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Chandler makes his mark in Rams' loss

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  • Chandler makes his mark in Rams' loss

    Chandler makes his mark in Rams' loss
    By Bill Coats

    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Rams backup quarterback Chris Chandler will turn 39 in October - ancient by NFL standards. But he proved Thursday night on the Edward Jones Dome turf that plenty of life remains in his arm. And his legs.

    On the Rams' first possession in their exhibition-opening 13-10 overtime loss to Chicago, first-team QB Marc Bulger directed a 12-play, 64-yard march that ended with a 33-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins. Then Bulger handed off to Chandler, who performed like the 17-year NFL veteran that he is.

    Though Chandler has called coach Mike Martz's intricate attack "the most challenging offense I've ever been in," he was more than efficient at the controls. Chandler completed eight of nine passes for 108 of the Rams' 222 passing yards. He also engineered the team's only touchdown drive, a four-play, 86-yard march that took only 2 minutes off the clock.

    "He did a great job," Martz said. "For a guy his age, he gets plenty of zip on the ball. I was very pleased with his performance."

    Chandler said: "I felt like I saw everything the way I was supposed to see it and threw the ball well. When you have an understanding of this offense, it's really a fun one to work within."

    The TD march began with a 2-yard run by running back Steven Jackson, the team's No. 1 draft choice. Then Chandler hooked up with second-year wide receiver Shaun McDonald for a 40-yard gain. On the next play, Chandler lofted a pass for wideout Kevin Curtis, who had sprinted past the defense.

    When cornerback Eric Kelly hauled down Curtis, the pass interference call gave the Rams an additional 30 yards and a first down at the Chicago 14. Two plays later, Chandler nimbly spun away from a pair of rushing defenders, sprinted to his right and hit fullback Joey Goodspeed, who scampered 13 yards to the end zone.

    Bulger was impressed with Chandler's mobility.

    "He was running around a lot more than I thought he could," Bulger said.

    After the Bears punted, Chandler had the offense moving again. He hit Jackson twice with short tosses, then on successive snaps connected with McDonald near the right sideline for 8 yards, Curtis for 19 down the middle and McDonald again on the right side for 9. With 33 seconds to go, the Rams had advanced to the Chicago 39.

    "He stepped in there and made some plays," said McDonald, who led receivers with five catches for 78 yards. "You're not in the league for that long for no reason."

    An interception halted the drive, but Chandler wasn't culpable. His pass down the left sideline nestled into Curtis' arms, but Kelly charged up from behind and snatched the ball away.

    "I thought I had it and ... the next thing I know, he had the ball," Curtis said. "He just kind of wrestled it away from me."

    That finished Chandler's night, but it was a productive one.

    "He put the ball right on people, right in their chest," Curtis said. "I was impressed. I think everyone was."

    Bulger finished three of six passing for 57 yards. Rookie Jeff Smoker, the team's sixth-round draft choice, played the entire second half. He hit on seven of 14 passes for 81 yards, without an interception.

    "I had my ups and downs," said Smoker, a Michigan State product. "I would've liked to be perfect, but realistically, I didn't expect to be. But I thought I made some really good throws."

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • Nick
    Rams' bullpen does the job
    by Nick
    Rams' bullpen does the job
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Dec. 05 2004

    Chris Chandler has seen Marc Bulger go down - and go down hard - on more than
    one occasion this season. But this time, Bulger was slumped over, holding his

    "And then he started running off the field, waving," Chandler said.

    Waving for Chandler to take over. Like clockwork, you can count on Chandler at
    quarterback for the Rams once every 10 years. He played in 10 games for the Los
    Angeles Rams in 1994. On Sunday he made his St. Louis Rams debut at quarterback
    when Bulger went down with a sprained right shoulder late in the first quarter.

    The Rams got just enough passing from Chandler, with plenty of runs sprinkled
    in from rookie Steven Jackson, to sweep the season series from rival San
    Francisco with a grinding 16-6 victory at the Edward Jones Dome.

    There weren't many points, or style points, for that matter. The offensive
    showing was a far cry from the "Greatest Show on Turf." Sunday's point total
    was the lowest for the Rams in a victory since a 15-14 bloodletting over the
    New York Giants in 2001.

    Nonetheless, a victory it was, something the Rams had accomplished only once
    since mid- October.

    "There's winning and there's death," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "And
    we won today. So come check with me next week."

    The Rams have been doing a lot of "dying" lately, losing four of their previous
    five games. But Sunday's victory evened their season record at 6-6, gave them a
    5-0 mark in the NFC West and kept their sagging division and playoff hopes

    "We needed it," safety Adam Archuleta said. "We needed a win. We needed the
    defense to play well. We needed a confidence booster back there.

    "We've got to get some momentum. We've got four more games. We're still there.
    The season is far from over."

    Chandler threw for 216 yards and a touchdown. Jackson, replacing the injured
    Marshall Faulk, rushed for 119 yards. Wide receiver Torry Holt had a
    season-high 10 receptions for a season-high 160 yards.

    Holt scored the only touchdown of the game on a 22-yard reception from Chandler
    with 9 minutes 29 seconds to play in the first half. Just two plays earlier,
    Holt hauled in a grossly underthrown Chandler lob for 40 yards.

    "On that deep ball, Torry's so fast," Chandler said. "You have to release it
    and throw it far, early. When I was getting ready to throw it, he was only 15,
    18 yards down field."

    So Chandler kind of hesitated on his follow-through....
    -12-05-2004, 11:34 PM
  • RamWraith
    Jokes get old fast for Rams, Chandler
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Dec. 09 2004

    Rams coach Mike Martz isn't a big fan of the Chris Chandler age jokes.

    "He's not 500 years old," Martz said Wednesday. "I think he's 38. It doesn't
    matter how old he is. He can play."

    Actually, Chandler is 39. This is his 17th season in the National Football
    League. He has played for seven NFL teams, including two stints with the Rams.
    On Sunday he makes his 151st NFL start, 154th if you count playoffs, replacing
    the injured Marc Bulger against Carolina.

    When punter Sean Landeta was released two weeks ago, Chandler became the oldest
    player on the Rams' roster. The "old man" jokes only intensified.

    "You name it, I get all kinds of things," Chandler said. "We saw Steve Bono
    walking off the field Sunday, and Marshall (Faulk) kept asking me if I came in
    the league before Steve Bono did."

    Bono, now an alumni coordinator for the San Francisco *****, came into the NFL
    in 1985, just three seasons before Chandler's rookie season in Indianapolis.

    "Actually, nowadays, I laugh at it," Chandler said. "A few years ago, it would
    kind of bother me. But being as old as I am, and being in the league as long as
    I have been, and playing at the level I'm playing at, I kind of hang my hat on
    that now."

    Despite spending much of his career with lousy teams, Chandler has made two Pro
    Bowls and played in a Super Bowl. He has thrown more than 4,000 passes. At this
    stage of his football like, he feels that he has nothing to prove. He no longer
    worries about stats.

    "Now I'm playing to have fun for myself," Chandler said. "But mainly, I'm
    playing for all the other guys in this locker room. They're counting on me, and
    the only thing I want to do is stand up for those guys."

    The Rams certainly need Chandler to stand up and make something happen. Bulger
    could miss a couple of games, and the team is in the thick of a playoff race
    despite a 6-6 record.

    "That's the best thing about it," Chandler said. "We're playing a meaningful
    game in December, and there's a lot of teams who aren't. So that's what makes
    it a lot more exciting."

    Until Bulger went down with a bruised throwing shoulder late in the first
    quarter against San Francisco, Chandler hadn't thrown a pass this season. He
    served as Jeff Wilkins' holder against New England and Seattle early last month
    when Dane Looker was sidelined with a sprained ankle. But that was it for
    playing time.

    After three months of serving as the scout team quarterback, running...
    -12-10-2004, 04:01 PM
  • RamWraith
    Chandler and Rams have game to forget
    by RamWraith
    By Jeff Gordon
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Rams coach Mike Martz was determined to play “fast and furious” offensive football Sunday. He held nothing back with his ambitious game plan.

    Mad Mike apparently forgot that ancient Chris Chandler was running his attack in place of injured quarterback Marc Bulger. He was also on the road, matched up against a strong, well-coached, highly motivated defensive team.

    He didn’t have top running backs Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson. He also had greenhorn right tackle Blaine Saipaia matched against Panthers elite pass rusher Julius Peppers.

    So the results were predictable -- the creaking Chandler threw six--SIX!--interceptions as the Rams lost 20-7 at Carolina.

    The Panthers knocked the Rams, 6-7, out of the NFC West lead while enhancing their own wild-card playoff hopes. (Seattle regained the NFC West lead with a spirited 27-23 victory at Minnesota.)

    Along the way, the Rams also lost defensive end Leonard Little, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa and cornerback Travis Fisher, their defensive catalysts, for significant stretches due to illness and injury.

    The injury-riddled Rams competed hard in this game. But they just didn’t have enough to beat the resurgent Panthers on the road, not with the unfortunate Chandler running the show.

    We hate to say “we told you so” about Chandler, but, hey, we told you so. Martz should have hired a contemporary quarterback to back up Bulger this season.


    * Defensive end Bryce Fisher sacked Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme for a 10-yard loss on the Rams’ first defensive play.

    * Chandler’s highlight of the game late in the first quarter, when he launched a 75-yard touchdown pass to Torry Holt to cut Carolina’s lead to 14-7.

    * Fisher raced in to score his second sack of the game on the first play of the second quarter.

    * With a crunching hit on a third-down pass to Muhsin Muhammad, safety Antuan Edwards broke up the play and forced the Panthers to settle for a second-quarter field goal.

    * Running back Arlen Harris managed to bust some moves on his 22-yard pass reception.

    * Cornerback Jerametrius Butler broke up a would-be touchdown to Muhammad in the finals of the first half, playing the fade route perfectly.

    * Harris did a nice job running the ball in the third quarter, breaking runs of nine, 14 and six yards to FINALLY established a ground game.

    * The Rams defense, in turn, stuffed Delhomme on a fourth-and-inches quarterback sneak to turn the ball back over on downs. Give linebacker Robert Thomas much of the credit for thwarting that play.

    * Butler made a nifty interception, his fifth of the season, to keep the Rams alive in fourth quarter. It’s too bad the Rams had no offense...
    -12-13-2004, 06:37 AM
  • RamDez
    Traveling Man
    by RamDez
    Traveling Man
    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    Staff Writer

    Chris Chandler knows almost every feeling an NFL quarterback can experience. From the highest of highs (leading Atlanta to a Super Bowl appearance) to the lowest of lows (myriad injuries), Chandler moves on.

    His newest endeavor is as St. Louis’ backup quarterback behind starter Marc Bulger . Chandler comes to the Rams with an impressive resume. Entering his 17th season, Chandler has accumulated 28,021 passing yards and 168 touchdown passes. He has started for a league-record seven different NFL teams, including time with the Los Angeles version of the Rams.

    Chandler’s best seasons came in Atlanta, where he helped the team to its only Super Bowl appearance in 1998. After a one-season stint with Chicago, where he posted 1,050 passing yards and three touchdowns in limited starts, Chandler got an offer from Rams’ coach Mike Martz that was too good to pass on.

    He could stay in Chicago and resume his backup role or go to St. Louis, where he could be the backup in one the league’s most dangerous offenses. When the Bears gave him his release, it was a no-brainer. He headed south down Interstate 55 to St. Louis, bringing his vast game experience with him.

    Chandler said the idea of playing for Martz and with talented players such as Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce made the choice easy. “It’s great here,” Chandler said. “I respect Coach Martz immensely, and have for quite a while. The talent here is unbelievable and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

    When Chandler signed with St. Louis, the quarterback picture was somewhat muddled. Two-time MVP Kurt Warner was still with the team and Bulger was emerging as one of the league’s better young quarterbacks.

    In addition, the Rams drafted Jeff Smoker in April as the team’s third quarterback. It didn’t take long to see that Chandler was going to be the team’s No. 2 guy heading into the season. St. Louis released Warner at the beginning of June.

    Martz said Chandler is the perfect complement to Bulger. “Veterans always have their way of doing things, and on Chris’ behalf, for a guy that has been as successful as he has been, he’s not done that,” Martz said. “You couldn’t ask for a better situation with a veteran like Chris.”

    Chandler spent most of the early parts of training camp knocking the rust off, but by the time the Bears came to town for a scrimmage Saturday, Chandler was ready. In that scrimmage, Chandler completed all six of his attempts for 58 yards, setting up an Arlen Harris’ touchdown run.

    Chandler has had few problems adjusting to the Rams’ complicated offense, but admits he still has learning to do.
    “All I know about this offense is that there is so much that gets put in,” Chandler said. “Mentally, it’s the most challenging offense I’ve ever been in. So from that...
    -08-11-2004, 12:19 AM
  • Nick
    Martz says he won`t scale back Rams' offense for Chandler's start
    by Nick
    Martz says he won`t scale back Rams' offense for Chandler's start
    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    ST. LOUIS - (KRT) - After 17 seasons in the NFL, quarterback Chris Chandler can fully appreciate the opportunity at hand.

    Chandler will be the starting quarterback for the St. Louis Rams against the Carolina Panthers at 3:15 p.m. CST on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

    Chandler is starting in place of Marc Bulger, who could be sidelined from 1 to 3 games because of a bruised throwing shoulder.

    "I`m not going to play another 10 years," Chandler said. "When you`re younger, it seems like your future is infinite. As you get a little older, every opportunity you get you should really cherish, respect, and go out there and enjoy the heck out of them."

    At 39, Chandler became the elder statesmen on the Rams` roster after punter Sean Landeta was released two weeks ago.

    Chandler said he hears plenty of jokes about his age.

    "You name it, I get all kinds of things," Chandler said. "We saw Steve Bono walking off the field Sunday, and Marshall (Faulk) kept asking me if I came in the league before Steve Bono did."

    Bono, who serves as the alumni coordinator for the San Francisco *****, entered the NFL in 1985. Chandler arrived three years later in 1998 as a third-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts.

    "We used to give it to Landeta because he was like 95 (years old) or something," Rams center Andy McCollum said. "I just like for them to give it to somebody other than me because I`m the oldest in our (offensive line) room. I`m the one who gets it."

    Carolina cornerback Ricky Manning, 24 years old and playing in his second season in the NFL, even took a little shot at Chandler`s age this week.

    "You know, I couldn`t even tell you. I don`t remember," Manning said when asked if he`d ever seen Chandler play. "I probably just played with him on Tecmo Bowl or something, one of those video games. And, if y`all don`t know Tecmo Bowl, it was one of the first Nintendo games."

    Chandler said the age jokes don`t bother him anymore.

    "Actually, nowadays, I laugh at it," Chandler said. "A few years ago, it would kind of bother me. But being as old as I am, and being in the league as long as I have been, and playing at the level I'm playing at, I kind of hang my hat on that now."

    Rams coach Mike Martz wasn`t so amused with an Internet columnist who mocked Chandler because of his age.

    "He`s not 500 years old," Martz said. "It doesn`t matter how old he is, he can play. He has terrific legs. Can any of you guys go at nine on the treadmill for 35 minutes? Maybe you can, but I know I can`t. That and the fact that his arm strength...
    -12-12-2004, 01:53 AM