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  • Rams streak past Seattle

    Rams streak past Seattle
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Oct. 10 2004

    SEATTLE - Not only was Seattle in the NFC West driver's seat, the Seahawks had
    their seatbelts fastened and car keys in hand and had adjusted the rear- and
    side-view mirrors.

    They had dominated St. Louis for 3 1/2 quarters on Sunday at Qwest Field. With
    a 27-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter, they were poised to go 4-0 for
    the first time in franchise history and leave St. Louis wheezing in their
    exhaust.

    Rams quarterback Marc Bulger had looked downright horrible, throwing three
    interceptions - just one shy of his career high. Seattle running back Shaun
    Alexander, en route to a 150-yard rushing day, was tap-dancing all over the St.
    Louis defense. And Rams wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt had been
    bottled up by the young, aggressive, Seattle secondary.

    But then the darnedest thing happened. Against the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense,
    a defense that had yielded only 13 points all season, St. Louis scored 17
    points in the final 5 1/2 minutes of regulation, then won the game 33-27 on a
    52-yard touchdown pass from Bulger to Shaun McDonald.

    "I can't explain it," defensive end Leonard Little said. "This team has a whole
    lot of heart. Today we showed people that when you're down, just don't give up.
    Make plays and claw and scratch your way back into the game."

    Claw and scratch they did.

    Throwing into double coverage, Bulger connected with Brandon Manumaleuna over
    the middle with 5 minutes 34 seconds to play on an 8-yard touchdown pass that
    cut Seattle's lead to 27-17.

    Seattle went three and out, and after a 39-yard punt return by McDonald, Bulger
    threw 41 yards to Kevin Curtis for a TD with 3:30 to play. Lining up in the
    slot, Curtis split defensive backs Ken Lucas and Terreal Bierria for his first
    NFL touchdown. Seattle's lead was now 27-24.

    Seattle managed one first down after the kickoff, but was forced to punt after
    Little sacked quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on third and 5 from the Seattle 41.

    St. Louis got the ball back with no timeouts and 64 seconds to play at its 36.
    Completions of 27 yards to Isaac Bruce and 16 yards to Dane Looker gave St.
    Louis a first down at the Seahawks' 18 with 13 seconds to play.

    Out trotted place-kicker Jeff Wilkins - aka Money. His 36-yard field goal with
    8 seconds to play sent the game into overtime tied 27-all.

    The Rams won the coin toss in overtime, and needed only six plays to complete
    one of the more improbable comebacks in franchise history. A comeback that was
    fast and furious.

    On third and 8 from the Rams 48, Seattle blitzed Bulger. Coach Mike Martz was
    hoping Bulger would go underneath to Torry Holt, running a slant pattern. But
    no. Bulger went for the entire ball of wax.

    He threw deep to McDonald, running a streak pattern. He had only a safety -
    Beirria - to beat. Beirria tugged at McDonald's jersey to try to slow him down,
    but it didn't work.

    McDonald streaked into the north end zone for a 52-yard sudden-death touchdown.
    Sudden death for Seattle, that is. The end zone quickly degenerated into a mosh
    pit as McDonald was surrounded and mobbed by most of his Rams teammates.

    Moments later, Bruce tossed his helmet to the ground near the south end zone,
    and "saluted" the stunned Seahawks fans. One of the fans responded by throwing
    a beer bottle at Bruce. It fell short by about 5 yards. Bruce was unfazed.

    "I saw it," Bruce said. "I'm used to that. I'm from the 'hood."

    Seattle safety Ken Hamlin also took offense to Bruce's antics. He ran out to
    Bruce, kicked Bruce's helmet, and the two exchanged words.

    "There was no conflict, no confrontation between anybody," Bruce said later.
    "Just two guys fighting for the lead in the division."

    Right now, the Rams have taken the fight to the Seahawks, who saw their
    franchise-record 10-game home-winning streak snapped. For everyone who thought
    the division was Seattle's - and a lot of people did - the Rams' reply Sunday
    was: Not so fast.

    "I don't know what it shows," Bruce said. But then he added with a touch of
    sarcasm, "Just read the standings (today) and you can see for yourself."

    The standings show the Seahawks still leading the West at 3-1, but the Rams are
    now right behind at 3-2. Seattle, by the way, plays at New England next Sunday.

    "People were counting us out way too soon," McDonald said.

    Several of his teammates echoed that sentiment.

    "Last I checked, WE won the West division last year," running back Marshall
    Faulk said. "That's all I know. I'm a factual person."

    "I think everybody in this locker room took it as a challenge," offensive
    tackle Orlando Pace said. "Everybody was writing us off as far as the division
    goes."

    Martz practically floated off the field. He still had his sunglasses on during
    his postgame news conference. When asked if he'd ever been part of such a
    dramatic comeback, he paused, then said: "No. And I've never been a part of a
    team like this. This is a connected team."

    The Rams locker room was a jubilant place, even among the veterans who have
    played in Super Bowls and won division titles. Punter Sean Landeta, ever the
    historian, asked a reporter if the Rams had ever had a fourth-quarter comeback
    like this since the move to St. Louis.

    Nope. The closest came in the 2000 wild-card playoff game against New Orleans,
    when the Rams almost wiped out a 31-7 deficit but lost 31-28.

    Bruce, who has been around all 10 seasons in St. Louis, called it the most
    satisfying victory he had ever been a part of in the NFL.

    "It's fun," Faulk said. "It's a whole new area. It's fun because we got guys
    around here that aren't used to doing things like that."

    Even Rams President John Shaw, a person not prone to overstatement, said, "It
    was the most exciting comeback I've seen. I can't remember one this big."

    And one that may have salvaged a season for St. Louis.

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  • Nick
    No miracle this time
    by Nick
    No miracle this time
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Sunday, Nov. 13 2005

    SEATTLE — There was a moment in the fourth quarter, after the Rams
    had scratched their way back into the game, when Marshall Faulk turned to his
    teammates and said, "This looks real familiar."

    "And it did," said teammate Dane Looker. "When we got that touchdown, it put us
    down by eight. We felt we could get in position to make a run at it."

    They trailed by a modest 24-16 with seven minutes to play Sunday after a Marc
    Bulger touchdown pass to Torry Holt.

    For sure, the Rams had faced bigger deficits at Qwest Field than eight points.
    Last year, they were down 17 with less than six minutes to play, yet rallied to
    win 33-27 in overtime.

    "Maybe some guys that weren't on the team, Alex (Barron) and those guys,"
    Bulger said. "You've got to remind them that we've been in a lot worse
    situations than this. There's a lot of time; we can come back."

    Not this time. When the final chapter is written on how the West was won in
    2005, it will be duly noted that the Seattle Seahawks got the ball with seven
    minutes to play in the fourth quarter with that 24-16 lead. The Rams had all
    three timeouts remaining. Their task was clear: force Seattle to punt. Score a
    touchdown, and then tie the game with a 2-point conversion.

    Trouble was, the Rams didn't get the ball back until there was just 1:12 to
    play. By that time, they were out of timeouts and trailed 31-16. That's because
    Seattle basically won the NFC West with a time-consuming - and for St. Louis -
    spirit-draining drive that chewed up 69 yards and nearly six minutes of clock.

    On a day when he would finish with 165 rushing yards, Seattle wunderback Shaun
    Alexander carried nine times on that drive. Four times on the drive, the
    Seahawks were faced with third-down situations - and on all four they
    converted. Alexander the Great took care of the final conversion himself,
    racing 17 yards around left end on third and 1 to finish off the Rams with his
    third touchdown of the day.

    "On that drive, that's what was going on the whole game," defensive lineman
    Tyoka Jackson said.

    Namely, the Seahawks being able to get it done in critical situations ... and
    the Rams unable to do the same. As a result, it's all but a foregone conclusion
    that the Seahawks will repeat as NFC West champions after Sunday's 31-16
    victory over St. Louis.

    Seattle is 7-2, having swept the Rams for the first time since realignment
    placed the two franchises in the same division in 2002. The Rams are 4-5 and,
    in effect, are four games...
    -11-13-2005, 11:57 PM
  • RamWraith
    Anatomy of a Comeback
    by RamWraith
    Wednesday, January 5, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    In almost every great comeback in every major sport, the story is almost always the same. The situation, the result and especially the hero are usually the same.

    Take any great comeback the Denver Broncos ever had and quarterback John Elway was prominently involved. Same with San Francisco and Joe Montana and ditto for Dan Marino and the Dolphins.

    When the Rams found themselves down by 17 with 8:42 to go against Seattle on Oct. 10, any hope of a comeback appeared to rest squarely on the shoulders of the usual cast of characters. A long touchdown pass to receivers Isaac Bruce or Torry Holt or a scintillating play by running back Marshall Faulk would usually be in the offing.

    But the usual suspects were not the heroes, not on that day. Instead, young receivers Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis filled the roles of Bruce and Holt. Tight end Brandon Manumaleuna made the catch of his life. Quarterback Marc Bulger was the driving force, bouncing back from a rough three quarters and emerging as the kind of clutch player teams dream of having behind center.

    A 27-10 deficit turned into a stunning 33-27 win. It was the type of win that can turn a season that could have been ruined by a devastating loss to New Orleans two weeks prior into another division championship season. And this time, the story wasn’t written about the guys you would expect.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said many of his lesser-known players got a lesson in how to win big games on that day.

    “There were a lot of young players that learned how to compete, and stay in it,” Martz said. “We had some players show up in this game that made plays to help us win this game. Guys like McDonald, Curtis, of course Brandon with his touchdown catch.”

    The lesson learned that day by guys who before the game were role players went beyond any that could be gleaned in a film room.

    Seattle kicker Josh Brown booted a 34-yard field goal with 8:47 to play to give the Seahawks a 27-10 lead. At that point, any chance of a comeback for St. Louis seemed to sink away into Puget Sound. Instead, the Rams erupted like Mount St. Helens.

    On their ensuing possession, the Rams moved 66 yards on eight plays in 3:08 capped by Manumaleuna’s spectacular 8-yard touchdown catch in traffic. Kicker Jeff Wilkins’ extra point made it 27-17 with 5:43 left. It was a small glimmer of hope, but it was enough of an opening for St. Louis to take momentum.

    The defense earned a three and out, setting up a Seattle punt. The Rams took over on Seattle’s 41 after McDonald’s 39-yard punt return. St. Louis then connected on the quickest of quick strikes. Bulger threw a perfect, arcing spiral over the top of the Seahawks’ secondary to a streaking Curtis for a 41-yard touchdown. The one-play drive took all of seven...
    -01-05-2005, 12:56 PM
  • Nick
    Seahawks looking for redemption against Rams
    by Nick
    Seahawks looking for redemption against Rams
    By TIM KORTE
    AP SPORTS WRITER

    SEATTLE -- It was the game that has defined the season for the Seattle Seahawks - a collapse that's been questioned, dissected and rehashed since mid-October.

    Perhaps the most infamous 11 minutes in franchise history.

    "When all of us are done playing, we'll still remember it as one of the most embarrassing games we've ever played," cornerback Ken Lucas said. "You never forget a game like that."

    The St. Louis Rams rallied for a 33-27 win Oct. 10, erasing a 17-point deficit with 8:47 to play and scoring less than 3 minutes into overtime. With an almost unbelievable turn of events, they stunned the Seahawks.

    "Given the time that was left, the perfect chain of events had to take place for the Rams to have a chance," Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said.

    That's exactly what happened, but Seattle gets another shot this weekend.

    The Rams - who also beat the Seahawks 23-12 in St. Louis a few weeks later - return for Saturday's wild-card playoff, revisiting the site of their hallmark victory during a frustrating season.

    "We've used that a lot this year, any time we've faced some adversity," Rams quarterback Marc Bulger said. "A couple of weeks ago, we were 6-8 and we knew we had to win our last two. We reflected back to that final quarter in Seattle."

    What a quarter it was.

    Seattle led 27-10 after Josh Brown's 34-yard field goal with 8:47 to go. St. Louis made it 27-17 on Brandon Manumaleuna's circus catch with 5:43 on the clock, then Kevin Curtis caught a 41-yard TD pass to make it 27-24 with 3:37 remaining.

    St. Louis got the ball again, leading to a 36-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins with 13 seconds left. On the sixth play from scrimmage in overtime, Bulger read an all-out blitz and flipped a 52-yard TD pass to Shaun McDonald.

    "Unbelievable feeling. It was one of those great feelings in sports," St. Louis safety Adam Archuleta said.

    "What it comes down to is you've got guys making plays," Rams coach Mike Martz explained. "There's nothing magical about what we were doing. The thing you talk about with these guys is attitude and never giving in to anything."

    How did it look from Seattle's side? Let's just say there were some really unfortunate events.

    Rocky Bernard was assessed a 15-yard penalty for hitting Bulger's face mask during a 20-yard completion on third-and-13. Shaun Alexander was stopped on third-and-1 to force one punt and Matt Hasselbeck was sacked for a 12-yard loss on third-and-5.

    The Rams earned that win, no doubt, but the Seahawks gave it away.

    "I probably needed to be humbled. I just want to say that I've learned my lesson,"...
    -01-07-2005, 12:26 PM
  • RamDez
    Colossal comeback haunts Seahawks
    by RamDez
    Colossal comeback haunts Seahawks
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Jan. 07 2005

    SEATTLE - Shaun McDonald had made his share of game-winning plays in high
    school and college. But not like this.

    "Not where I score, and the game's over," McDonald said. "That's something you
    dream of, and I'm glad I was part of that."

    Just five plays into overtime Oct. 10 at Qwest Field, the Rams faced a
    third-and-8 from their 48. The Seahawks sent seven pass rushers at Marc Bulger.
    Had center Andy McCollum not picked up a blitzing linebacker, Bulger probably
    gets plastered and the Rams lose. But McCollum picked him up.

    Meanwhile, McDonald saw the nickel back drop off him to rush the passer and
    adjusted his route accordingly. He ran a deep route right at - and right by -
    Seattle safety Terreal Bierria.

    "Marc put up a beautiful ball and I caught it in stride," McDonald said.

    McDonald's 52-yard touchdown catch meant sudden death for the Seahawks and
    sudden victory for the Rams. And it capped one of the biggest late-game
    comebacks in NFL history.

    McDonald remembers slamming the football against the stadium wall in the north
    end zone at Qwest and then getting pinned against that same wall by his
    delirious teammates. It was so much fun that McDonald was oblivious to the
    angry Seahawks fans in that end zone. But teammate Larry Turner wasn't.

    "I remember how (upset) the fans were," Turner said. "You could see the fans
    throwing (plastic) beer bottles, and ice cream cones. I just remember their
    whole crowd was thinking that they had the game won, and we just came back and
    surprised them."

    Boy, did they. After being dominated in the first half, the Rams still found
    themselves trailing 27-10 as the fourth quarter wound down. But a miraculous
    catch by tight end Brandon Manumaleuna with 5 minutes 34 seconds to play began
    the second-biggest comeback in league history in the final 6 minutes of a game.

    "I think (the pass) was for Isaac," Manumaleuna said Thursday. "But I got in
    the way of it. I didn't know (Bruce) was there until I saw the film. I just saw
    it in the air and went and grabbed it."

    With three Seahawks defenders in the area, no less.

    "Brandon's catch is the catch of the year by anybody's standards," coach Mike
    Martz said. "When Brandon made that catch, I don't think there was a guy on the
    sideline who had any doubt in their mind that somehow we'd figure out a way to
    win this thing. That was my feeling.

    "It was an amazing play. To me, that's probably right there with Isaac's Super
    Bowl catch, and Ricky Proehl's...
    -01-08-2005, 02:21 AM
  • Nick
    Feisty Rams' motto: "We're not done yet"
    by Nick
    Feisty Rams' motto: "We're not done yet"
    By Bryan Burwell
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    10/10/2004

    SEATTLE - At the end of this mind-blowing, uplifting, heart-pounding, totally delirious Sunday afternoon, the only thing left to do was to add a little insult to injury. So there was the normally placid Isaac Bruce, out there in the middle of the formerly raucous, but suddenly silent Qwest Field, gleefully assuming the surprising role of the audacious agitator.

    Mere moments after Shaun McDonald had raced into the end zone with the game-winning 52-yard touchdown catch and the Rams had completed this exhilarating 33-27 sudden-death victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Bruce went racing across the field, laughing and shouting like a man possessed. He held his blue-and-gold helmet high in the air, pumping it fast and furiously (ah, there goes that phrase again), until he reached the 10-yard line near Qwest Field's southern end zone seats.

    It was there that Bruce could look out and see all the bewildered faces of these stunned Seahawks players and fans. They held their heads in despair. They slumped in their seats in disbelief. They pounded the stadium walls in frustration, or just milled around like lifeless zombies.

    So Bruce knew exactly what he had to do. He defiantly pounded his helmet onto the ground like he was some daring explorer and this tomblike building and all he surveyed was his conquered land.

    "We're STILL the (NFC West) division champs!" Bruce screamed, thumping his chest, waving his fist and shouting to the heavens. "You ain't won NUTHIN' YET!"

    This was the message of the day - maybe even the message of the entire season. Don't bury the Rams just yet. Before anyone in the NFC West starts planning any funerals for the Rams, who have won three of the past five division titles, it would be strongly advised to kill them first. And as this improbable come-from-behind victory showed, deposing the Rams won't be all that easy.

    "This is the kind of victory that can be a springboard for us," said Tyoka Jackson, as the Rams defensive captain hobbled around the visitors' locker room with a strained hamstring. "This is the kind of victory that can start us on another one of those runs we've been known to have."

    For most of the day, the Rams had played like a team on the verge of being banished into that dark and ugly athletic netherworld where has-beens and deposed champions go to die. For most of the day, the Seahawks played like the pre-season Super Bowl favorites most of the football world had them pegged to be. The Seahawks had rolled to a dominating 27- 10 third-quarter lead, and appeared to be on their way to their fourth victory of the season without a defeat.

    By halftime, it sure did look like the Seahawks were ready to finally stake their claim...
    -10-10-2004, 11:12 PM
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