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Rams rivalry with ***** still as heated as ever
St. Louis has won 10 of last 12 meetings
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - Even as the their fortunes have risen and fallen, even after one team moved from Southern California to the Midwest, the rivalry between the San Francisco ***** and the Rams has endured.
The two teams will meet in Week 1 this season, adding some extra emotion to a game that's always intense anyway.
"This week is always special," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "Our young players will learn that as they go. The older players understand that completely."
Martz said the rivalry began way before the Rams' move to St. Louis prior to the 1995 season.
"Isaac (Bruce) and myself, we're the only ones left who were coaching and playing in L.A., before we made the transfer here," Martz said. "This goes way back. Growing up in San Diego and watching this rivalry for many years, I have a real respect for the competitive nature of this matchup."
This game will be the 112th meeting between the two teams. The Rams lead the overall series 58-51-2. They have outscored the ***** by 30 points (2,462-2,432) in the series.
The rivalry has been marked by a series of streaks.
The Rams won 10 straight meetings from 1970-75 and nine straight meetings from 1976-80.
The ***** answered with a 17-game winning streak from 1990 through 1998.
"I remember in those years back in the 4-12 Ram days when the ***** used to come in and beat us pretty good, and it really irritated us," Rams tight end Roland William said.
Martz still remembers ***** defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield uttering the line, "Same old sorry ass Rams" after his team pounded the Rams 44-10 in their first meeting of the 1995 season.
"I go to sleep at night with that line in my head," Martz said.
The Rams finally redeemed themselves with a 42-20 victory over the ***** in their first meeting in 1999. Bruce caught four touchdown passes in a game that helped launch the Rams toward their first Super Bowl championship.
"A great day in my life," Rams tight end Roland Williams said. "I'll just leave that day there as we're headed on to play them this week. We'll just see what happens this week."
The Rams have won 10 of their 12 meetings against the ***** since breaking that 17-game mastery.
"I was just watching the NFL network and they were counting down these great moments for Monday Night Football," Rams defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson said. "Half of them were Jerry Rice and John Taylor against the Rams. We understand that the ***** have dominated the Rams in the past, and we don't like that.
"Nobody likes to see the team that you play for getting dominated. The rivalry really started then, and it has continued on. We're just trying to even up the score a little bit, if we can."
Jackson said the Rams are wary of the ***** even though they had an NFL-worst 2-14 record last season.
"We have a lot of respect for those guys," Jackson said. "I don't know how you guys feel about them, but we have a lot of respect for them. We've seen (quarterback Tim) Rattay beat us. We've seen (Kevan) Barlow rush for over 100 yards against us. We know what those guys can do.
"We know how hard it is to go on the road and get a win in the NFL, period, especially in your division, especially in San Francisco when you are the Rams. We understand that this is going to be a knock-down, drag-out game. We're going to go out and try to play our best game."
Free safety Michael Hawthorne, signed by the Rams as a free agent this winter, said the Rams-***** rivalry reminded him of both the Chicago-Green Bay and the New Orleans-Atlanta rivalries.
"I'm sure every team has that one team that they just hate," Hawthorne said. "I don't know much about (the Rams-***** rivalry), but I'm catching wind of it very quickly. (Martz) mentioned something after the last preseason game and then again today. It's starting to stick."
Williams said the Rams aren't the only team that gets fired up to play the *****, as he learned during his three seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
"It's called the Battle of the Bay in Oakland," Williams said. "It's a lot of hate. A lot of guys go to the same restaurants, the same everything. It was a nice continuation of animosity that already exists with the ***** and the Rams. I think it makes the game more fun."
Re: Rams rivalry with ***** still as heated as everSame old sorry ass Rams"
"It's ******* week"!:angryram:JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
"HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"Adm. William "Bull" Halsey