Rams regain Governor's Cup
Rams regain Governor's Cup
Fitzpatrick connects with Looker on game-winning TD with 3:42 left
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Rams have possession of the Governor's Cup for the first time in four years.
Rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Dane Looker with 3:42 left in the fourth quarter to lift the Rams past the Kansas City Chiefs 27-23 Friday in the final preseason game for both teams.
The Rams got their two other touchdowns on a 1-yard run by reserve running back Aveion Cason and a 40-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Shaun McDonald.
The Rams finished the preseason with a 3-1 record, their best mark since going 3-2 in the 2001 preseason.
It also marked the first time that the Rams have won the Governor's Cup -- the trophy awarded to the winner of the annual matchup of Missouri's two NFL teams -- since 2001.
"This was big for me to see how the second unit guys that you are going to count on to fill in the ranks for years to come compete and play," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "You want to see that you have the right guys."
The game featured mostly backups and fringe players trying to earn spots on each team's 53-man roster.
Rams quarterback Marc Bulger sat out the game. He was in uniform on the sideline wearing a headset as he relayed plays to quarterbacks Jamie Martin and Fitzpatrick.
Martin started the game and completed five of his seven passes for 71 yards. He was intercepted once.
Fitzpatrick, a seventh-round pick out of Harvard in the 2005 NFL draft, entered the game late in the first half, and promptly fumbled as he was being sacked.
Fitzpatrick rebounded by completing 12 of 22 passes for 195 yards. He had two touchdowns and one interception, giving him a passer rating of 95.8 for the game.
"It was such a fun game at the end," Fitzpatrick said. "At times, I made some real rookie mistakes. There are a lot of things that I personally need to clean up. I'll get in their and watch the film."
Martz was pleased with Fitzpatrick's performance, though he's reluctant to tell him so.
"I'm very pleased with him, but don't tell him that," Martz said. "My expectations for him are different than anybody else. I think he is very special. I expect him to be perfect. I'll be very hard on him."
Fitzpatrick also rushed for 31 yards on five carries, showing some fancy footwork on several scrambles.
"We don't get much publicity at Harvard, but anybody who has seen a Harvard game, there are designed plays for the quarterback there," Fitzpatrick said. "I ran the ball quite a bit. That was the first time I had a chance to get out there, get pressure a little bit and move around."
The attendance was announced as 65,284, but that figure is tickets sold. The actual attendance was probably around 40,000 with slightly less than half the 66,000 seats at the Edward Jones Dome being empty.
The Chiefs (0-4) went winless in the preseason for the first time since 2000.
The Chiefs were playing without starting quarterback Trent Green, who underwent minor surgery this week for a circulation problem in his leg, and backup quarterback Todd Collins, who has a hand injury.
In the first quarter, blitzing linebacker Chris Clairborne hit Chiefs quarterback Jonathan Quinn's arm as he was letting go of a pass, causing the ball to flutter to Rams strong safety Adam Archuleta.
The interception set up a 32-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins with 7:50 left in the first quarter.
The Chiefs used a 41-yard pass from Quinn to Marc Boerigter to get into position for a 37-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes that tied the score at 3-3 with 2:59 left in the opening quarter.
The Chiefs went up 6-3 on a 26-yard field goal by Tynes, but the Rams put together a 14-play, 74-yard drive that was capped by Cason's 1-yard touchdown run with 3:17 left in the first half.
The Chiefs had a 40-yard touchdown run by Dee Brown negated by a holding penalty, but Quinn threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jeris McIntyre on the next play.
The touchdown, which came with 1:43 remaining in the first, put the Chiefs in front 13-10.
The Chiefs went ahead 20-10 just 29 seconds later as Fitzpatrick fumbled after being sacked by Keyaron Fox.
Junior Siavii recovered the ball at the St. Louis 24, and two plays later Brown ran 4 yards for a touchdown.
The Rams cut their deficit to 20-17 on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to McDonald. Then they tied the game on a 47-yard field goal by Wilkins with 5:27 to go in the third quarter.
An interception by Kris Griffin, who returned the ball 29 yards to the St. Louis 13, set up the go-ahead field goal for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs had second-and-goal at the St. Louis 1, but they had to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Tynes with 8:11 left after Brandon Chillar tackled Brown for a four-yard loss.
"Outstanding," Martz said of Chillar. "We need to have him factor into our defense in a big way."
The Rams will open the 2005 regular season against the San Francisco ***** on Sept. 11 at Monster Park in San Francisco.