By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Tuesday, Oct. 05 2004

By shoring up three areas of vulnerability, the Rams cruised to just their
third win at San Francisco since 1990.

The Niners defeated the visiting Rams 37-13 in 2002 and 30-10 last season, so
Sunday night's 24-14 victory was especially sweet. Defensive end Leonard
Little, who had seven tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery and three hits on
quarterback Tim Rattay, said the intensity of the rivalry with the ***** "is
still there. There's a lot of spirited hitting when have you two rivals like
the ***** and the Rams. We won (Sunday), but we have no illusions: We know
they'll be tough when we play them again," on Dec. 5 at the Edward Jones Dome.

First on the Rams' to-do list, though, is getting back into solid contention in
the NFC West. They will take a 2-2 record to Seattle on Sunday. The Seahawks,
who had a bye, lead the division at 3-0.

The Rams' chances surely will be enhanced if they can continue some tendencies
that surfaced at Monster Park: stop the run, win the turnover competition and
cut back on penalties.

After yielding an average of 164.7 rushing yards a game in their first three
outings, the Rams limited San Francisco to 58 yards on 19 carries. The *****
picked up only 3.1 yards a carry, compared with the 5.4 combined by Arizona,
Atlanta and New Orleans.

"It's hard to explain why we had troubles before, but we did better,"
linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said. "We can only hope that this is just the
start."

The Rams entered Sunday's game as the NFL's only team without a takeaway. They
were minus-6 in that department. But Little recovered a fumble and cornerback
Jerametrius Butler intercepted a pass, and the offense converted those into 10
points. The Rams committed no turnovers of their own. "It makes a lot of
difference," Butler said. "We could've had some interceptions the first three
games, but it felt awful good" to get the first one.

In the first three games, the Rams averaged almost 10 penalties, for an average
assessment of nearly 72 yards. They were flagged five times vs. the Niners, for
43 yards.

"We played disciplined football," coach Mike Martz said at his Monday news
conference. "We're getting better, we really are."

Team honors Coady for emergency start

Utilityman Rich Coady was called to emergency duty again, as Adam Archuleta's
sore back and tight hamstring restricted him to passing-down situations. Coady
started at Archuleta's strong safety spot a week after filling in for Aeneas
Williams, temporarily moved to cornerback, at free safety.

"Adam didn't practice all week, and it would be unusual for us to play anyone,
no matter who they are, if they hadn't practiced all week," Martz said. "His
back is still a concern, and it has limited him. I'm not sure what his status
will be for next week."

Coady was named the team's defensive player of the week after getting 10
tackles, two pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a quarterback hit.