Sunday, November 27, 2005

HOUSTON -

- Ridiculous. Dumbfounded. Stunned. Shocked. Those are about the only adjectives I can come up with right now to describe what just transpired. I'll be the first to admit it, at halftime, I thought the Rams were finished. Maybe this win won't lead to bigger things this year, in fact it probably won't, but take a moment to enjoy this. Forget all of the bad things that happened (though I'll get to those in a moment) and sit back and enjoy this win. Forget that it all happened against a team that's won just a single game this season. This was a special win for a banged-up team that seemed dead to rights.

- A few freaky things to think about real quick. The score of this game is the same final in the Rams' comeback against Seattle last season. Joe Vitt showed the Rams the tape of that game earlier this week.

- Personally, I believe this game was a better comeback. Considering all of the factors including that the Rams scored 10 points in 22 seconds without a lot of their best players, it has to be considered better.

- My game ball goes to, who else, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The kid is like nothing I've ever seen before. I don't mean that in a "He's a destined Hall of Famer" kind of way. What I mean is, how many quarterbacks have you seen that have been thrown into a game in the circumstances that he was and played with such unbelievable poise, calmness and precision. I have seen one. His name is Ryan Fitzpatrick.

- Regardless of Jamie Martin's status next week, Fitzpatrick has to be the starting quarterback. It's pretty much that simple. Nothing against Martin, but there is an obvious dynamic that Fitzpatrick brings to the table that needs to be explored further.

- Has anyone seen a better thrown ball this season than Fitzpatrick's 43-yard strike to Isaac Bruce at the end of the game?

- How'd you like to have your first two career touchdown passes be to Bruce and Torry Holt. That's got to be a pretty cool feeling for Fitzpatrick.

- Speaking of Holt and Bruce, it seems they are still taken for granted. Keep in mind these two are playing with fairly serious injuries and still producing. I know both have missed some balls that they would normally get, but they are still playing like Hall of Famers.

- Fitzpatrick's first completed pass was a nice 20-yard shot to Bruce, but unfortunately he won't be getting the game ball. Bruce went over 12,000 yards on the catch. I guess Fitzpatrick had to settle for the actual game ball for his performance.

- This is why Jeff Wilkins is one of the most valuable members of this team. There was a sequence at the end of the game where Wilkins kicked a perfect onsides kick, hits a clutch 47-yard field goal to force overtime, boots a perfect squib kick at the end of regulation and then boomed a kickoff out of the back of the end zone to start overtime. That's what a big-time kicker does. On a day where plenty of kickers muffed easy kicks or chances to win games, Wilkins proved his worth once again.

- It was just a matter of time before Kevin Curtis broke one of those screen passes for a touchdown. Not bad for a possession receiver, eh Neil O'Donnell?

- I'm not sure if it's a good thing that the player in the secondary I was most impressed with Sunday was rookie safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. Atogwe didn't get a ton of chances, but he made a huge play to get David Carr down and get the Rams defense off the field.

- It was another long day for the St. Louis secondary. Obviously, there are plenty of injuries, but this isn't the first time this group has struggled. Andre Johnson is an excellent receiver, but let's face it Chris Johnson had plenty of problems in his first start. Jerome Carter also had some mistakes as did Ron Bartell. Of course, that's the only way for those young guys to get better. At this point, things will almost have to get better because with the injuries and struggles, they can't get much worse.

- One play I didn't understand the ruling on: Mike Furrey appears to have an interception on the sideline. The official explanation when the referees called it was that Furrey was out of bounds when he made the play. After a booth review, the offficial came back and said that Furrey didn't have control of the ball so the call on the field stands. Now, it may well be true that Furrey didn't have control, but if the review was meant to see if he was in bounds or not, how is this a reasonable explanation? It's not a big deal now, but it might have been had Houston managed to score. Furrey, by the way, was solid again in the secondary.

- Speaking of weird calls, what was with the U.N. summitt that was held after Curtis' touchdown? There were no flags on the play so there is no way they could have called illegal formation three minutes after the play. That would be like them having a discussion after the playing and going player by player to see if one of them was holding. Just odd.

- The offensive line was put in a bad position because of injuries and the departure of left tackle Orlando Pace. It held up OK in the second half, of course it doesn't hurt to have a quarterback such as Fitzpatrick that can move around in the pocket. At first glance, Alex Barron seemed to do quite well at left tackle. Still, it would be nice to see a group that gets more push in the running game.

- Can someone other than Ryan Pickett make some plays on the defensive line?

- Trev Faulk did just fine in his first start. He might not be the best athlete on the field, but he knows the game and seemed to be around the ball a lot. He really knocked the stuffing out of Marco Coleman on the onside kick.

- I'll have a full game story and notebook up within the next hour so be sure to check back for complete coverage.

- I also want to take a moment to send my thoughts and prayers to friend Jack Snow, who fell ill Saturday and had to miss Sunday's game in the broadcast booth. Get well soon, Mr. Snow.