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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Rams stand and deliver

    Rams stand and deliver
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Jan. 08 2005

    SEATTLE - The Rams were in what's known as cover 4, a four-deep zone coverage.
    Seattle wide receiver Bobby Engram lined up in the right slot, ran a curl
    pattern toward the middle with 27 seconds to play and the Rams up by seven.

    "We kind of knew the route because we practiced on it all this week," Rams
    cornerback Jerametrius Butler said. "I jumped the route, and the quarterback
    started scrambling, and the receiver starting scrambling."

    Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's pass to Engram was low and outside but
    appeared very catchable. Engram had a step on Butler.

    "I couldn't see what happened," coach Mike Martz said. "It was just commotion
    down there. ... Everybody was going crazy, so I thought, 'Oh, they scored.' And
    then, our guys were jumping up and down, so I knew that was good."

    Good as blue and gold. There was no catch. No overtime. Just a riveting 27-20
    victory by the Rams on Saturday in a first-round playoff game at Qwest Field.

    The Rams thus became the first 8-8 team in NFL history to win a playoff game,
    and they did it by winning their third consecutive game against the Seahawks
    this season.

    "Yeah, we (beat) them three times this season, so I think we got their number,"
    Butler said. "They've got problems now. I don't know what's going to happen to
    them. But that's not my problem."

    True. Any problems for Butler and the Rams ended when that Hasselback pass
    bounced off Engram's hands and onto the turf. Incomplete.

    In those frenzied moments, Butler didn't see the ball squirt out but knew it
    was incomplete. Why?

    "Because (Engram) didn't celebrate," Butler said. "He just rolled over."

    Just a couple of minutes earlier, tight end Cameron Cleeland gave the Rams
    plenty of reason to celebrate. He caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from
    quarterback Marc Bulger with 2 minutes 11 seconds to play, snapping a 20-20
    tie.

    "How about that?" Martz said. "It's the same play that we ran up in Denver in
    the opener a few years ago (in 2002), and Kurt (Warner) just didn't make the
    throw. Marc saw it, he knew he had a quick window. What a terrific catch that
    was. That's got to be an all-timer, isn't it?"

    Cleeland has been with the Rams for two seasons and had caught 18 passes total
    - regular season and postseason. Then came Saturday.

    After all of the things I've been through," an emotional Cleeland said. "The
    multiple Achilles' (tendon) injuries. They say you can't ever play again. To
    come back and do something like this in front of my family and friends - it's
    too perfect for me right now. It's a great feeling, and I can't even put it
    into words."

    Cleeland, one of several Rams players from the Seattle area, made the catch in
    front of about two dozen family members and friends. It came on a
    third-and-three play in which Bulger made a play-action fake to Marshall Faulk
    and then threw a high strike to the 6-foot-5 Cleeland down the seam of
    Seattle's defense. The Seahawks got caught with their safeties playing up and
    Cleeland was able to get inside position.

    That proved to be the back-breaker in a back-and-forth contest. The Rams jumped
    to an early 14-3 lead, only to find themselves down 20-17 early in the fourth
    quarter on a Hasselbeck TD pass to Darrell Jackson.

    The Rams took advantage of Seattle rookie safety Peter Boulware on two big
    early pass plays, helping them take the 14-3 first-half lead. On the third play
    of the game, Boulware came rushing up toward Torry Holt in zone coverage. But
    Holt raced right by him and caught a 52-yard pass from Bulger on a play that
    carried to the Seahawks' 11.

    Three plays and one Rams penalty later, Bulger hooked up with Holt again, on a
    15-yard post route underneath cornerback Marcus Trufant. Seattle challenged the
    call, but replays showed Holt kept a hand underneath the ball. The TD stood.

    Then, on the first play of the second quarter, the Rams snookered Boulware once
    again, this time on a 50-yard completion to Kevin Curtis that carried to the 5.

    Bulger deftly looked away from Curtis to his left, and Boulware took the bait.
    Curtis got behind Trufant, and Boulware couldn't recover in time.

    "We just wanted to attack the safeties as much as we could in this game," Martz
    said.

    Two plays later, Faulk scored on a 1-yard run off right guard behind a good
    lead block by fullback Joey Goodspeed.

    But that 14-3 lead didn't last long. Seattle drove 84 yards on the ensuing
    possession, with Engram scoring on a 19-yard TD pass from Hasselbeck. The Rams
    appeared to have the drive stopped, when a tipped pass was intercepted by
    DeJuan Groce with 8 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter.

    But the interception was nullified on a facemask penalty against linebacker
    Tommy Polley, who knocked the ball from intended receiver Maurice Morris but
    strafed Morris' facemask in the process. Engram scored on the next play.

    It was the first TD by the Seahawks against the Rams in more than seven
    quarters, dating to the first half of the Oct. 10 meeting here. But it wasn't
    their last. Josh Brown's second field goal of the game, plus the
    Hasselbeck-to-Jackson TD pass, gave the Seahawks a 20-17 lead 71 seconds into
    the fourth quarter.

    Anybody worried on the St. Louis sideline? Apparently not.

    "This is a resilient team," defensive end Leonard Little said. "There wasn't
    any doubt in our mind that we could win this game."

    A Jeff Wilkins field goal, his second of the day, and Cleeland's TD, gave St.
    Louis its first playoff victory since the 2001 season's NFC title game against
    Philadelphia.

    The Rams play either Philadelphia or Atlanta next weekend. They get Philly if
    Green Bay defeats Minnesota on Sunday. They get Atlanta if Minnesota beats
    Green Bay.

    "This isn't the end of the season," Bulger said. "We're just at the point now
    where we were last year."

    (The Rams had a first-round bye last season before losing to Carolina in the
    NFC semifinals.)

    "Whoever we play is going to be tough," Bulger said. "But it's nice that we're
    playing our best football of the year right now."

    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
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  2. #2
    Yodude's Avatar
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    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    "How about that?" Martz said. "It's the same play that we ran up in Denver in the opener a few years ago (in 2002), and Kurt (Warner) just didn't make the throw. Marc saw it, he knew he had a quick window.
    Man......it was a great play all around.....great throw and catch.....but is that comment really necessary at this point?
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude
    Man......it was a great play all around.....great throw and catch.....but is that comment really necessary at this point?
    Yea, I'm not sure what to make of all these comments that involve Warner. It may be for motiavtional purposes, but it does seem a little petty and unnecessary. Warner deserves better.

  4. #4
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Yea , I'm sure the TE Ran the same exact Pattern and Warner just missed it! At least Martz did on the field what he was supposed to do. What he says after is on his Dumbass! :tongue:

  5. #5
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by theodus69
    Yea , I'm sure the TE Ran the same exact Pattern and Warner just missed it!
    While I agree the comment was unnecessary, let's not pretend that Warner has never missed a read or a window on a throw.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude
    ...but is that comment really necessary at this point?
    I can only suggest to avoid trying to understand some of the logic behind some of his statements. I mean did you hear him try to explain why he took the TO after only a minute and half into the game? He may think it makes sense to himself. And I know he has others believing they understand it too.

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by adarian_too
    I can only suggest to avoid trying to understand some of the logic behind some of his statements.
    I guess that's as good an approach as any!
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

  8. #8
    JCRamFan Guest

    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    While I agree the comment was unnecessary, let's not pretend that Warner has never missed a read or a window on a throw.
    I hope you are not saying that Bulger is better than Warner, because although I don't have the stats in front of me I am pretty sure that Warner never threw as many INT's as TD's like Bulger did last year.

  9. #9
    xfactor28 Guest

    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by JCRamFan
    I hope you are not saying that Bulger is better than Warner, because although I don't have the stats in front of me I am pretty sure that Warner never threw as many INT's as TD's like Bulger did last year.

    The 2 games Bulger missed arent proof enough? He's one of the best in the league and one of the smartest moves Martz and the f.o. made was dumping warners salary for a younger BETTER qb. He didnt even start for the woeful giants. i love the guy and all that he did, but he is diefently in the twilight and the Rams made the right decision. Glad we had the seahags in the first game, Rams have thier number. Hope it builds some confidence for round 2. Defense looked better than usual. Kept alexander in check for the most part. Still holding my breath on every kickoff.

  10. #10
    JCRamFan Guest

    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    I believe that Warner had the Giants at 5-3 before being replaced by the GREAT Eli Manning, HAH! All Eli did was lose the next 7 while looking nowhere near as good as Warner, if you really look at it Warner is still one of the best in the league if he gets time from the O-line, but if he doesn't he has trouble just like anybody else. I hope he goes somewhere with a good line next year and proves everyone wrong again.

  11. #11
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    This issue is not about Warner or Bulger. My guess is both these guys have a mutual respect for each other despite all the controversy. Chances are not many quarterbacks will ever be able to match what Warner did during his amazing three year run and Bulger should not be expected to, it's unfair. He has done a great job IMO with the most complicated, dynamic and demanding offense in the NFL, and he continues to improve.

    This is about Martz and his continuing desire to make Warner an issue with Bulger, which is too bad because these comparisons don't create any positives, serve no purpose and show a lack of respect for what Warner did for this team.

    I can only imagine why Martz feels the need to publicly degrade Warner's legacy. If I didn't know better, I would say it is his way of trying to rationalize and substantiate his decision to jettison Warner in favor of Bulger, which he doesn't need to do. Especially if he is truely being candid when he says he doesn't pay attention to what the fans or media say.

    Hopefully it will all take a back seat to the gutsy run the Rams are thrilling us all with.

  12. #12
    Yodude's Avatar
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    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike
    Hopefully it will all take a back seat to the gutsy run the Rams are thrilling us all with.
    One can only hope!
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  13. #13
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by JCRamFan
    I hope you are not saying that Bulger is better than Warner, because although I don't have the stats in front of me I am pretty sure that Warner never threw as many INT's as TD's like Bulger did last year.
    What I'm saying is what I posted - while I agree the comment was unnecessary, let's not pretend that Warner has never missed a read or a window on a throw. Where in the world you can draw from that that I'm saying Bulger is better than Warner is completely beyond me.
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  14. #14
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike
    This issue is not about Warner or Bulger. My guess is both these guys have a mutual respect for each other despite all the controversy. Chances are not many quarterbacks will ever be able to match what Warner did during his amazing three year run and Bulger should not be expected to, it's unfair. He has done a great job IMO with the most complicated, dynamic and demanding offense in the NFL, and he continues to improve.

    This is about Martz and his continuing desire to make Warner an issue with Bulger, which is too bad because these comparisons don't create any positives, serve no purpose and show a lack of respect for what Warner did for this team.

    I can only imagine why Martz feels the need to publicly degrade Warner's legacy. If I didn't know better, I would say it is his way of trying to rationalize and substantiate his decision to jettison Warner in favor of Bulger, which he doesn't need to do. Especially if he is truely being candid when he says he doesn't pay attention to what the fans or media say.

    Hopefully it will all take a back seat to the gutsy run the Rams are thrilling us all with.
    Great post, Mike. Very well said.
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
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  15. #15
    JCRamFan Guest

    Re: Rams stand and deliver

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    What I'm saying is what I posted - while I agree the comment was unnecessary, let's not pretend that Warner has never missed a read or a window on a throw. Where in the world you can draw from that that I'm saying Bulger is better than Warner is completely beyond me.
    I'm sorry, I guess I just read into that, like maybe you were saying that Warner missed reads but Bulger didn't. I like Bulger and hope he continues to improve, I just get frustrated that he seems to make really bad decisions at unfortunte times, like when he threw the INT TD against NY 2 weeks ago to give up the lead, and the INT he trew yesterday when the Rams had just gotten the pick and had the chance to put the Hawks in a big hole early. I do like how he seems to overcome those mistakes most of the time, I just wish he could cut down on them in the first place. :ramlogo:

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