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  • Holt, Rams Bust Out in 28-3 Win

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Apparently, Torry Holt didn’t get the memo.

    For the receiver known as “Big Game,” Holt treated the Rams’ third preseason game as if the Lombardi Trophy was on the line. Scratch that, he treated the first half, the second quarter in particular, as though a championship was on the line. Holt, who really doesn’t know any speed except full, lit up the Redskins to the tune of 143 yards on seven catches and a touchdown. Holt called it a night after the first half.

    The Rams routed Washington 28-3 on Friday night at the Edward Jones Dome with a performance that almost certainly made Don Coryell, who attended, proud. St. Louis improved to 1-2 in the preseason with one game to play. Washington dropped to 2-2.

    Holt’s play sparked a struggling offense to a 14-3 lead at the half that the Rams would not relinquish. Rams’ coach Mike Martz said Holt wasn’t supposed to be as big a part of the offense as he was, but a jammed right index finger to Isaac Bruce made Holt the top target.

    “We didn’t necessarily want to give him the ball that much,” Martz said. “We wanted to get Torry the ball deep. Torry was outstanding.”

    The starting offensive unit had made it a goal to get in the endzone against Washington after failing to in the first pair of preseason games. When the clock started running in the second half, the Rams’ offense joined it. With 9:09 left in the second quarter, it accomplished its goal. Bulger hit Holt for a 7-yard touchdown pass on an impressive 74-yard drive that lasted just over five and a half minutes.

    Holt, who is known around Rams Park for his singing prowess, showed his dance moves after the touchdown. Unfortunately, Holt spun the ball on the ground in the face of beaten Washington defender Shawn Springs, and was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

    That penalty was one of the few negatives on a night full of bright spots. Key plays on the drive included rookie running back Steven Jackson’s 18-yard gain off left tackle on the drive’s second play. A 19-yard catch by Dane Looker on third-and-15 and an 18-yard strike to Holt set up the touchdown.

    Bulger called it a night after his touchdown pass, finishing six-of-12 for 78 yards. Running back Marshall Faulk ended his night a possession earlier with 11 yards on four carries.

    Martz said Bulger would continue to get better as he takes more snaps.

    “Some of those routes you just have to throw blind,” Martz said. “You can’t see them, they just disappear. He just needs to play.”

    St. Louis’ defense held the Redskins to a three and out on the next possession and Chandler entered the game. Chandler wasted no time finding Holt, hitting him for a 14-yard gain on the second play. That drive stalled and it appeared momentum might swing Washington’s way as Patrick Ramsey hit Taylor Jacobs for a 44-yard gain over the head of cornerback Kevin Garrett, making the start for the injured Travis Fisher. Garrett didn’t give up on the play and punched the ball loose. FS Aeneas Williams came over to scoop up the ball, the Rams’ first defensive takeaway of the preseason.

    Williams returned it 5 yards, setting the stage for Holt’s next big play. After an incompletion, Chandler floated a perfect deep ball to Holt, who caught it in stride on a 58-yard pass play, and was brought down at the 1-yard line. Chandler did the honors on the next play with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

    Chandler continued his impressive preseason showing, once again proving his value as an experienced backup quarterback. Chandler finished his night nine-of-15 for 190 yards.

    Chandler said his performance was helped by the improved play along the offensive line. “I think those guys did a great job,” Chandler said. “As quarterbacks, there is so much to worry about that you don’t worry about what those guys up front are doing.”

    The offense wasn’t the only part of the Rams clicking. Aside from the 44-yard completion to Jacobs, the defense held its own. If it weren’t for the penalties against St. Louis on Washington’s first drive, the Redskins probably wouldn’t have scored. As it was, Washington finished with 205 yards, but only 153 net yards after the opening drive. Defensive end Leonard Little said the defense had a meeting earlier in the week in an effort to get the team to play at a higher level.

    “We had to (play better),” Little said. “We made a real effort this week to try to focus on the run and making them pass the ball. We were able to do that.”

    The St. Louis offense continued where it left off in the first half with the first possession of the third quarter. Sparked by a 32-yard strike from Chandler to Shaun McDonald, the Rams traveled 70 yards on 10 plays. Jackson capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown burst around right end. Wilkins’ extra point gave St. Louis a 21-3 edge.

    The second half turned out to be the Steven Jackson show, as he rushed 17 times for 103 yards after halftime, and finished with 25 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown. The rookie showed the power and speed that made him the first running back taken in the draft. When Jackson left with slightly more than five minutes to play, the Edward Jones Dome crowd gave him one of the loudest ovations of the night.

    Jackson said he is getting closer to being the type of back he wants to be. “I’m feeling really good, especially in the running game right now,” Jackson said. “I’m feeling comfortable and I understand most of the schemes. I still have some things to work on, but that comes with the territory.”

    On the Rams’ next possession, Chandler continued to have the hot hand, finding McDonald again, this time for 35 yards and a touchdown. Wilkins booted his fourth extra point for a 28-3 advantage.

    With the big lead, Martz went to third quarterback Jeff Smoker on St. Louis’ next possession. Martz said earlier in the week he planned to use Bulger and Chandler for the rest of the preseason, but the large lead made it easy to make the switch.

    The first quarter proved to be relatively uneventful. The Redskins scored first on John Hall’s 28-yard field goal. Two Rams’ possessions garnered no points. Washington’s drive went 62 yards on 11 plays with the help of a pair of costly St. Louis penalties helping it along the way.

    “I feel good about the performance in all three phases,” Martz said. “This week was really kind of a week for this team to come together. We’re excited.”

    Maybe, just maybe, Holt knew that in advance.

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  • Nick
    Rams put one in victory column
    by Nick
    Rams put one in victory column
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Aug. 28 2004

    For a week, at least, Rams Nation can exhale.

    On Friday at Edward Jones Dome, the pass-blocking was much improved against
    Washington. So was the defense. And despite some erratic throws by Marc Bulger
    - so erratic that he drew a smattering of boos from the home crowd - he left
    with a 98.6 passer rating after tossing a touchdown pass to Torry Holt.

    Exhibition or not, it added up to a much-improved performance by the Rams after
    Monday night's debacle in Kansas City, and a much-needed 28-3 victory over the
    Redskins by the previously winless Rams.

    "This is the team that we see every day in practice," coach Mike Martz said. "I
    know there's a lot of panic and everything - but this is the team that we see
    every day."

    Perhaps it was in homage to Don Coryell, the offensive legend whom Martz
    studied and idealized as a player and young coach in California. Coryell was
    honored before the game, and in "Air" Coryell style, the Rams aired it out
    Friday against the Redskins, throwing 22 times in the first half.

    "I wanted to get some receivers involved, and I wanted to get Marc going a
    little bit," Martz said. "He missed a couple throws early in the game, and then
    settled down and had a real nice drive."

    Bulger completed six of 12 passes for 78 yards before giving way to Chris
    Chandler midway through the second quarter. Chandler, in his best outing of the
    exhibition season, completed nine of 15 attempts for 190 yards. His passer
    rating was identical to Bulger's (98.6).

    Many of those passes were deep shots - and none deeper than the 58-yard
    completion from Chandler to Holt late in the second quarter. Holt beat Fred
    Smoot on the post pattern, getting dragged down at the 1. Chandler, 38, scored
    on a quarterback sneak on the next play, giving the Rams a 14-3 lead with 3
    minutes 47 seconds to play in the first half.

    "Torry ran a great route," Chandler said. "The safety held on the inside
    (leaving the middle open), and Torry just outran everybody."

    Chandler also completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Shaun McDonald late in the
    third quarter.

    "He showed why he's been in the league so long and why he's stuck around,"
    McDonald said. "He still has it after all these years."

    Things started out slowly for the Rams, on both sides of the ball. Washington
    took the opening kickoff and marched 62 yards for a field goal. At this point
    in the proceedings the Rams had been outscored 30-10 in the first half this...
    -08-27-2004, 11:46 PM
  • Nick
    Rams Recap: What a difference four days make
    by Nick
    Rams Recap: What a difference four days make
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Friday, Aug. 27 2004

    Geez, what a difference four days make.

    The Rams relocated their urgency Friday night. Coach Mike Martz stormed up and
    down the sidelines, ripping off his headset, dogging officials, riding the
    game's emotional ebb and flow.

    His players answered his call for more inspired play. The Rams looked nothing
    like the disorganized, disinterested team that rolled over in a 24-7 loss four
    days ago in Kansas City.

    They got decent blocking from their makeshift offensive line and sturdy effort
    from their starting front seven. The result: A thorough 28-3 preseason victory
    over the Washington Redskins at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Admittedly, the Redskins played an absolutely horrendous football game. But
    that's their problem. The citizens of Rams Nation wanted to see their team step
    forward -- and it did.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger threw some strangely off-target passes while playing
    his 1 ½ quarters, but he marched the team, avoided turnovers and left the game
    with a 7-3 lead. His 98.6 quarterback rating told the story of his game.

    Back-up Chris Chandler took it from there and threw the ball around The Ed with
    great confidence and accuracy, completing nine of 15 passes for 190 yards. Dare
    we say he throws the long ball better than Bulger?

    Nah. But he did put on quite a display while proving he has a few miles left in
    his 900-year-old body.

    Rookie running back Steven Jackson put on a show as well, gaining 125 yards on
    25 carries and breaking many big runs with his unique combination of power and
    speed. Why, again, did he drop so low in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft?

    All-Pro receiver Torry Holt reminded us that he is still Torry Holt, catching
    seven passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.


    THE GOOD

    * With Don Coryell in the house, Martz put a few sprinkles on his vanilla
    preseason offense. We liked the end-around pitch to receiver Isaac Bruce, who
    attempted to hit Holt downfield with a bomb. Alas, his long throw came up just
    a bit short.


    * Defensive end Bryce Fisher disrupted Rock Cartwright's second-and-10 sweep,
    then linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa tackled Cartwright for a two-yard loss. That
    led to the first Redskins punt of the game.


    * Jackson's second carry of the game went for 18 yards off left tackle; the
    big kid showed his explosiveness while getting into the Redskins secondary.


    * Receiver Dane Looker absorbed massive punishment after going up to get a
    19-yard pass from Bulger – but he...
    -08-27-2004, 11:39 PM
  • RamWraith
    Gordo-Good, Bad and Ugly
    by RamWraith
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Friday, Aug. 27 2004

    Geez, what a difference four days make.

    The Rams relocated their urgency Friday night. Coach Mike Martz stormed up and
    down the sidelines, ripping off his headset, dogging officials, riding the
    game's emotional ebb and flow.

    His players answered his call for more inspired play. The Rams looked nothing
    like the disorganized, disinterested team that rolled over in a 24-7 loss four
    days ago in Kansas City.

    They got decent blocking from their makeshift offensive line and sturdy effort
    from their starting front seven. The result: A thorough 28-3 preseason victory
    over the Washington Redskins at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Admittedly, the Redskins played an absolutely horrendous football game. But
    that's their problem. The citizens of Rams Nation wanted to see their team step
    forward -- and it did.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger threw some strangely off-target passes while playing
    his 1 ½ quarters, but he marched the team, avoided turnovers and left the game
    with a 7-3 lead. His 98.6 quarterback rating told the story of his game.

    Back-up Chris Chandler took it from there and threw the ball around The Ed with
    great confidence and accuracy, completing nine of 15 passes for 190 yards. Dare
    we say he throws the long ball better than Bulger?

    Nah. But he did put on quite a display while proving he has a few miles left in
    his 900-year-old body.

    Rookie running back Steven Jackson put on a show as well, gaining 125 yards on
    25 carries and breaking many big runs with his unique combination of power and
    speed. Why, again, did he drop so low in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft?

    All-Pro receiver Torry Holt reminded us that he is still Torry Holt, catching
    seven passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.


    THE GOOD

    * With Don Coryell in the house, Martz put a few sprinkles on his vanilla
    preseason offense. We liked the end-around pitch to receiver Isaac Bruce, who
    attempted to hit Holt downfield with a bomb. Alas, his long throw came up just
    a bit short.


    * Defensive end Bryce Fisher disrupted Rock Cartwright's second-and-10 sweep,
    then linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa tackled Cartwright for a two-yard loss. That
    led to the first Redskins punt of the game.


    * Jackson's second carry of the game went for 18 yards off left tackle; the
    big kid showed his explosiveness while getting into the Redskins secondary.


    * Receiver Dane Looker absorbed massive punishment after going up to get a
    19-yard pass from Bulger – but he hung onto the ball. Nice.


    *...
    -08-28-2004, 06:52 AM
  • 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
    shoulder.

    "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
    alive.

    "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
  • Nick
    Rams Roll Past Redskins 28-3
    by Nick
    Rams Roll Past Redskins 28-3

    JIM SUHR

    Associated Press


    ST. LOUIS - Torry Holt and the St. Louis Rams finally had something to celebrate.

    Holt's 7-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter was the first in three games this preseason for the Rams' starting offense, prompting a hip-gyrating dance that satisfied a restless crowd and helped St. Louis roll past the Washington Redskins 28-3 on Friday night.

    St. Louis' first-string defense also got into the act, forcing their first turnover of the preseason in the second quarter. Cornerback Kevin Garrett stripped the ball from Taylor Jacobs after a long completion from Patrick Ramsey and Aeneas Williams recovered.

    Two plays later, Rams backup quarterback Chris Chandler hooked up with Holt on a 58-yard pass to set up Chandler's 1-yard sneak into the end zone, which gave St. Louis a 14-3 lead at halftime.

    Steven Jackson had 125 yards on 25 carries for the Rams (1-2), including a 5-yard TD run on the Rams' first possession of the third quarter. The rookie gained 103 of those yards in the second half, largely against Redskin reserves, before being pulled late in the fourth quarter.

    Holt finished with seven catches for 143 yards, helping to please a home crowd that grew restless after watching their team produce just 13 points in the first two preseason games.

    Chandler was 9-of-15 for 190 yards and a 35-yard TD pass to Shaun McDonald in the third quarter.

    Starter Marc Bulger was 6-for-12 for 78 yards, including the scoring pass to Holt, but drew boos after overthrowing wide open receivers on several occasions.

    Ramsey and Mark Brunell did little to resolve Washington's quarterback debate. Ramsey played the first half, but completed just 5-of-10 passes for 81 yards before giving way to Brunell, acquired in an offseason trade to challenge Ramsey for the job. Brunell was 5-of-8 for 28 yards.

    Redskins coach Joe Gibbs has said he won't decide on a regular-season starter until at least next week.

    In a 24-7 loss Monday at Kansas City - an outing Bulger called "embarrassing" - Rams quarterbacks were sacked five times and pressured relentlessly. But St. Louis' patchwork offensive line held their own against the Redskins, allowing just one sack and giving Chandler time to throw.

    Clinton Portis had 13 yards on three carries for Washington.

    John Hall's 28-yard field goal with 8:06 left in the first quarter was Washington's only score.

    Notes:@ Redskins starting OT Chris Samuels sprained his right ankle in the second quarter and did not return; X-rays were negative. ... Rams G Tom Nutten sprained his right big toe in the third quarter and did not return ... Before the game, the Rams released T Jason Lenzmeier. ... Former St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers head coach...
    -08-27-2004, 11:41 PM
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