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Should the Rams be worried?

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  • Should the Rams be worried?

    By Chris Ruddick, NFL Analyst

    (Sports Network) - Maybe 35-year-old Emmitt Smith's 87-yard performance in Week One should have raised some flags with the St. Louis Rams run-defense. But if it didn't, then the 242 yards the Atlanta Falcons accumulated on the ground in their 34-17 win on Sunday, certainly did.

    In nine-plus seasons in St. Louis, the Rams have allowed more than that only one other time. Back on November 3, 1996, the Rams surrendered 248 yards rushing to Pittsburgh on 41 carries in a 42-6 loss to the Steelers in a game that featured the return of Jerome Bettis, who was dealt to Pittsburgh seven months earlier.

    "They just beat us every way you can, in every phase of the game," said St. Louis head coach Mike Martz. "Physically, they took it to us. We weren't out there doing the right things. We got outplayed and outcoached."

    St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger completed 15 of his first 16 passes on the way to a 24-for-31, 285-yard effort that included a touchdown. But Bulger committed two costly turnovers in the second half, a fumble recovered for a touchdown and an interception that led to a field goal.

    To make matters worse for the Rams they produced just 30 yards on the ground, the fifth-worst output since the franchise left Las Angeles.

    "We're going to have problems here at the beginning of the year," Martz said. "We just are. We've got to clean some things up, and that stuff just doesn't happen overnight. But we're going to end up being a real good team...There's no question about it."

    Marshall Faulk rushed 12 times for only 20 yards, but managed to score his 132nd career touchdown, which moved him past Cris Carter into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time list.

    "Guys like myself, and guys who have been around and have been in situations like this, we've got to take the younger guys and not let them get down on themselves," Faulk said. "They've got to understand that sometimes this happens in the league. Things can happen going into a hostile environment.


    One bright spot of Sunday's loss was the play of 31-year-old wideout Isaac Bruce, who hauled in eight catches for 102 yards. After two games, Bruce leads the league in catches (17) and is third in yardage (214). That projects to 136 receptions for 1,712 yards over 16 games.

    His best year came during the 1995 campaign when he caught 119 passes for 1,781 yards.

    The Rams host the Deuce McAllister-less New Orleans Saints (1-1) on Sunday

  • #2
    Re: Should the Rams be worried?

    While the 242 yards on the ground for the Falcons was indicative of a very poor day for the Rams defense overall, it is not necessarily indicative of a major failing of the "run defense" per se.

    On standard running plays (i.e. handoffs to running backs) the Falcons had 24 carries for 98 yards. The rest came from Michael Vick runs and end arounds by the WRs.

    While giving up 242 yards on the ground is horrible, it would have been worse if it had been on standard running plays (like, for example, the way Carolina amassed over 200 yards on the ground in the playoffs).

    So... right criticism, wrong analysis.


    • #3
      Re: Should the Rams be worried?

      Good point. On standard running plays, the Rams allowed 4.0 yards per carry. That's not great but it's not horrible. My concern is what the defense allowed the Falcons, specifically TJ Duckett, in garbage time on their last two drives. Duckett rushed for over five yards per carry on the final two Falcons drives, where our defense really should have been stepping up and stopping the run. I'm interested to see what Aaron Stecker does against this defense in the Dome though.


      • #4
        Re: Should the Rams be worried?

        I agree. This is no time to panic, as there are many other 1-1 teams in the league after only two weeks of football. Most teams are rusty and shaking some of that off, and still have time to rebound. It's not exactly a critical point in the season yet. What matters is how each team finishes.


        • #5
          Re: Should the Rams be worried?

          I think that most teams are gonna pound the ball on this young D all season. Just think about it, except for Little, the rest of the starting front seven are babies in this league. Combined starts for this group as a whole isn't much. This D has the potential to really grow together and become a pretty good unit. Let's see how they do when the secondary is back to full strength.
          This is, on the job training, for a lot of this years squad. They'll be OK.

          Maineram :ramlogo:


          • #6
            Re: Should the Rams be worried?

            Good point, maine. Looking at our schedule, we're going to be going up against a number of talented running backs. This defense needs to step up and show they can handle the pressure.


            • #7
              Re: Should the Rams be worried?

              Aaron Stecker could go for over 200 yards against this porous defense. Bulger could have a passer rating of 102. He could look real good between the 20 yard lines. He could continue to blow up in the red zones....AND the Rams could lose by 20! No, no reason to panic. Let's wait until Martz brings us to 1 and 15. Let's wait until we wear paper bags on our faces. In my opinion, it is past panic time. It is now firing time.


              • #8
                Re: Should the Rams be worried?

                Your shtick is getting redundant.


                • #9
                  Re: Should the Rams be worried?

                  Originally posted by rebel13
                  It is now firing time.
                  I agree, I would start with you. Go root for the Giants that suits you better, as you have proven you are Warner fan b4 a Rams fan. Whiner fans dont post this much garbage about the Rams. I really beleive you would love to see Bulger play terribly so you could be right. If Bulger won the team a SuperBowl you would probably disappear.
                  Last edited by ; -09-23-2004, 12:52 AM.


                  Related Topics


                  • RamDez
                    Sports Network Predicted Outcome
                    by RamDez
                    By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

                    (Sports Network) - The Atlanta Falcons will look to clear their first hurdle
                    in a quest for the first Super Bowl title in franchise history on Saturday
                    night, when Jim Mora's team plays host to the streaking St. Louis Rams in an
                    NFC Divisional Playoff.

                    The Falcons, who lost in their only Super Bowl appearance following the 1998
                    campaign, will be playing their first home playoff game since that season.
                    Atlanta's 20-18 win over San Francisco in a 1998 divisional playoff had served
                    as the team's only home postseason contest since 1980. The Falcons enter the
                    playoffs having lost their last two regular season games, though the team
                    rested many of its starters, including quarterback Michael Vick, for the
                    majority of those two contests. Atlanta's most recent victory was a 34-31
                    overtime triumph over Carolina on Dec. 18th.

                    The Rams, meanwhile, come into their second postseason game fresh off a 27-20
                    road victory over Seattle in an NFC Wild Card affair last Saturday. St. Louis,
                    which has now won three in a row dating back to the regular season, became the
                    first-ever NFL team with a record of .500 or worse in the regular season to
                    win a playoff game, a feat that was matched when the similarly 8-8 Vikings
                    took down Green Bay the next day.

                    SERIES HISTORY

                    The Rams hold a 46-24-2 edge in the all-time series with Atlanta, and had won
                    seven in a row in the series prior to a 34-17 home win for the Falcons in Week
                    2 of the regular season. St. Louis last defeated Atlanta in 2003, by a 36-0
                    count, and last won a road game in the series during the 2001 regular season.

                    Saturday will mark the first-ever postseason meeting between the teams.

                    Martz enters Sunday's game with a career record of 5-1 versus Atlanta, while
                    Mora is 1-0 versus both Martz and St. Louis as a head coach.


                    Not surprisingly, the Rams leaned heavily on their passing game in last
                    Saturday's Wild Card win over the Seahawks. Quarterback Marc Bulger, who threw
                    for nearly 4,000 yards in the regular season, completed 18 of 32 passes for
                    313 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in the victory. Wideouts Torry
                    Holt (6 receptions, 108 yards, 1 TD) and Kevin Curtis (4 receptions, 107
                    yards) were Bulger's favorite targets against Seattle, as No. 2 receiver Isaac
                    Bruce (3 receptions, 40 yards) was held in check. Holt and Bruce both had big
                    days against Atlanta in Week 2, with Holt catching nine balls for 121 yards
                    and a a score and Bruce chipping in with eight receptions for 102 yards in the
                    game. Bulger completed 24 of 31 passes for 285 yards, a touchdown and an
                    interception in that contest, and was also sacked five times. St. Louis ranked
                    -01-15-2005, 03:43 AM
                  • RamDez
                    Dunn-Vick one-two punch KOs the Rams
                    by RamDez
                    Dunn-Vick one-two punch KOs the Rams
                    By Dan O'Neill
                    Of the Post-Dispatch
                    Sunday, Jan. 16 2005

                    ATLANTA - The Rams were concerned about Michael Vick getting loose at the
                    Georgia Dome on Saturday night, as well they might be. The first time the
                    lightning-quick quarterback ran with the ball, he streaked 47 yards to set up a

                    But the Falcons have more lightning in the bottle, rather, in their backfield.
                    And while the Rams concentrated on Vick, the Falcons were unleashing Warrick

                    "One of the great things about our running game is you get a great runner going
                    one way and a great runner going the other way," Atlanta coach Jim Mora said.
                    "And one of them is Warrick or T.J. Duckett and one of them is Mike. And you
                    have to figure out which one of them has the ball and you have to defend the
                    whole field ... it's like keep-away."

                    The choice is obvious, Dunn added.

                    "When you have a guy like Mike running one way and another guy running
                    another," he said, "they tend to go with Mike."

                    The effect was devastating for the Rams, particularly when the diminutive Dunn
                    had the ball. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer back ran through the Rams' defense
                    as if he was licensed to do so. With the kind of speed and elusiveness one
                    associates with Vick, Dunn Vick-timized the Rams for 142 yards in 17 carries,
                    an average of 8.4 yards per tote.

                    "For me, this is the best playoff game I've ever played in," said Dunn, who was
                    playing in his ninth postseason game. "I've played in a lot of playoff games,
                    but I've never been a huge factor. And tonight, that was one of the things I
                    said before the game. I wanted to be a factor, I wanted to come out and make
                    plays and I was just feeling it."

                    Dunn, in his third season in Atlanta and his eighth in the NFL, even upstaged
                    his high-profile partner. Less than five minutes after Vick's run set a Falcons
                    playoff record for the longest run from scrimmage, and only moments after the
                    Rams' Kevin Curtis scored on a 57-yard pass play to tie the score 7-7, Dunn
                    produced an even bigger play.

                    On a second-down play from the Atlanta 38, Dunn took a handoff, scooted past
                    the line of scrimmage, cut toward the sideline and - as Jackie Gleason might
                    say, aw-a-a-a-a-y he went. Sixty-two yards later, he handed the ball to a
                    patron in the stands and handed the Falcons a 14-7 lead.

                    Dunn was far from done. On the next Atlanta series, he dashed 21 yards to give
                    the Falcons a first down at the Rams' 48. Seven plays later, Dunn finished the
                    sequence by sprinting 19 yards into the end zone. The score gave the Falcons a
                    21-7 lead, a commanding position...
                    -01-16-2005, 04:48 AM
                  • RamWraith
                    Season in Review Part One
                    by RamWraith
                    Monday, February 7, 2005

                    By Nick Wagoner
                    Staff Writer

                    It was supposed to be a celebration of 10 successful seasons in St. Louis. Ideally, the Rams would have celebrated the milestone with a dominating, long playoff run that would result in a Super Bowl championship.

                    Sometimes, though, the final cut doesnít match the Script. That isnít to say that St. Louisí season was a failure. In fact, the Rams season canít really be summed up in just a few words.

                    It was a year of highs and lows, highs and lows that seemed to turn on a dime. By the end of the season, the only predictable thing about this team was how unpredictable it was.

                    It was only fitting, then, that St. Louis finished 8-8, the perfect balance of ups and downs. Even in the playoffs, the Rams managed a .500 record, beating Seattle and losing to Atlanta. Throughout this week, we will take a look at the Ramsí 2004 season in five parts.

                    No NFL season actually begins when the games start anymore. In reality, the action starts when the teams hit training camp. The Rams trip to Macomb for this seasonís training camp was so eventful that it had many an effect on the way the regular season turned out.

                    First, right tackle Kyle Turley aggravated a back injury and was declared out for the season. Center Dave Wohlabaugh was forced to retire because of a hip injury and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy broke his foot.

                    When the preseason games actually began, matters only got worse. Cornerback Travis Fisher suffered a broken arm and left tackle Orlando Pace still had not reported. The Rams finished the preseason at 1-3 and escaped without any more injuries.

                    Adding to the injury difficulties, which would prove to be a recurring problem, was the difficult adjustment the defense was making to new coordinator Larry Marmieís defense.

                    With an offensive line that had been patched together and Pace reporting just before the first game against Arizona, the Rams opened their 10th season in St. Louis at home.

                    Expectations were still at a high coming off a 12-4 season in 2003 in which the Rams won the NFC West Division title.

                    St. Louis started the first meeting with the kind of offensive performance the fans had gotten used to. Although the offense seemingly moved the ball at will against the Cardinals, the Rams could not do what offenses of years past had been so adept at: putting the ball in the end zone.

                    St. Louis moved the ball well, but found itself settling for field goals and turning the ball over in key situations. The Rams found themselves down by a point heading into the fourth quarter. An 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marc Bulger to receiver Isaac Bruce gave the Rams a rather lackluster 17-10 win in a game that could have gone either way.

                    There were some encouraging things that came from...
                    -02-08-2005, 06:52 AM
                  • RamWraith
                    Failure to gain a few inches is costly in loss
                    by RamWraith
                    By Bill Coats
                    Of the Post-Dispatch
                    Monday, Sep. 20 2004

                    The Rams' 34-17 loss at the Georgia Dome truly was a game of inches.
                    Specifically, the 3 inches that separated rallying St. Louis from a first down
                    late in the third quarter and stripped away its building momentum.

                    After trailing 14-0 early in the second period and 17-7 at the half, the Rams
                    had trimmed Atlanta's edge to 17-14 and were driving for the lead. A pass from
                    quarterback Marc Bulger to wide receiver Torry Holt on the left sideline made
                    it second down and a quarter of a foot to go at the Falcons 25-yard line.

                    Bulger took a shot at wideout Isaac Bruce in the end zone on second down that
                    fell incomplete. On third down, running back Marshall Faulk tried to slip
                    through the left side but was stuffed by tackle Ed Jasper for a 2-yard loss.
                    Jeff Wilkins drilled a 48-yard field goal, but the Falcons had retained a share
                    of the lead at 17-17.

                    "Sometimes those plays go overlooked, but that was really a pivotal play,"
                    Atlanta coach Jim Mora said. "Momentum had shifted a little bit, it had gotten
                    a little bit quiet. Our team did a great job of rallying."

                    From that point on, the Falcons dominated. They ran 26 plays, producing 162
                    yards, two touchdowns and a field goal; conversely, the Rams had just nine
                    offensive attempts and netted a mere 12 yards. And, of course, zero points.

                    Rams coach Mike Martz agreed Monday that the failed third-down play blunted his
                    outfit's charge. "It did," he said. "And had we not lost the yardage on that
                    play, we probably would've gone for it on fourth down."

                    Martz said he decided against a quarterback sneak because in a similar
                    situation earlier, the Falcons had "covered all three down linemen and put the
                    two linebackers inside." But they changed their alignment, and Faulk had
                    nowhere to go.

                    "I was surprised, to be honest with you," Martz said. "The play that we ran, we
                    felt . . . we had a real good shot at it."

                    Bruce tops NFL

                    If Bruce maintains his pace, he'll put together one of the most productive
                    seasons in his 11-year career. After two games, Bruce leads the league in
                    catches (17) and is third in yardage (214). That projects to 136 receptions for
                    1,712 yards over 16 games.

                    Bruce, 31, was at his best in 1995, the Rams' first season in St. Louis, when
                    he grabbed 119 balls for 1,781 yards.

                    Right behind Bruce is teammate Torry Holt, who led the NFL in receptions and
                    yards last year. Holt is second in catches (16) and yards (217), which projects
                    to 128 receptions for 1,736 yards.
                    -09-21-2004, 06:21 AM
                  • RamWraith
                    Martz looks to veterans in dealing with defeat
                    by RamWraith
                    By Jim Thomas
                    Of the Post-Dispatch
                    Monday, Sep. 20 2004

                    In terms of run defense, the Rams' 34-17 loss to Atlanta was one of the worst
                    clunkers for the team since the move to St. Louis.

                    The Rams yielded 242 rushing yards on 38 carries to the Falcons. In nine-plus
                    seasons in St. Louis, the Rams have fared worse on only one occasion. On Nov.
                    3, 1996, the Rams yielded 248 yards rushing to Pittsburgh on 41 carries in a
                    42-6 loss to the Steelers.

                    That game marked the revenge of the Bus. Traded by the Rams to Pittsburgh less
                    than seven months earlier, Jerome Bettis rushed for 129 yards on 19 carries
                    that day at Three Rivers Stadium.

                    There was no revenge motive at work Sunday at the Georgia Dome. But the Rams
                    did get Vick-timized by Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick. Vick led Falcons
                    rushers with 109 yards on 12 carries, and he made Rams defenders look silly.

                    "It was one of those days where you probably needed a net," one Rams official

                    But Vick had help. T.J. Duckett pounded away for 52 yards on nine carries, with
                    all but one of those carries coming in the fourth quarter after Warrick Dunn
                    left with a sprained left knee. Before his injury, Dunn added 43 yards (and two
                    touchdowns) on 14 carries.

                    Particularly frustrating for the Rams was a 26-yard gain on an end-around by
                    Falcons wide receiver Dez White. White seemingly was trapped for a big loss
                    before reversing field and outrunning Rams defenders like ... well, like Vick.

                    "Obviously, they did a nice job of changing up what they do, and getting (Vick)
                    out on the perimeter, and challenging us out there," Rams coach Mike Martz
                    said. "And that reverse, we had that hemmed in, and just could not finish the

                    Atlanta's rushing total wasn't the only bad number for the Rams.

                    St. Louis' team rushing total of 30 yards tied for the fifth-worst for the Rams
                    since the move to the Midwest.

                    Also, the Rams had no takeaways for the second game in a row. Until now, the
                    Rams hadn't gone back-to-back games without forcing a turnover since games 10
                    and 11 of the 2002 season - against Chicago and Kansas City. This season, St.
                    Louis is the only team in the NFL without a takeaway.

                    "It's a concern," Martz said. "When you have a guy like Vick running around
                    back there, it's hard just to tackle him, let alone take the ball away from

                    So yes, it was bad Sunday in Georgia. But it's no time to panic. At times like
                    these, Martz counts on his veterans to settle the younger players and stabilize
                    the situation.

                    "There's no question about...
                    -09-21-2004, 06:20 AM