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Rams regain their balance

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  • Rams regain their balance

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    SAN FRANCISCO - Coaches will try just about anything to motivate their teams. And in the days leading up to Sunday night's contest with San Francisco, Mike Martz told his squad he didn't think the ***** were very good.

    "Yeah, and he was (saying things) like - 'And it's San Francisco, and it's personal,'" defensive tackle Damione Lewis said.

    The Rams players apparently took the coach at his word. Offensively, they pounded the ***** on the ground, and in the air. Defensively, they harassed ***** quarterback Tim Rattay and kept running back Kevan Barlow bottled up most of the evening. The result was a much-needed 24-14 victory over rival San Francisco that evened the Rams' record at 2-2.

    "This win is very important to us," Martz said. "It's a good feeling, because we came out here the last two years and were embarrassed."

    The Rams lost 30-10 here a year ago and 37-13 here in 2002. But they dominated the ***** in the opening half, and really didn't let them back in the game in the second half - despite a couple of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

    Eschewing the traditional pregame player introductions, the Rams came out on the field en masse, headed directly to midfield, and proceeded to stomp on the *****' helmet painted on the turf at Monster Park. It proved to be symbolic of what was to come.

    By halftime, St. Louis had a 24-0 lead, had outgained the ***** 251 yards to 82, and had given NFC West-leading Seattle - next week's opponent - something to think about. Rediscovering the running game, the Rams had a 2-to-1 advantage in time of possession in the first half.

    After seeing their NFL-record 420-game scoring streak end last week in a shutout loss to Seattle, the ***** didn't get on the scoreboard Sunday until early in the fourth quarter, with a touchdown before a missed 2-point conversion. But it was too little, way too late.

    Isaac Bruce enjoyed his fourth consecutive 100-yard receiving game. Marshall Faulk enjoyed his second 100-yard rushing day of the season. The Rams are 26-0 when Faulk rushes for at least 100 yards.

    Fast and furious became methodical and productive on the Rams' opening drive. After running the ball only 15 times in each of the two previous games, Martz called nine running plays on the series, with Faulk handling the first eight carries for 34 yards.

    But the ninth carry went to - surprise! - fullback Joey Goodspeed. In his third season, Goodspeed made his first NFL carry a memorable one. On fourth and 1 from the San Francisco 2, he plowed up the middle for a touchdown.

    The surprises continued on the next play from scrimmage. The Rams sent linebacker Tommy Polley on a blitz and he hit ***** quarterback Tim Rattay from behind just as Rattay was about to throw downfield. The ball squirted free and was recovered by defensive end Leonard Little.

    For those unfamiliar with such plays - and Rams fans are this season - it's called a turnover. Yes, after going three games without one, the Rams finally produced their first takeaway of the season - after 193 minutes 22 seconds of clock time.

    "It was a real relief," defensive end Leonard Little said. "It was great to get our first turnover, and our offense scoring points off it - that's even better."

    St. Louis took over on the *****' 11. An illegal contact penalty against San Francisco cornerback Mike Rumph advanced the ball to the 6, and Marc Bulger then threw a perfectly placed pass to Shaun McDonald in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown with 1:13 to play in the opening quarter. The Rams, who had scored only seven points in the first quarter all season, suddenly found themselves with a 14-0 lead.

    Mixing the run with the pass to keep the ***** off balance, St. Louis tacked on a 20-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins midway through the second quarter. The Rams re-gained possession on their first interception of the season, with Jerametrius Butler reaching up for a deep pass intended for Cedrick Wilson on the second play of the second quarter.

    The Rams made it four scores in four possessions in the first half with a 91-yard drive that culminated in a 2-yard TD by rookie Steven Jackson. It was the first NFL touchdown for Jackson, the first running back taken in the draft last April. On a night of firsts, McDonald's TD also was his first in the NFL.

    So by halftime, the Rams had more running plays (19) than passes (18), and Faulk had more rushing yards (66) than in the previous two games combined (64). Not that the passing game was dormant - far from it. Bulger had 15 completions in 18 attempts, for a 166 yards and a passer rating of 123.6.

  • #2
    Re: Rams regain their balance

    Originally posted by Jim Thomas
    Rediscovering the running game, the Rams had a 2-to-1 advantage in time of possession in the first half.
    You ignorant fool! Do you not know that this NFL myth has been forever debunked?!

    Sorry, just had to see if Waller was still hanging around. :tongue:
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.


    • #3
      Re: Rams regain their balance

      "You must have balance, Waller-san."


      Related Topics


      • Nick
        Rams pull even in San Fran.
        by Nick
        Rams pull even in San Fran.
        By Greg Beacham
        Associated Press
        Sunday, Oct. 03 2004

        SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- There was nothing wrong with the St. Louis Rams' offense
        that a trip to San Francisco couldn't fix.

        Marc Bulger passed for 186 yards, Marshall Faulk rushed for 121 more and St.
        Louis sent the woeful ***** to their first 0-4 start in 25 years with a 24-14
        victory on Sunday night.

        Isaac Bruce had seven catches for 100 yards as the Rams (2-2) got their
        ninth victory in 11 games against their longtime rivals. This one was out of
        reach early: St. Louis built a 24-0 halftime lead, and the sellout crowd booed
        San Francisco off the field while heading for the exits.

        Shaun McDonald caught a touchdown pass and Joey Goodspeed and Steven Jackson
        had 2-yard scoring runs for the Rams, who met little resistance while scoring
        on all four of their first-half drives.

        The Rams rushed for just 108 yards in their previous two games, both losses
        to teams that missed last season's playoffs. Coach Mike Martz was criticized
        for failing to maintain a balance in his pass-heavy schemes.

        But during four sophisticated drives consuming more than 20 minutes, Martz
        called 19 running plays and 18 passes in the first half. Running the ball was
        easy and fun for Faulk, who had his fifth 100-yard rushing game against the
        ***** -- but so was passing, catching, blocking and tackling.

        Tim Rattay, who missed the *****' previous two games with a separated
        shoulder, was 31-of-47 for 299 yards and two touchdowns, while tight end Eric
        Johnson had career highs of 10 catches for 113 yards.

        But despite three lengthy fourth-quarter drives, the ***** are winless after
        four games for the first time since 1979, the year Bill Walsh took over the
        franchise and led its transformation into a five-time Super Bowl champion.

        Last week, the ***** were shut out for the first time since 1977 in a 34-0
        loss to Seattle. After three more scoreless quarters against the Rams, they
        avoided another goose egg on Curtis Conway's 9-yard TD catch with 13:33 to play.

        Rattay, who passed for 134 yards in the fourth period, added an 18-yard TD
        pass to rookie Rashaun Woods with 16 seconds left.

        The ***** were an NFL-worst minus-7 in turnover differential entering the
        game, and they quickly padded their lead with a fumble and an interception in
        the first 16 minutes.

        After St. Louis went 80 yards on its opening drive, Rattay lost the ball on
        a hit by Tommy Polley late in the first quarter. Leonard Little recovered at
        the San Francisco 11, setting up McDonald's short TD catch.

        Jerametrius Butler picked off Rattay's pass down...
        -10-03-2004, 10:38 PM
      • RamDez
        Niners stun the Rams
        by RamDez
        By Greg Beacham
        Associated Press
        Sunday, Sep. 11 2005

        SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Coach Mike Nolan promised a new look and a better
        attitude in San Francisco. His ***** came through in his debut Sunday, when the
        NFL's worst team in 2004 looked nothing like its sad old self.

        Brandon Lloyd and Arnaz Battle caught second-quarter touchdown passes from
        Tim Rattay, and Michael Adams intercepted Marc Bulger's pass in San Francisco
        territory with 52 seconds left as the ***** hung on, 28-25 over their oldest
        rivals, the St. Louis Rams.

        Rookie Otis Amey returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown the first time he
        touched the ball for the *****, who erupted for 21 points in the second quarter
        -- more than last season's 2-14 team scored in any quarter of its wretched

        The *****' defense was on the field for nearly 40 minutes, but San Francisco
        held on for its first regular-season victory in regulation since Dec. 7, 2003.
        Both of the Niners' wins last season came in overtime against Arizona.

        Rattay, who beat out top draft pick Alex Smith to retain his starting job,
        went 11-of-16 for 165 yards, but his offense was shut out in the final 25
        minutes. The ***** hung on with just enough defense -- Nolan's specialty in a
        long career as an assistant coach.

        Brandon Manumaleuna caught a 6-yard TD pass from Bulger with 2:13 to play,
        and San Francisco ran just 53 seconds off the clock on its next drive. But
        Bulger threw a pass behind Isaac Bruce across the middle and Adams, the nickel
        back abused by the Rams all day, swiped the deflection out of Bruce's hands.

        Torry Holt caught 10 passes for 125 yards for the Rams, but San Francisco's
        defense sacked Bulger seven times and limited Steven Jackson to 20 yards
        rushing after the first quarter.

        With the Rams trailing throughout the second half, Bulger went 34-of-56 for
        362 yards. Marshall Faulk, the key to so many St. Louis victories in San
        Francisco over the years, was barely a factor as Jackson's backup.

        St. Louis' deliberate offense and an early fumble by Rattay limited the
        ***** to five offensive plays in the first quarter. But when Rattay hit Lloyd
        for a 35-yard TD midway through the second, the receiver jumped up and started
        rapping, using the ball as his microphone.

        Showtime was just starting in San Francisco.

        Amey, a Bay Area native and an undrafted free agent from Division I-AA
        Sacramento State, made a beautiful punt return for a score, swerving through
        the heart of St. Louis' coverage team before coasting to the finish.

        With Candlestick Park rocking for just the second time since late 2003,
        Terry Jackson recovered an onside kick for the *****. That drive stalled, but ...
        -09-11-2005, 07:49 PM
      • Nick
        Gordon: Good, Bay, Ugly
        by Nick
        For a change, Rams play a clean, smart, relentless game
        Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
        Sunday, Oct. 03 2004

        OK, we can all get off Mike Martz's back – for a week anyway.

        His Rams flew out to San Francisco and played clean, smart, relentless football
        while handling the overmatched ***** 24-14.

        After this team's disappointing 1-2 start, fans were clamoring for improvement
        across the board. In Sunday night's nationally televised ESPN game, they got it.

        Coach Martz produced a sensible offensive game plan, establishing a powerful
        running game to set up a very efficient passing game. Not only did Marshall
        Faulk (40th 100-yard game in his career) get plenty of work, but first-round
        draft pick Steven Jackson stayed busy as well.

        Quarterback Marc Bulger played pitch and catch with Isaac Bruce (fourth
        straight 100-yard game!), Torry Holt, Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald as the
        passing game diversified.

        Defensive coordinator Larry Marmie's beleaguered unit scored two early
        takeaways to help the Rams maintain control of the game. These guys were
        overdue; those were the first two Rams takeaways this fall.

        For the first time all season, the Rams' offense got some short fields to work
        with. And they took good advantage of their opportunities.

        Also, their kick coverage was fine for a change . . . the Rams avoided the
        costly penalties that plagued them during the first three weeks . . . the
        defense pursued hard and hit hard, breaking down the Niners offense . . . this
        team pretty much checked everything off the checklist.

        Meeting Martz's mandate to play "fast and furious," the Rams raced to a 24-0
        halftime lead and sent ESPN viewers to bed early.

        Now the Rams' schedule turns ugly, starting with the upcoming trip to Seattle.
        But at least this team, unlike once-proud teams like the Buccaneers and
        Dolphins, still has a chance to make a move this season.

        THE GOOD

        * It was nice to see linebacker Trev Faulk back from his hamstring tear. Back
        on the kickoff return coverage team, he helped stop ***** return man Jamal
        Robertson short of the 20-yard line. He continued to make notable plays on
        subsequent kickoffs.

        * Blitzing with abandon during the game's first series, the Rams defense
        scored a quick sack with linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa leading the charge. That
        thwarted the Niners' first foray into scoring position.

        That doesn't go into the book as a turnover, but the impact was about the same.

        * On the Rams' first possession, Martz established the run with his two-back
        "I" formation....
        -10-03-2004, 10:53 PM
      • RamWraith
        Rams' late stand holds off *****
        by RamWraith
        By Greg Beacham

        SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Though the St. Louis Rams still have problems, they're nothing compared to the San Francisco *****' historic woes.

        Marc Bulger shook off another beating to pass for 155 yards and an early touchdown to Torry Holt, and the St. Louis defense was solid until the final seconds Sunday in a 13-9 victory over the *****, who lost their eighth straight.

        Bulger was sacked six times by the *****, who also sacked him six times in the clubs' first meeting. The Rams (2-8) couldn't score a touchdown after their opening drive and managed just 38 yards of offense in the second half, but the defense had little trouble with San Francisco's league-worst offense until two desperate fourth-quarter drives.

        After floundering all afternoon, the ***** (2-8) drove 68 yards in the final 1:28 to the St. Louis 21. But with 3 seconds to play, Trent Dilfer's final pass was intercepted at the goal line by Oshiomogho Atogwe.

        After the longest winless start in the franchise's 70-year history, the Rams have won both outings with Steven Jackson back in good health. The star running back had 92 persistent yards in his second full game after missing four weeks with a torn groin muscle and most of another game with a bulging disk in his back.

        Dilfer passed for 231 yards -- 141 in the fourth quarter -- while filling in for Alex Smith as the ***** slid into their longest losing streak since 1999. San Francisco hasn't won since its trip to St. Louis in mid-September, and hasn't scored a touchdown since the opening drive of its loss in Atlanta two weeks ago.

        San Francisco had a chance to tie it late, but tight end Vernon Davis and Darrell Jackson dropped tough potential touchdown catches on consecutive plays leading up to the 2-minute warning. Coach Mike Nolan settled for Joe Nedney's third field goal.

        Dilfer was 20-of-42 with an interception in his latest chance to fill in for Alex Smith, who sat out with a sore throwing arm that caused plenty of drama in San Francisco over the past week. Smith wore his helmet while watching on the sideline, but didn't play.

        After performing poorly in the *****' last three losses, Smith complained his arm wasn't as healthy as he or Nolan claimed, exposing a lack of communication between the coaching staff and its franchise quarterback.

        Until the final minutes, Dilfer couldn't spark an offense that managed 96 yards in the first three quarters before finishing with 244. The Rams' defense had its way with the San Francisco offensive line, repeatedly stopping Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore at the scrimmage line.

        Holt's 3-yard TD catch capped a 79-yard march on St. Louis' opening drive. Both defenses stiffened after that, particularly after halftime. Both teams combined for 29 net yards and one first down in the...
        -11-18-2007, 08:09 PM
      • RamWraith
        Season In Review - Part II
        by RamWraith
        Wednesday, January 17, 2007

        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        Through five games, the Rams sat at 4-1 and had an important date with the Seahawks set for Oct. 15.

        As the final game before the bye week, St. Louis hoped to continue its three game winning streak, carry momentum into the bye and put itself in position to win the NFC West Division.

        Seattle was coming off a bye of its own, but would be without star running back Shaun Alexander. The Rams run defense, which had been up and down to that point of the season, was in good position to have a solid outing in Alexander’s absence.

        Meanwhile, the offense had begun to find itself in the previous weeks and seemed set for another strong performance.

        What once was a tale of two halves changed into a tale of two minutes in the most frantic of finishes in a Rams season full of them.

        With the Rams trailing 27-21 and 2:54 to play, defensive end Leonard Little came up with a huge play for the second consecutive week. This time, he forced Seattle running back Maurice Morris to fumble as the Seahawks were attempting to run the ball and run out the clock.

        Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy fell on the ball and the Rams had new life at their 7 with a timeout and the two minute warning in tow.

        That situation eventually led to a third down play in which quarterback Marc Bulger hit receiver Shaun McDonald for a 28-yard gain. Following a false start penalty on left guard Todd Steussie, the Rams had a second-and-15 at their 33.

        Coach Scott Linehan called Crush X7 Pump, a play designed to isolate receivers on safeties. In this case, it was Holt on Seattle free safety Michael Boulware. Bulger pump faked and Holt made a quick jab move that he would say later wasn’t one of his best. The offensive line gave Bulger plenty of time to throw and he floated a deep pass over Holt’s left shoulder with Boulware close behind. Holt reached back and grabbed at the ball, but couldn’t haul it in directly.

        Holt’s momentum carried him forward and the ball went backward as Holt reached back with his right hand and hauled it in. Boulware fell to the ground and Holt raced in for an astonishing 67-yard touchdown. Kicker Jeff Wilkins booted the extra point to give the Rams a 28-27 lead.

        It was a play that could have been THE play for the Rams. The type of play that could spur the Rams on to bigger and better things. Unfortunately, time was not on their side this time around.

        There was a healthy 1:44 left in the game when St. Louis kicked the ball back to Seattle. For a team that has played every play through the end of every game this season, nobody knows better than the Rams about having to finish a game out.

        Seattle’s drive started at its 17, but a pair of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck passes netted 33 yards in just 38 seconds to put...
        -01-18-2007, 06:49 AM