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Thread: Revenge isn't on Rams' minds
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Revenge isn't on Rams' minds
Revenge isn't on Rams' minds
By Jim ThomasOf the Post-Dispatch11/06/2004
The Rams have almost as many first- and second-year players on their roster (18) as players remaining from their 2001 Super Bowl squad (19).
So the fact that they meet New England for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVI doesn't have much relevance for the Steve Jacksons, Shaun McDonalds, Anthony Hargroves and Pisa Tinoisamoas of the roster.
"It doesn't mean anything to them," coach Mike Martz said. "We're a football team trying to stay on top of the division. That's it. ... To talk about rivalries and all that, it doesn't make any sense."
Obviously, there's merit in that approach. As safety Aeneas Williams said of that wrenching 20-17 Super Bowl loss to the Patriots: "That game is enclosed in cement. It's already dry."
As for the 2004 season, and the 4-3 record the Rams have in the NFC West, Williams says: "We now have what I could call wet cement. The ability to control our own future."
That future begins at 3:15 p.m. Sunday in the Edward Jones Dome against the Patriots, the defending Super Bowl champions and the team that spoiled the Rams' Super Bowl party three seasons ago.
The Rams, who have played inconsistently all season, are rare home underdogs in a venue in which they've won 40 of their last 49 contests. With the exception of the first three quarters of the San Francisco game Oct. 3, the Rams haven't played dominant football all season.
As Martz mentioned to his team, in a message especially directed to the younger players: "We've spent the first seven games of the season really kind of learning how to play. At this point, they're ready to play."
So much for the youth orientation phase of 2004.
"That's over," Martz said.
Ditto for that embarrassing 31-14 pratfall to Miami two Sundays ago.
"All that's over," Williams said. "We had a good off week. Guys got away from football, relaxed a little bit. We got some (injured) guys back, and now we're just getting ready for the final run. (In the) second half of the season, I believe we're going to ascend and play much better football."
What happens against New England (6-1), and the following Sunday against division rival Seattle (4-3), will help shape the season. Particularly since the Rams play four of their next five on the road following Seattle's visit here.
"They're not, I guess, the biggest games on the (schedule), but I think they kind of define where this team's heading," offensive guard Adam Timmerman said. "I think there's a lot to be said over these next two games. Definitely Seattle, because it's a division game. This one (New England), just being that they're one of the top teams."
The calendar also has something to do with the heightened sense of urgency.
"It's November," safety Adam Archuleta said. "And everybody knows that the games you win in November and December really start to establish the kind of football team you are. So this is the meat of our season. This is where we really have to start to excel and get on a roll."
But there's even more to Sunday's game for Archuleta, Williams, and Timmerman. For them, and the rest of the 19 Super Bowl XXXVI veterans still around, Sunday's game IS more meaningful simply because the opposition is the Patriots.
"For me it is," Archuleta said. "Absolutely. It was my rookie season, and it was my first Super Bowl experience. This is my first chance to play against them again. I feel like we kind of had something taken away from us that I would like back. So it means a little something to me."
Unless the teams meet again in some future Super Bowl, this could be the last crack Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Williams and Timmerman get at the Patriots. The teams won't meet again in the regular season until 2008.
Winning Sunday won't erase what happened in Super Bowl XXXVI. It won't bring another Lombardi Trophy to St. Louis. But it would be a victory ... over the Patriots.
Doing so is easier said than done. Against New England:
You don't want to fall behind early and be forced to play catch-up ball. The Patriots have scored first in 15 consecutive games.
You don't want to trail late. The Patriots have won an astounding 32 straight games when leading entering the fourth quarter. That's a league high.
Even with a late lead, you can't let up. Quarterback Tom Brady has 16 fourth-quarter comebacks to his credit since midway through the 2001 season.
"They talk a lot about getting each game to the fourth quarter with a chance to win," Rams offensive tackle Grant Williams said.
Or at least the Patriots did when he played for Bill Belichick there in 2000 and 2001.
"It's the mentality that they're not going to run off and leave any people in games," Grant Williams said. "But it's going to come down to the wire, and that's the time you don't make mistakes."
If it gets to that, the Patriots have an uncanny knack for making the other team blink first. The Rams know this better than most.
Re: Revenge isn't on Rams' minds
It may not be on the players minds, but it's on mine.JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
"HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"Adm. William "Bull" Halsey
-11-08-2004 #3RamTime Guest
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