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  1. #1
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    Rams respond, slam Seattle

    Rams respond, slam Seattle


    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    11/14/2004


    Now THIS was fast and furious football.

    Rams coach Mike Martz was furious this week. And the Rams were certainly fast when they hit the field Sunday afternoon -- scoring the first three times they touched the ball to get rolling toward a 23-12 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

    Outraged by his teamís uninspired play during losses at Miami and at home against New England, Martz cracked the whip this week.

    He challenged his players from the podium, during his news conferences at Rams Park, and he challenged them in meeting rooms and on the practice field as well.

    Really Mad Mike got the desired result. After building an early 17-0 lead, the Rams played sturdy defense at their end of the field and forced the Seahawks into two critical red-zone turnovers.

    By beating the Seahawks, the Rams (5-4) pulled back into a tie for the NFC West lead and put themselves back into position to make a playoff run. They own the tiebreaker after beating Seattle twice.

    Martz decided to use his passing game to set up the run, instead of vice-versa. With the offensive line providing ample protection, quarterback Marc Bulger was able to spread the ball to all his targets and get the Air Martz attack into full flight.

    With the Seahawks back on their heels, running backs Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk went to work on the ground. Martzís offensive game plan played out beautifully in the first half.

    Even the loss of All-Pro receiver Torry Holt to a first-quarter concussion and All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace to a third-quarter ejection couldnít derail the Rams in this game.

    Guard Chris Dishman (sprained knee) and cornerback Travis Fisher (mouth injury) also missed time in this game, but the Rams persevered with the likes of Blaine Saipaia, Tom Nutten and Mike Furrey filling offensive roles.


    THE GOOD


    * The oft-maligned Rams special teams opened with a prank -- an end-around pitch on the opening kickoff, with DeJuan Groce taking the ball out to the 29. Surprisingly, nobody threw an illegal block on this play.


    * Martz came out firing, calling pass after pass after pass. Completions to Isaac Bruce, Holt, Bruce again, Faulk and finally Kevin Curtis put the Rams up 7-0 just 2 minutes 37 seconds into the game.

    The pass protection was notable through that six-play, 71-yard drive -- especially on the touchdown pass to Curtis. Bulger could have run through his progressions twice and not gotten touched on that play.


    * The Rams defense fed off that opening TD drive by delivering a three-and-out stop on their first turn on the field. The front seven stuffed the run and applied pressure on Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.


    * The Rams came back on offense, with Bulger spreading the ball around. Completions to Shaun McDonald, Faulk, Brandon Manumaleuna, Bruce and Joey Goodspeed moved the Rams right back into scoring position.

    Bulger completed 10 of his first 13 passes, to six different receivers. Now THAT is an offensive script to brag about.


    * Jackson finished off the second scoring drive with two blasts through the middle of the line, the second for a four-yard touchdown run. The Rams led 14-0 just 8 minutes 9 seconds into the game.


    * Cornerback Jerametrius Butler made a marvelous play to pick off a pass intended for tight end Jerramy Stevens at the Rams 1. Butler ran a better route than Stevens, who seemed to pull up, and scored an important red-zone takeaway.


    * Faulk showed he still has some jet fuel left in the tank with his 28-yard burst late in the first quarter. That was his longest run of the season (until a 40-yard gain in the fourth quarter) and it got the Rams out from the shadow of their own end zone.


    * Bulger continued spreading the ball around, hitting tight end Cam Cleeland for a 15-yard completion on a nifty little slant play. That set up a 36-yard Jeff Wilkins field goal that pushed the lead to 17-0.


    * The Rams yielded much rushing yardage to Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, but twice they held the Seahawks to second-quarter field goals after Seattle reached the red zone.


    * Kickoff returner Arlen Harris gave the Rams good field position with strong back-to-back returns in the second quarter.


    * The Rams defense started the second half in fine fashion, stopping fullback Mack Strong on a fourth-and-one play on their own 38 to turn the ball over on downs. The Rams converted that turn of events into a 47-yard Wilkins field goal and a 20-6 lead.


    * The Rams defense continued to hold in and around the red zone, forcing the Seahawks to settle for two more Josh Brown field goals in the third quarter. The latter stop was facilitated by a Leonard Little sack.


    * Hall of Fame safety Aeneas Williams earned his keep late in the third quarter, stripping the football from Alexander at the end of a 35-yard run. Teammate Rich Coady recovered the ball at the Rams 9, erasing a glorious Seattle scoring opportunity.


    * With the Rams trying to move the ball and eat some clock, a 15-yard end-around run by Curtis earned a vital Rams first down.


    * Then Faulk put the capper on the victory with his 40-yard sprint with less than three minutes left to play. That set up another Wilkins field goal and finished off the Seahawks.


    THE BAD

    * Martz went 0-for-2 on his replay challenges in the first half, and thus couldnít question a fumble call against Bruce. So it wasnít a flawless afternoon for Mad Mike.


    THE UGLY


    * Poor Holt. He went across the middle to grab a pass at the Seattle 22 . . . and BOOM! Seahawks safety Terreal Bierria crushed Holt to break up the play. Holt wasnít knocked cold, but he got knocked silly.


    * On the same dismal sequence, Faulk fumbled the ball as the Rams were moving toward scoring position and Pace was ejected for roughing up an official in the melee that followed.



  2. #2
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    Re: Rams respond, slam Seattle

    Rams respond, slam Seattle.
    Yes, that they did!

    "Pass after pass after pass". Hey, I had already mentioned that in a post here hours ago! :tongue:

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams respond, slam Seattle

    You've gotta love that title.

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