game. You shouldn't meddle
    on defense as a head coach."][/QUOTE]

    Why not you are the head coach.

  3. #3
    clan-ram01 Guest

    Re: Rams let it slip away

    man martz is killing us. come on martz god knows i love you but dang.


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