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  • Rams, Falcons Renew Matchup

    Wednesday, September 15, 2004


    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer


    Isaac Bruce remembers Atlanta well. It wasn’t so long ago that he played the Falcons twice a year in one of the better NFC Western Division rivalries.

    After the Houston Texans entered the league, the divisions were realigned into four groups. Since Atlanta doesn’t exactly border the Pacific Ocean, the Falcons were the odd team out of the NFC West. They joined Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Carolina in the newly-formed NFC South.

    That move promptly ended St. Louis’ rivalry with Atlanta and the Saints. Beginning this week, though, the Rams get to renew old ties. St. Louis (1-0) travels to the Georgia Dome for its second game of the season against the Falcons (1-0).

    WR Isaac Bruce said Wednesday that he is excited to play Atlanta again after an extended absence.

    “I think those were some of the best games I ever played in,” Bruce said. “They were so close. We had fans that go down and they have fans that come up this way. In the past, we’d see each other twice a year and we’d kind of get tired of looking at each other. Inside this locker room and their locker room, I’m sure they are looking at it like one of the biggest games of the year.”

    The Rams own the series lead with a 46-23-2 record since the teams first met in 1966. In the most recent meeting in 2003, St. Louis won 36-0 on Monday Night Football. That game was just one of the debacles the Falcons suffered through last season without quarterback Michael Vick. The difficult campaign led to a changing of the guard, as Atlanta replaced Dan Reeves with Jim Mora Jr.

    Mora Jr. is the son of Jim Mora Sr., who coached New Orleans and Indianapolis. He was the defensive coordinator in San Francisco before taking the Atlanta job. He said he hasn’t had the opportunity to appreciate any kind of rivalry between Atlanta and St. Louis.

    “I don’t know much about it,” Mora Jr. said. “Is it a rivalry? I just don’t feel that. I haven’t been here long enough to know who our rivals are. I haven’t felt it yet.”

    ROSTER SHUFFLE CONTINUES: The Rams brought back tight end Mike Brake as a member of the practice squad. Brake took the vacant spot left by cornerback Dwight Anderson when he was moved to the active roster.

    Anderson moved on to the roster after the release of linebacker Dedrick Roper and tackle Greg Randall.

    In another move, St. Louis released quarterback Russ Michna from the practice squad. Replacing Michna is Drew Wahlroos, a linebacker from Colorado. Wahlroos was a three-year starter for the Buffaloes, where he earned All-Big 12 Conference honors. He spent part of the 2003 training camp with Philadelphia before playing for the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe. He spent this year’s training camp with Tennessee. The Titans released him on July 27.

    The practice squad now has two linebackers (Tony Newson and Wahlroos), two tight ends (Brake and Nick Burley), defensive end D.J. Renteria, running back Dusty McGrorty, tackle Matt Morgan and receiver Michael Coleman.

    INJURY UPDATE: Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa separated his shoulder against Arizona, had it put back in place and strapped a harness on. He played the rest of the game and played well.

    After the game, Rams’ coach Mike Martz said he thought Tinoisamoa could miss as many as four weeks. A positive turn of events led Martz to announce Wednesday that Tinoisamoa is fine and will start against Atlanta.

    “He’ll play, he’s fine, he’s going to start,” Martz said. “I think he’s got interchangeable parts is the only way I can explain it. I am very surprised anytime somebody dislocated a shoulder and comes back in. There is nothing torn in there. He is just going to wear a brace.”

    Trev Faulk tore his hamstring and is likely out for Sunday’s game. Tommy Polley injured his ribs on a special teams play, but will probably play. Those injuries mean there is a good chance that Newson will be called up from the practice squad to boost depth at linebacker.

    Adam Archuleta (lower back spasms), Shaun McDonald (sore knee) and Andy McCollum (lower ankle sprain) are all expected to play against Atlanta.

    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamWraith
    Week 2 Scouting Report: Rams at Atlanta
    by RamWraith
    Tuesday, Sep. 14 2004

    GAME 2: RAMS VS. FALCONS
    Noon Sunday at the Georgia Dome


    The Series

    Sunday marks the 72nd meeting between the former NFC West rivals, with the Rams
    leading the series 46-23-2. The Rams have played only San Francisco (109
    games), Green Bay (87), Chicago (86) and Detroit (79) more often. Since the
    move to St. Louis, the Rams are 10-5 against Atlanta, winning the past seven
    meetings. (And by a combined score of 264-88.)


    The stats

    Rams WR Isaac Bruce is tied for first in the NFL in catches (nine) and tied for
    third in reception yards (112).

    Atlanta's offense went three for three in red-zone touchdowns last week in San
    Francisco.


    News of the day

    It's not official until coach Mike Martz ends his injury information "blackout"
    today, but LB Pisa Tinoisamoa has told friends and fans that his dislocated
    shoulder is fine. He's expected to play against Atlanta.

    * * *

    The Rams released QB Russ Michna from the practice squad Tuesday, paving the
    way to add a linebacker today. A practice squad spot had to be freed up,
    because TE Mike Brake was signed there Saturday after being cut from the active
    roster Friday.

    * * *

    DB Tom Knight was waived off the team's injured reserve list Tuesday after
    being deemed physically able to play.


    Connections

    Atlanta's roster includes LB Jamie Duncan, who was Rams special teams captain
    last season, and former Mizzou TE Dwayne Blakely.

    * * *

    Rams backup QB Chris Chandler played for the Falcons from 1997 to 2001, earning
    two Pro Bowl berths and guiding Atlanta to the Super Bowl in 1998.


    Quotebook: Nov. 2, 2003

    "It's probably arrogant, but we're faster than the Rams. Our
    defense is faster than the Rams' offense and it didn't
    used to be that way. And now it is. That might sound ****y,
    but it's a fact."

    - Jim Mora, then *****' defensive coordinator, after a
    30-10 San Francisco victory. Mora is now Falcons head
    coach
    -09-15-2004, 04:51 AM
  • RamWraith
    Week 2 Scouting Report: Rams at Atlanta
    by RamWraith
    09/15/2004

    GAME 2: RAMS VS. FALCONS
    Noon Sunday at the Georgia Dome


    The Series

    Sunday marks the 72nd meeting between the former NFC West rivals, with the Rams leading the series 46-23-2. The Rams have played only San Francisco (109 games), Green Bay (87), Chicago (86) and Detroit (79) more often. Since the move to St. Louis, the Rams are 10-5 against Atlanta, winning the past seven meetings. (And by a combined score of 264-88.)


    The stats

    Rams WR Isaac Bruce is tied for first in the NFL in catches (nine) and tied for third in reception yards (112).

    Atlanta's offense went three for three in red-zone touchdowns last week in San Francisco.


    News of the day

    It's not official until coach Mike Martz ends his injury information "blackout" today, but LB Pisa Tinoisamoa has told friends and fans that his dislocated shoulder is fine. He's expected to play against Atlanta.

    * * *

    The Rams released QB Russ Michna from the practice squad Tuesday, paving the way to add a linebacker today. A practice squad spot had to be freed up, because TE Mike Brake was signed there Saturday after being cut from the active roster Friday.

    * * *

    DB Tom Knight was waived off the team's injured reserve list Tuesday after being deemed physically able to play.


    Connections

    Atlanta's roster includes LB Jamie Duncan, who was Rams special teams captain last season, and former Mizzou TE Dwayne Blakely.

    * * *

    Rams backup QB Chris Chandler played for the Falcons from 1997 to 2001, earning two Pro Bowl berths and guiding Atlanta to the Super Bowl in 1998.


    Quotebook: Nov. 2, 2003

    "It's probably arrogant, but we're faster than the Rams. Our defense is faster than the Rams' offense and it didn't used to be that way. And now it is. That might sound ****y, but it's a fact."

    - Jim Mora, then *****' defensive coordinator, after a 30-10 San Francisco victory. Mora is now Falcons head coach.
    -09-18-2004, 06:16 PM
  • RamDez
    Confident Rams try different approach
    by RamDez
    Confident Rams try different approach
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Jan. 14 2005

    ATLANTA - In September, the Rams took the field in the Georgia Dome secure in
    the knowledge that they hadn't lost to Atlanta since 1998. Arthur Blank didn't
    own the Falcons; the Rams did.

    "We beat them seven in a row, and some of those were 30, 40 points plus," Rams
    offensive guard Adam Timmerman said.

    Actually, the Rams scored 30-plus points in all seven of those games. The
    "closest" game in that streak was a 16-point St. Louis victory in 2000. The
    average score of those seven contests: Rams 38, Falcons 13.

    So why should anything have been different on Sept. 19?

    "It looked like the same guys on paper," Timmerman said. "I think it was hard
    to get ready for that game mentally."

    Well, the Falcons were ready. And so were their fans. Atlanta jumped to a 14-0
    lead, withstood a third-quarter rally by St. Louis that briefly tied the score,
    and then left the Rams in the dust in the fourth quarter.

    That 34-17 Atlanta victory in Game 2 helped jump-start the Falcons to an 11-5
    record and the NFC South championship.

    "I think (the Falcons) were still trying to figure out how good they were,"
    Timmerman said. "I don't think anybody knew what kind of season they were going
    to have. They put together a real nice season."

    No doubt. On the other hand, the Rams were searching for their identity - a
    process that ended up taking most of the season.

    But a different-looking Rams team will take the field in tonight's NFC
    semifinal in Atlanta. And the Rams will tell you, they're a much better team
    than the one that lost to the Falcons in September.

    "We look like a completely different team," defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said.
    "It's like a night and day difference in how we played then and how we're
    playing now."

    The Rams will have seven different starters on the field tonight than they did
    in September. (Compared to three new starters for Atlanta.)

    Travis Fisher is at cornerback after missing the first six games of the season
    with a broken arm. Jimmy Kennedy is making his mark at defensive tackle after
    missing the first seven games of the season with a broken foot.

    Energetic rookie Anthony Hargrove has moved into the starting lineup at right
    defensive end. Linebacker Tommy Polley didn't play in September, partly because
    of a rib injury and partly because rookie Brandon Chillar had beaten him out in
    training camp.

    At free safety, Antuan Edwards has stabilized the position after a season of
    injury problems for Aeneas...
    -01-15-2005, 03:46 AM
  • RamDez
    Rams have Georgia silence on their minds
    by RamDez
    By Jim Thomas

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    09/18/2004

    Isaac Bruce (left) and Torry Holt figure to see one-on-one coverage when the Falcons blitz.
    (Chris Lee/P-D)


    Advertisement

    ATLANTA - From 1995-2001, when Atlanta was part of the NFC West, the St. Louis Rams played before almost as many empty seats as occupied ones on their annual treks to the Georgia Dome.

    In 1996, for example, 26,519 spectators watched the Rams beat the Falcons 34-27 behind three touchdown passes from Tony Banks to Eddie Kennison.

    Even in 1998, the Falcons' Super Bowl season, a mere 37,996 made their way into the 71,000-seat Georgia Dome to watch the Falcons improve to 6-2 with a 37-15 thrashing of the Rams.

    But this Sunday, the Rams will see something entirely different in the Georgia Dome. Excitement. Energy. Michael Vick. And a packed house.

    "I know it's going to be loud," Rams wide receiver Torry Holt said. "I know they're going to be excited. It's their home opener. Hopefully, we can go down there, stay focused, and come out of there with a 'W.' "

    New Atlanta coach Jim Mora is telling everyone within shouting distance to show up wearing Falcons red. Adding to the festivities, Atlanta will christen its Ring of Honor on Sunday honoring former Falcons greats.

    Last week, the Falcons ended a 10-game losing streak in San Francisco. This Sunday, they'd like nothing better than to end their seven-game losing streak to the Rams.

    "Usually, when we went there, that stadium by the end of the game would be a pro-Rams stadium," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "I don't expect it to be that way this year. I expect it to be a hostile crowd for four quarters. They're excited about their football team, obviously. They're excited about their quarterback."

    And excited about playing the Rams. Isn't everybody? They are, after all, the NFL's winningest franchise since the start of the 1999 season.

    "There are a lot of people that don't like us out there," defensive end Leonard Little said. "We know that. So we've just got to go out there and try to play our game. Try to get off to a good start, silence the crowd early, and go from there."

    The Rams' very best teams since the move to St. Louis have at least held their own on the road:

    The '99 Super Bowl championship team went 5-3 away from home.

    The '01 Super Bowl runner-up squad was 8-0.

    Last season's 12-4 squad broke even at 4-4.

    So any road victory is a good victory. And with subsequent away games this season against Seattle, Miami, Green Bay, and Carolina, the Rams would love to fly out of Georgia with a 2-0 record.

    "Like Coach (Mike Martz) said earlier in the week, the same passion and emotion
    ...
    -09-19-2004, 04:40 AM
  • RamWraith
    'New Look' Falcons Brace for Rams
    by RamWraith
    Saturday, September 18, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    For the second consecutive week, the Rams will face a team in transition. While Arizona spent its offseason getting used to new coach Dennis Green, Atlanta was warming up to new coach Jim Mora Jr.

    After beating Green’s Cardinals 17-10 in the opener, St. Louis travels to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in the Georgia Dome on Sunday at noon. Atlanta is also 1-0, beating San Francisco 21-19 in its first game.

    Mora replaced Dan Reeves and then Wade Phillips, who coached the final three games, after a 7-9 campaign in 2003. The Falcons named Mora head coach and Executive Vice President on Jan. 9. Although Atlanta’s players aren’t too familiar with Mora, St. Louis certainly is. Mora comes to the Falcons from San Francisco, where he was the defensive coordinator for the past five seasons.

    That time with the ***** gives the Rams a working knowledge of many of the things Atlanta will attempt to do. For example, during last season’s San Francisco-St. Louis game in San Francisco, the ***** threw zone blitz after zone blitz at the Rams on their way to a 30-10 win.

    St. Louis began to adjust at halftime and quarterback Marc Bulger threw for 378 yards, but he was sacked five times and the Rams rushed for only 9 yards. At the time, Mora said San Francisco’s defense was finally faster than St. Louis’ offense.

    Mora laughed about it in good nature when asked about the comment.

    "Don't bring that one up," Mora said, jokingly. "I saw that in the paper this morning and I said. 'Ah, I know they are going to ask me about that one.' I don't think they need that quote out of me to get motivated."

    Mora is probably right. The Rams have plenty of motivation for the meeting with Atlanta, without thinking about something that happened when Mora coached elsewhere. Going to 2-0, winning its first road game, continuing to run the ball effectively and playing solid defense again is just some of the motivation St. Louis has.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said he didn’t take offense to Mora’s comments.

    “I think they were a lot faster than what they have been,” Martz said. “When he made that comment, they had improved their defense significantly.”

    Besides, Mora is playing with a different hand. He takes over an Atlanta defense that finished last in the NFL in total defense in 2003. There is some talent on the Falcons’ defense, but they are switching to a more common 4-3 defense from a 3-4.

    Mora’s defense will get a big test this weekend on the fast track at the Georgia Dome. The Rams rolled up 448 yards against Arizona with a dominating performance from the offensive line and a punishing running game.

    The Falcons had plenty of problems with St. Louis’ offense last year when the Rams rolled to a 36-0...
    -09-19-2004, 09:42 AM
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