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  1. #1
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    Cool Sunday's victory shows importance of running game

    Sunday's victory shows importance of running game
    By Bryan Burwell
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Sep. 13 2004

    Of all the days on a pro football calendar, Mondays are usually the best
    indicator of the delicate, almost razor-thin line that separates winners from
    losers in the National Football League. All across the NFL map yesterday, 32
    head coaches stood in front of banks of microphones for their Monday
    post-mortems, with the losers offering begrudging excuses and regrets and the
    winners tossing around compliments free and easy.

    It hardly mattered how many mistakes were made, how many yards were gained, how
    many tackles were missed or made. The harsh reality of the NFL is based on one
    simple fact of life:

    Did you win or lose on Sunday?

    On Monday afternoon at Rams Park, Mike Martz was one of the lucky ones,
    comforted in the knowledge that winning cures all the evils of the somewhat
    bumpy road his Rams encountered in their 17-10 season-opening victory over the
    Arizona Cardinals. Martz knew he could stand there at his afternoon news
    conference armed with the only statistic that mattered now that the race for
    Paul Tagilabue's silver Super Bowl trophy has begun.

    The Rams won.

    They are 1-0 and everything about this Monday just felt a lot better than last
    year's Day After Opening Day. Remember how after last year's 23-13 loss to the
    New York Giants, Martz spent most of that uncomfortable day trying to explain
    why Kurt Warner's head was all scrambled, and why Marc Bulger was now going to
    take the starting QB job after Warner's six-fumble disaster in the Meadowlands?

    Yet oddly enough, there are still some odd similarities between those two
    Mondays, because there's just as much uncertainty about exactly where this
    young season is headed as there was this time last year.

    Sure, there are plenty of positive signs, such as an offense that showed an
    impressive mean streak with a dominant running attack, and a defense that
    limited the Arizona offense to only 10 points. But there are still just as many
    question marks about a team still too prone to turnovers and so prone to
    injuries that you have no idea how long any of this good stuff will last.

    But right now, being 1-0 is still a lot better than being 0-1. So Martz smartly
    accentuated all the positives of his undefeated patchwork Rams. And the thing
    that he accentuated the most - and with good reason - was his surprisingly
    productive offensive line, whose nickname ought to be The Musical Chairs for
    all the position switches that these guys have gone through over the past few
    weeks because of injuries, retirements and contract squabbles.

    "They haven't missed a beat," Martz said. "I told our staff today that I felt
    like this is probably the best performance of an offensive line since I've been
    here. Any time you rush for those kind of yards (176 yards, 5.9 yards a carry)
    and don't give up any sacks, that's pretty exceptional."

    Running behind The Musical Chairs, Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson are
    showing that there's good reason to believe that the Rams can vastly improve on
    their anemic running game from last season, when they ranked 30th in the league
    in rushing offense. Even an incurable offensive swashbuckler such as Martz has
    to know how Faulk and Jackson will help Mad Mike. The more they run, the easier
    it will be for Martz to let Bulger go bombs away to Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.

    And if Martz needed any more convincing of how vital it will be to continue to
    emphasize the running game, this is it: 20-0.

    Since 1999, the Rams are 20-0 when they run the ball 30 or more times a game.
    Here's another delicious number: Every time Faulk gains 100 yards rushing - 25
    times as a Ram - St. Louis wins.

    After Sunday's game, right guard Adam Timmerman liked the sound of a Rams
    offense relying on its running game. "I kind of hope so," he said, as a wide
    grin appeared under his thick mustache and goatee. "I'd love to see us get a
    little brutish around here. This offensive line is up to the challenge.
    Hopefully, we'll get that attitude of being more physical, because we love it."




  2. #2
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    Re: Sunday's victory shows importance of running game

    Quote Originally Posted by RamDez
    Since 1999, the Rams are 20-0 when they run the ball 30 or more times a game.
    Here's another delicious number: Every time Faulk gains 100 yards rushing - 25
    times as a Ram - St. Louis wins.
    This is a great stat, but I think it's important to look at it in the context of things. For instance, I'd like to know how often a team rushes for 30+ attempts and doesn't win a game. The 100-yard stat is more impressive to me, to be honest. But I still think this tells you more about the opposition's defense than it does anything about how we should gameplan or run the team.
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Two
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  3. #3
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    Re: Sunday's victory shows importance of running game

    Running the ball controls the clock and keeps the opposing offense off the field. If you can do that consistently, you will win more games than you will lose.
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

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