Rams put one in victory column
Rams put one in victory column
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Saturday, Aug. 28 2004
For a week, at least, Rams Nation can exhale.
On Friday at Edward Jones Dome, the pass-blocking was much improved against
Washington. So was the defense. And despite some erratic throws by Marc Bulger
- so erratic that he drew a smattering of boos from the home crowd - he left
with a 98.6 passer rating after tossing a touchdown pass to Torry Holt.
Exhibition or not, it added up to a much-improved performance by the Rams after
Monday night's debacle in Kansas City, and a much-needed 28-3 victory over the
Redskins by the previously winless Rams.
"This is the team that we see every day in practice," coach Mike Martz said. "I
know there's a lot of panic and everything - but this is the team that we see
Perhaps it was in homage to Don Coryell, the offensive legend whom Martz
studied and idealized as a player and young coach in California. Coryell was
honored before the game, and in "Air" Coryell style, the Rams aired it out
Friday against the Redskins, throwing 22 times in the first half.
"I wanted to get some receivers involved, and I wanted to get Marc going a
little bit," Martz said. "He missed a couple throws early in the game, and then
settled down and had a real nice drive."
Bulger completed six of 12 passes for 78 yards before giving way to Chris
Chandler midway through the second quarter. Chandler, in his best outing of the
exhibition season, completed nine of 15 attempts for 190 yards. His passer
rating was identical to Bulger's (98.6).
Many of those passes were deep shots - and none deeper than the 58-yard
completion from Chandler to Holt late in the second quarter. Holt beat Fred
Smoot on the post pattern, getting dragged down at the 1. Chandler, 38, scored
on a quarterback sneak on the next play, giving the Rams a 14-3 lead with 3
minutes 47 seconds to play in the first half.
"Torry ran a great route," Chandler said. "The safety held on the inside
(leaving the middle open), and Torry just outran everybody."
Chandler also completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Shaun McDonald late in the
"He showed why he's been in the league so long and why he's stuck around,"
McDonald said. "He still has it after all these years."
Things started out slowly for the Rams, on both sides of the ball. Washington
took the opening kickoff and marched 62 yards for a field goal. At this point
in the proceedings the Rams had been outscored 30-10 in the first half this
preseason. It would have been 34-10, but Washington quarterback Patrick Ramsey
overthrew a wide-open James Thrash in the end zone one play before the field
Meanwhile, the Rams' offense continued to sputter. Marshall Faulk, playing only
the first two series, carried four times for 11 yards, with a long carry of
four yards. Bulger misfired on six of his first nine passes, often missing open
"I threw a couple where I didn't have a clear enough throwing lane," Bulger
said. "But they were clear enough for the NFL, and I should have hit them. I
think it was two or three in a row on the one series. ... Hopefully, during the
season, I won't have those. But at the same time, I'm not going to worry about
a couple misses here and there."
St. Louis finally got on the board in the second quarter on a 74-yard scoring
drive. Bulger completed a clutch third-and-15 pass to Dane Looker, who got
clobbered on the play but held on for a 19-yard gain. An 18-yard completion
from Bulger to Holt got the Rams in the red zone. And three plays later, they
were in the end zone on a 7-yard pass to Holt. It was the first touchdown in
the exhibition season by the Rams' first-team offense.
Holt played the entire first half and finished with seven catches for 143
yards. The Rams also added a Steven Jackson TD, on a 5-yard run, in the third
quarter. Jackson finished with 125 yards rushing on 25 carries and drew a big
ovation from the remaining fans when he left the field for good late in the
"I would've appreciated it a lot more if I wasn't so tired," Jackson joked.
The defense also got stronger as the first half progressed. Following that
first-quarter field goal, the Rams' defense posted four "3-and-outs" and came
up with a turnover on Washington's next four possessions of the half.
"Our defense in the first half, that's the type of Rams defense that we want to
play," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "We flew to the ball. Our
linebackers were hitting their gaps. When we hit our gaps like that with our
linebackers, it's impressive to watch because we're going to swarm to the
Re: Rams put one in victory column
It was nice to see that there were gaps for the LB's to hit. Someone up front must have been taking on/holding up some blockers. NICE !!!
All in all, something to build from come game 1