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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams take away good feeling

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Tuesday, Oct. 19 2004

    In three previous Monday night games against Tampa Bay under coach Mike Martz,
    the Rams were a combined minus-9 in takeaway-giveaway ratio.

    St. Louis coughed up the football 13 times in those three games - on nine
    interceptions and four lost fumbles - while coming up with only four takeaways.
    Little wonder, then, that the Rams lost all three contests.

    But on Monday at the Edward Jones Dome, Tampa Bay felt the Rams' pain. For a
    change, it was the Buccaneers who were charitable, committing four turnovers.
    And for the first time in five games against the Bucs, the "St. Louis" Rams
    ended the evening in the plus category in takeaway-giveaway ratio at plus 2.

    (The Rams were minus 1 in the 1999 season's NFC championship game but still
    defeated the Buccaneers 11-6.)

    Although the Rams moved the ball about as well as they have against Tampa in
    recent years, they probably would not have defeated the Buccaneers 28-21
    without the takeaways by their defense.

    "Turnovers are the name of the game," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "And for
    Arch (Adam Archuleta) to bail me out personally with the fumble recovery - that
    was huge. We had a lot of that last year, and it's nice that we are starting to
    get some more turnovers. We will win a lot of games if we can keep doing that."

    Bulger threw his only interception of the game midway through the third period.
    Linebacker Ian Gold's interception return of 31 yards allowed Tampa to take
    over at the St. Louis 15 with seven minutes 41 seconds left in the third

    But just when it looked like Tampa Bay was poised to break a 14-14 tie,
    Archuleta came up with the defensive play of the game. In wrestling Bucs
    running back Michael Pittman to the ground on a carry around left end,
    Archuleta stripped the ball away with his right hand. After tossing Pittman to
    the ground, Archuleta had the presence of mind to pick up the loose ball and
    race 93 yards for a touchdown.

    It was the Rams' first defensive touchdown since Game 13 of last season, a
    26-20 Monday night victory at Cleveland. It was the third-longest return of a
    recovered fumble in Rams history. Interestingly, each of the three longest
    returns were made by safeties.

    Toby Wright returned a fumble 98 yards at New Orleans in 1994, the Rams' last
    season in Los Angeles, and Keith Lyle returned a fumble 94 yards at Atlanta in

    And now, Archuleta. For Archuleta, it was his second career touchdown. He
    returned a Kyle Boller fumble 45 yards for a TD last season against Baltimore.
    Monday's return against Tampa Bay should be a pick-me-up for Archuleta, who has
    struggled this season in large part because of back problems.

    "Adam needed to make a play like that to get him (going)," wide receiver Torry
    Holt said. "It was a tremendous confidence booster for him. He's going to be
    riding high for a while."

    Archuleta has a bulging disc in his lower back. As a result, the Rams started
    Rich Coady in his place against San Francisco and Seattle, with Archuleta
    coming in off the bench in the nickel package. With Archuleta's back feeling
    better, he returned to the starting lineup against Tampa Bay.

    "Talking to him before the game, this is the first time this year that he felt
    good," Martz said. "His back is much better. He said it's the best it's felt
    all year, and he played like it. He was terrific in the game."

    Cornerback Jerametrius Butler also wasn't too shabby. Butler helped keep the
    Bucs off the scoreboard twice in the fourth quarter. He recorded his second
    interception of the season - he has the Rams' only interceptions in '04 -
    picking off a Brian Griese pass in the end zone for a touchback with 5:42 to

    Then, on Tampa Bay's final possession of the game, he recovered a Tim Brown
    fumble that was forced by Aeneas Williams at the Rams' 15 with 26 seconds to

    "Aeneas did a good job stripping the ball," Butler said. It was the 14th forced
    fumble of Williams' career.

    That play made it three St. Louis takeaways once the Buccaneers' offense had
    reached the red zone. The other takeaway, a fumble recovery on the Tampa 5, set
    up St. Louis' second touchdown.

    After leading the league in takeaways in 2003, the Rams had a league-low two
    takeaways entering the Tampa Bay game.

    "I know you were all questioning that early in the year," Martz told reporters
    Tuesday. "We're not doing anything differently than we normally do. You just
    keep working at it. You can't be discouraged about those things.

    "It's something that we do every day in practice. I think you can see Aeneas on
    that last one, just reaching in and ripping the ball out. Adam did the same

    There could be opportunities for more of the same Sunday at Miami, because the
    Dolphins lead the NFL with 17 giveaways. The Dolphins (0-6) have lost six
    fumbles, and Miami quarterbacks Jay Fiedler and A.J. Feeley have combined to
    throw a league-high 11 interceptions.

  2. #2
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Rams take away good feeling

    "I know you were all questioning that early in the year," Martz told reporters
    Tuesday. "We're not doing anything differently than we normally do. You just
    keep working at it. You can't be discouraged about those things.

    I guess if you do keep working on things, they do change....right Fargo?


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