Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Rams storm back, but lose 34-17

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Rams storm back, but lose 34-17

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Sep. 19 2004

    ATLANTA - The Rams had spent the better part of the first half watching Michael
    Vick run circles around them. Surprisingly, they watched the normally
    accommodating Falcons run defense put the clamps on Marshall Faulk.

    They stared at 14-0 and 17-7 deficits on the Georgia Dome scoreboard. But after
    a 46-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins late in the third quarter, suddenly it was
    17-17 and the momentum was all Rams.

    But momentum can be a fleeting thing, especially when you're playing on the
    road in the NFL. Just when it looked like St. Louis had gained control of
    Sunday's game with Atlanta, things went south for the Rams in the Heart of
    Dixie.

    The result was a 34-17 loss to Atlanta, a loss that left glaring questions
    about the Rams' run defense, run offense, pass blocking, takeaway-giveaway
    ratio, play calling. ... Well, you get the point. It's a long list.

    "We just didn't do much of anything, really, in any phase of the game," coach
    Mike Martz said. "It's hard to identify. They just wanted it more than we did.
    They played harder than we did. They were more physical. We got outplayed and
    outcoached."

    Apparently, effort, attitude and physical play were at the crux of Falcons
    coach Jim Mora's pregame speech to his team. According to Falcons wide receiver
    Peerless Price, Mora told his team: "Just close the gate, lock 'em in here, and
    don't let 'em out until you kick their (butts)."

    The Falcons pretty much played that way in front of an enthusiastic sellout
    crowd, and the Rams couldn't match their energy level - particularly in the
    fourth quarter when the Rams were outscored 17-0.

    "That's the life of playing on the road in the NFL," Rams wide receiver Isaac
    Bruce said. "We've got to make sure that when we're on the road, that we treat
    it like we're at home. And try to make sure that we have as (few) mistakes as
    we possibly can, and put the ball in the end zone."

    But there were a lot of mistakes, including 10 penalties and two turnovers.

    Only two touchdowns, despite 100-yard receiving games by Bruce and Torry Holt,
    and an impressive 102.2 passer rating by Marc Bulger.

    And several close plays down the stretch that went the Falcons' way.

    None was bigger than Brady Smith's strip and fumble recovery against Bulger in
    the end zone that resulted in an instant Atlanta touchdown and a 31-17 Falcons
    lead.

    Martz generally takes a high-risk, high-reward approach to offensive football,
    and this time that approach backfired as the Rams attempted a deep pass to
    Bruce from the St. Louis 1.

    "We had one-on-one (coverage), and we were going for a home run," Bulger said.
    "Isaac beat his guy and it was just a matter of giving Isaac a little bit of
    time. And that's sometimes the risk you take when you're throwing from your own
    end zone."

    Smith raced around Rams left tackle Orlando Pace from his defensive end
    position. Pace tried to push Smith wide, and nearly succeeded, but Smith
    somehow reached back with his hand, swatted the ball out of Bulger's hand and
    picked up the fumble in midair for an Atlanta TD.

    "I was just getting ready to release the ball," Bulger said. "I don't know what
    happened behind me. Another half-second, and we might have a touchdown the
    other way ... and we're sitting here maybe talking about a different game."

    Just a few plays earlier, Atlanta turned a near interception by Rams cornerback
    Jerametrius Butler into a 33-yard reception by tight end Alge Crumpler.

    The Rams were in zone coverage when Butler swooped in for the interception. But
    the ball deflected off Butler's fingertips, and Crumpler grabbed it and ran all
    the way down to the Rams 36.

    "I felt I should've had the ball," said Butler, playing with two dislocated
    fingers from last week's game. "Vick put a lot of air under it. I just didn't
    make a play." Crumpler's big gain led to Warrick Dunn's second 2-yard TD run of
    the game, snapping a 17-17 tie with 12 minutes 36 seconds to play.

    But even before that sequence, a key third-down stop by Atlanta seemed to turn
    the momentum Atlanta's way. At this point in the game, St. Louis was having its
    way with the Falcons' pass defense.

    On third and inches from the Atlanta 25, Faulk took a handoff from Bulger and
    headed off left tackle. But Falcons defensive tackle Ed Jasper came in
    untouched from the backside and pinned Faulk for a 2-yard loss - forcing the
    Wilkins field goal.

    "We got it blocked at the point," Martz said. "We had a breakdown on the back
    side, and that's just the way it goes."

    Jasper got through untouched, with Rams right guard Adam Timmerman blocking
    another Falcons tackle to the inside. Jasper said he noticed this blocking
    technique on counter plays from film study.

    "I was able to back-door him," Jasper said. "It just so happened on that play,
    everything worked out like I dreamed about it happening."

    With only inches to go for a first down, why not try a quarterback sneak?

    "C'mon," Martz replied testily. "If we don't get that first down because of the
    quarterback sneak, and they jammed it up inside, then you'd be whining about
    something else. No, we had the right call. We've just got to do a better job of
    blocking it."

    Atlanta tried a quarterback sneak on third and one on its ensuing possession,
    with Vick gaining 1 yard for the first down. The 33-yard tipped pass to
    Crumpler came on the next play.

    It was that kind of day for St. Louis. At 1-1, there was disappointment but not
    despair in the Rams' locker room.

    "You always have some games where you don't play your best," safety Adam
    Archuleta said. "We've been here before, and we've just got to rebound. There's
    14 games left. It's early in the season. We've just got to go back to work like
    we always do, correct our errors and just keep getting better and better every
    week."

Related Topics

Collapse

  • RamWraith
    Gordo--Good, Bad, Ugly
    by RamWraith
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Sunday, Sep. 19 2004

    Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick re-established himself as one of the
    NFL's most electrifying threats Sunday.

    The Rams would have preferred that he wait another week to do that.

    Vick led the Falcons to a thorough 34-17 victory over the Rams in Atlanta. He
    demolished the Rams defense with his arm and feet. He threw short and long. He
    scooted downfield on impromptu scrambles and designed runs.

    He made great use of running back Warrick Dunn, tight end Alge Crumpler and
    receiver Dez White in the new Atlanta offense – forcing the Rams to play
    catch-up all afternoon.

    And the sloppy, penalty-plagued Rams weren't up to that challenge in Atlanta.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger was able to play pitch-and-catch with Isaac Bruce and
    Torry Holt, but the offensive line failed to establish consistent run blocking
    and then broke down against the Falcons pass rush in the second half.

    In the tactical showdown between head coaches Jim Mora and Mike Martz, Mora won
    by a TKO. All in all, this was not a pleasant afternoon for the Rams.


    THE GOOD


    * Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa led a four-man charge on Vick on Atlanta's first
    third-down attempt, resulting in a huge early sack.


    * Third and short, a hand-off to Marshall Faulk, he muscles forward for a
    first down . . . that's an excellent early sign. Too bad it wasn't a sign of
    good things to come.


    * On a fourth-and-one play at the Atlanta 10, rookie running back Steven
    Jackson lunged for the first down with a nice second effort.


    * On a fourth-and-goal play at the Atlanta 1, the Rams went for it – and Faulk
    walked into the end zone on a successful sweep left. Fullback Joey Goodspeed
    delivered the key lead block.


    * Wow! Holt went up and got a Bulger long ball for a 33-yard touchdown
    reception. Holt was well-covered on the pump-and-go pass, but he adjusted to
    the ball and two Falcons defensive backs didn't. That play got the Rams back
    into the game . . . briefly.


    * Defensive end Leonard Little broke up an end-around play in the third
    quarter, leading to an intentional grounding penalty and, one play later, a
    punt.


    * With the Rams moving back into scoring position, Faulk danced for a
    first-down on a third-and-one play. Yes, he can still make men miss in the open
    field – and miss badly.


    * That led to Jeff Wilkins' 46-yard field goal, which tied the game 17-17 in
    the third quarter. How nice to have a place-kicker that makes 46-yarders
    routine.
    ...
    -09-19-2004, 05:18 PM
  • RamDez
    Rams Recap: There's no stopping Vick and Falcons
    by RamDez
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Saturday, Jan. 15 2005

    The Atlanta Falcons are a very sound, very tough football team. And the Rams,
    despite all their late-season progress, are not.

    The Rams could not stop the run Saturday night. Nor could they cover punts.

    So the Falcons will roll into the NFC Championship Game after thrashing the
    Rams 47-17 at the Georgia Dome.

    The Falcons ground the Rams defense into little bits, opening huge seams for
    running backs Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett. In the first half alone, the
    Falcons rushed for 239 yards.

    Two hundred and thirty-nine in one half! The Falcons finished with 327 rushing
    yards, averaging a whopping 8.2 yards per carry.

    Quarterback Michael Vick beat Larry Marmie’s defense with his feet AND his arm,
    scrambling out of trouble to make big plays downfield.

    Mix in some more horrendous special teams play by the Rams -- surprise,
    surprise -- and they were doomed.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger tried to rally his team, but the mounting deficit, the
    absence of receiver Isaac Bruce (groin strain) and the loss of guard Tom Nutten
    (sprained knee) made the comeback impossible.

    As the game got away, the Rams became submissive and accepted a terrible
    beating from the Falcons. The defensive front seven surrendered and the
    offensive line allowed Bulger to get tossed around like a crash test dummy.


    THE GOOD


    * With Bruce sidelined, the Rams needed more from Marshall Faulk –- and he
    quickly established himself by running for 24 yards on the Rams’ first four
    plays of the game.


    * That rushing success set up Bulger’s play-action bomb to Kevin Curtis -–
    good for 57 yards and the game-tying touchdown.


    * On the Falcons’ second possession, safety Antuan Edwards made a nice break
    on a Vick pass -– and nearly picked it off for a touchdown. Vick and Edwards
    both wanted that play back.


    * Linebacker Tommy Polley made a nice break on Vick's next throw, breaking up
    a pass meant for tight end Alge Crumpler.


    * On a 21-yard third-down completion to Curtis, Bulger got exceptional
    protection from his offensive line.


    * Rookie running back Steven Jackson finally got rolling with two carries for
    14 yards, propelling the Rams back toward scoring position.


    * Bulger kept the Rams alive with his pump-and-throw 28-yard touchdown pass to
    Torry Holt. That allowed the Rams to cut the Falcons’ lead to 21-14.


    * With the Falcons marching toward another score, Polley pounced on a break
    when an untouched Vick stumbled, fell and fumbled away the ball.


    * Jeff Wilkins buried...
    -01-16-2005, 03:44 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams need answers to Falcons' pass rush
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    01/12/2005

    By noon Tuesday, Blaine Saipaia already had watched two Atlanta Falcons game tapes, and he was going back for more after a lunch break.

    Some offensive linemen can rely on experience in preparing for an opponent. But as Saipaia says: "I don't have any past experience."

    Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game against Atlanta marks just his sixth NFL start and 11th game overall. Saipaia was on the sidelines but didn't dress when the Falcons shellacked St. Louis 34-17 on Sept. 19. He was one of seven pregame inactives for the Rams.

    So he has no personal experience to go on against Atlanta - just game tape. And what he's seen on tape this week is an eyeful.

    "I'd say that their defense is relentless," Saipaia said. "I think they just rely on their tenacity."

    If the dazzling play of quarterback Michael Vick was the No. 1 reason the Falcons won on Sept. 19, the play of Atlanta's defensive line was reason No. 1A.

    "They've got good people up front," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "They're big, physical guys who get off the ball quickly. They do a great job of penetrating, bull rushing, and changing things up."

    Last September in the Georgia Dome, just about every member of the Rams offensive line had some rough moments. Chris Dishman, then the Rams' starting left guard, got beat by underrated Falcons defensive tackle Ed Jasper for a sack. Grant Williams, then the Rams' starting right tackle, had a tough time against Pro Bowl defensive end Patrick Kerney.

    Late in the third quarter, Jasper got behind right guard Adam Timmerman on a key third-and-1 play, dropping Marshall Faulk for a 2-yard loss.

    The Rams had the momentum at that point, but were forced to kick a field goal, tying the game at 17-17 after Jasper's stop. The Falcons proceeded to score the game's final 17 points.

    All told, the Rams managed only 30 yards rushing in the game, their second-lowest total of the season.

    In one of the key plays of the game, Falcons defensive end Brady Smith went wide around left tackle Orlando Pace and stripped the ball from Marc Bulger in the end zone for an Atlanta touchdown. In the blink of an eye, that turned a 24-17 Falcons lead into a 31-17 advantage with 11 minutes 48 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.

    "I didn't even realize until I watched the film that (Smith) came from the left side," Bulger recalled Wednesday. "Because usually, when the ball gets taken from you, it's from the front side. I didn't know he wrapped all the way around. We were going for the home run from our own end zone, and that's the risk you take when you have to hold on to the ball that long for a home run."

    Bulger wanted to throw deep for Isaac Bruce on a second...
    -01-13-2005, 01:59 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams need answers to Falcons' pass rush
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Wednesday, Jan. 12 2005

    By noon Tuesday, Blaine Saipaia already had watched two Atlanta Falcons game
    tapes, and he was going back for more after a lunch break.

    Some offensive linemen can rely on experience in preparing for an opponent. But
    as Saipaia says: "I don't have any past experience."

    Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game against Atlanta marks just his sixth NFL
    start and 11th game overall. Saipaia was on the sidelines but didn't dress when
    the Falcons shellacked St. Louis 34-17 on Sept. 19. He was one of seven pregame
    inactives for the Rams.

    So he has no personal experience to go on against Atlanta - just game tape. And
    what he's seen on tape this week is an eyeful.

    "I'd say that their defense is relentless," Saipaia said. "I think they just
    rely on their tenacity."

    If the dazzling play of quarterback Michael Vick was the No. 1 reason the
    Falcons won on Sept. 19, the play of Atlanta's defensive line was reason No.
    1A.

    "They've got good people up front," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "They're big,
    physical guys who get off the ball quickly. They do a great job of penetrating,
    bull rushing, and changing things up."

    Last September in the Georgia Dome, just about every member of the Rams
    offensive line had some rough moments. Chris Dishman, then the Rams' starting
    left guard, got beat by underrated Falcons defensive tackle Ed Jasper for a
    sack. Grant Williams, then the Rams' starting right tackle, had a tough time
    against Pro Bowl defensive end Patrick Kerney.

    Late in the third quarter, Jasper got behind right guard Adam Timmerman on a
    key third-and-1 play, dropping Marshall Faulk for a 2-yard loss.

    The Rams had the momentum at that point, but were forced to kick a field goal,
    tying the game at 17-17 after Jasper's stop. The Falcons proceeded to score the
    game's final 17 points.

    All told, the Rams managed only 30 yards rushing in the game, their
    second-lowest total of the season.

    In one of the key plays of the game, Falcons defensive end Brady Smith went
    wide around left tackle Orlando Pace and stripped the ball from Marc Bulger in
    the end zone for an Atlanta touchdown. In the blink of an eye, that turned a
    24-17 Falcons lead into a 31-17 advantage with 11 minutes 48 seconds to play in
    the fourth quarter.

    "I didn't even realize until I watched the film that (Smith) came from the left
    side," Bulger recalled Wednesday. "Because usually, when the ball gets taken
    from you, it's from the front side. I didn't know he wrapped all the way...
    -01-13-2005, 04:40 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Falcons] Falcons have some fun in Frisco
    by DJRamFan
    Atlanta's defense preserves 21-19 win over *****

    By MATT WINKELJOHN
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 09/12/04


    SAN FRANCISCO — There's a long way to go, but the Falcons may not experience more fun this season than on the NFL's first Sunday.

    If your definition of fun is nearly losing, that is.

    EMAIL THIS
    PRINT THIS
    MOST POPULAR



    You might think there's nothing traipsing into your house of horrors, and converting it into a fun house, and for the senior Falcon, reserve defensive lineman Travis Hall, maybe you'd be right.

    He's been around since 1994, or three years after the Falcons last won here before beating the ***** 21-19.

    But to end a 10-game losing streak in 3Com Park, the Falcons had to endure a few goblins popping out of closets in a terrifying fourth quarter that saw the game come down to one play. Good thing defensive tackle Rod Coleman swatted down the *****' two-point attempt with 40 seconds left.

    No wonder Hall was still spooked. Some habits die real hard.

    "This is huge," he said. "I've been here 10 years, and I haven't seen a victory here until today. It was weird because, I don't know what to say. We've gone through so many blowouts. I, I, I, I really don't know what to say. I'm just stumped with what to say."

    Leave that to Jim Mora. He sure enjoyed his first game as a head coach, returning to steal from his former employers, who outgained his team 359 yards to 227, and converted five of their final six third-down tries as Atlanta was good on just one of 11.

    "When we recovered the onsides kick [after the 'Niners pulled to within two], and I knew that we could clock it [run out the clock], I went over to [offensive coordinator Greg] Knapp," Mora said.

    "And he said, 'You get away from me. It's not over yet.' But I knew it was over, and it felt good. You try to keep your wits about you. We're supposed to win."

    Uh, yeah.

    But after controlling the game for three quarters with defense, the sun-burned Falcons had to sweat in a cool, stiff wind.

    They led 14-6 going to the final period, thanks to quarterback Michael Vick (13 of 22, 163 yards) connecting on his first five passes, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alge Crumpler in the first quarter.

    Crumpler caught a quick, "smoke," pass at the right sideline, and followed the advice of a friend while making mincemeant of Pro Bowl safety Tony Parrish.

    "My college roommate, Marcus Cormier [who went by the last name of Jones at the University of North Carolina], got on my [butt] about my stiff-arm," Crumpler said. "Actually, he text-messaged me before [a preseason] game, and said to work on my stiff-arm...
    -09-13-2004, 12:37 PM
Working...
X