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  • How the Rams won / The Report Card

    The Comeback: How the Rams won
    Monday, Oct. 11 2004

    The Rams rallied to force overtime and steal the victory by scoring on four
    successive possessions. Here's how they did it:

    DRIVE 1
    (trailing 27-10, 8:42 remaining)

    Key plays: Marc Bulger connected on two third downs, hitting Isaac
    Bruce on third and 13 and Shaun McDonald on third and 8.
    Drive stats: 8 plays, 66 yards, 3:08.
    Touchdown: Brandon Manumaleuna, 8-yard pass from Bulger.
    Seattle response: three plays, punt.

    DRIVE 2
    (trailing 27-17, 3:37 remaining)

    Drive stats: 1 play, 41 yards, 0:07.
    Touchdown: Kevin Curtis 41-yard pass from Bulger.
    Seattle response: four plays, punt.

    DRIVE 3
    (trailing 27-24, 1:14 remaining)

    Key play: Bulger hits Bruce for 27 yards on second and 10 from Rams
    36, then completes 16-yard pass to Dane Looker on third and 7 from Seahawks 34.
    Drive stats: 6 plays, 46 yards, 1:06.
    Field goal: Jeff Wilkins from 36 yards.
    Seattle response: knelt down to send game to overtime

    DRIVE 4
    (27-27 tie, Rams win flip and get the ball in overtime)

    Key play: Bulger connects with Torry Holt for 13 yards on third and
    6 from the Rams 33.
    Drive stats: 6 plays, 71 yards, 3:02.
    Touchdown: McDonald 52-yard pass from Bulger.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rams-Seahawks Report Card


    Sunday, Oct. 10 2004

    Quarterback: B
    Chalk one up to persistence. After his third interception, Bulger was 10 for 15
    for 202 yards with 3 TDs.

    Running backs: B-
    Jackson's 48-yard ramble set up Rams' 1st TD; Faulk's numbers weren't glossy
    but kept Seattle honest.

    Receivers: A
    Bruce and Holt earned every yard; but it was McDonald, Curtis, Manumaleuna and
    Looker who made the difference.

    Offensive line: B
    Stayed with it against aggressive Seattle defense and found a way to slow pass
    rush down the stretch.

    Defensive line: C
    Couldn't slow Shaun Alexander and the run; got to Hasselbeck only once although
    it was a big sack.

    Linebackers: C-
    Run support wasn't always there; only so-so in coverage against Seahawks TEs
    and RBs.

    Secondary: C-
    Coady struggled in coverage on 2 Seattle TDs; corners did decent job on Jackson
    and Robinson.

    Special teams: B+
    A clutch FG by Wilkins, steady punting by Landeta, good coverage units, and a
    clutch punt return by McDonald.

    Coaching: A
    Give Martz credit for not panicking despite deficit, and Marmie credit for
    adjusting in second half.

  • #2
    Re: How the Rams won / The Report Card

    I GIVE THE WHOLE TEAM AN a FOR EFFORT!
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
    :ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram:

    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How the Rams won / The Report Card

      I think what is missing from this "report card" is the fact Martz finally wised-up and used the run (even though it wasn't dominating) to soften up the D. That allowed the WRs to get open in the secondary.

      Martz HAS TO realize that you don't always have to average 5 yards per carry for the running game to be affective.

      Congrats to Martz for finally starting to notice. If he can continue to operate this way, the RAMS WILL BE successful.

      gap
      Last edited by gap; -10-11-2004, 07:37 AM.

      Comment

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      • Nick
        Three-peat! Rams dump Seattle again
        by Nick
        Three-peat! Rams dump Seattle again
        BY JEFF GORDON
        Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
        01/08/2005

        The NFL has had 8-8 teams in the playoffs before. But an 8-8 team has never won a playoff game . . . until Saturday afternoon in Seattle.

        Using a diverse offensive attack and clever play-calling, the Rams toppled the Seahawks 27-20 in a predictably exciting wild-card game.

        Quarterback Marc Bulger threw the game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Cam Cleeland -– Cam Cleeland! -– with 2 minutes 11 seconds left.

        Then the Rams defense mustered one final stop to secure their third victory over the Seahawks this season.

        The Seahawks had one last shot to force overtime. But on a fourth-and-four play from the Rams 5, Matt Hasselbeck scrambled around and then bounced an incomplete pass off Bobby Engram.

        So the Rams move on.

        We’re certain the national media will find more reasons to slap coach Mike Martz around this week, but we’ll give the man his due. Burned timeouts aside, he designed and called an excellent game plan to beat Mike Holmgren’s Seahawks on the road.

        (Had the Seahawks possessed receivers that could actually catch the ball, they would have won. But, hey, that’s their problem.)


        THE GOOD


        * The Rams came out firing. After establishing running back Marshall Faulk as a receiver with two quick completions, quarterback Marc Bulger went up top to an uncovered Torry Holt for a 52-yard gain.

        Why run the ball when the Seahawks secondary stands transfixed while Holt runs his deep pattern? That play sent Bulger sailing toward a 313-yard passing performance.


        * Bulger came back to Holt, who knifed into another gaping hole in the Seattle zone to make a sliding catch for a 15-yard touchdown.


        * Cornerback Travis Fisher was paying attention when receiver Darrell Jackson dropped Seattle’s first pass of the game. Fisher managed to field it before it hit the ground for a rare Rams interception.


        * On their second trip to the field, the Rams defense earned a three-and-out stop. Nice.


        * Bulger found another huge hole in the Seahawks defense, bombing over the top of safety Michael Boulware to speedy Kevin Curtis for 50 yards. Cha-ching!


        * Faulk covered the remaining five yards in two carries, pushing the Rams' lead to 14-3 early in the second quarter.


        * How sharp was Bulger? How about that pinpoint 22-yard pass to Isaac Bruce through a tiny seam in the second quarter? Brilliant.


        * The combination of defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, with a big hit on Hasselbeck, and safety Adam Archuleta, with the pass break-up, combined to thwart the Seahawks on a big third-down play late in the first half.


        ...
        -01-08-2005, 11:22 PM
      • Nick
        Steady Bulger spearheads Rams' rally
        by Nick
        Steady Bulger spearheads Rams' rally
        By Bill Coats
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        Sunday, Oct. 10 2004

        SEATTLE - In the first 231 minutes and 18 seconds of the season - a span of
        three full games and almost 3 1/2 quarters on Sunday - the Seattle Seahawks
        grudgingly yielded 23 points.

        Then like a bolt out of the blue Puget Sound waters near Qwest Field, the Rams
        took just 11:44 to double that total, turning a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit
        into a riveting 33-27 overtime victory.

        Instead of slamming the door, the Seahawks opened it wide. Or perhaps more
        accurately, the Rams battered it down. They charged back behind a poised Marc
        Bulger, the fourth-year quarterback who shrugged off a woeful first half and
        "led us to this victory," guard Scott Tercero said.

        "That just goes to show the character of Marc Bulger," tackle Orlando Pace
        added. "We knew he was going to bounce back. And as a unit, we just believed
        and we continued to fight. Things just worked out our way."

        Bulger piled up 273 of his 325 passing yards in the last two quarters and the
        3:02 that overtime lasted until he found streaking wide receiver Shaun McDonald
        for a 52-yard touchdown that numbed the record turnout of 66,940.
        Fourth-quarter TD tosses of 8 yards to tight end Brandon Manumaleuna and 41
        yards to wideout Kevin Curtis made it 27-24.

        "We're just super excited," said Bulger, who connected on 24 of 42 passes. "If
        we didn't make our comeback, everybody would be writing us off. Not that
        everyone thinks we're one of the top teams in the league, but we have a lot
        more credibility now. To do what we did at the end against the No. 1 defense in
        the league, and on the road, it's huge."

        Seattle (3-1) was cruising 24-7 at the break, and Bulger was struggling. He'd
        hit on just eight of 14 passes for 52 yards and had been intercepted twice. His
        passer rating was a meager 25.6.

        Still, Tercero said he saw no sign of panic in Bulger. "One thing coach (Mike)
        Martz always talks about is resolve and perseverance," Tercero said. "Marc
        shows the most resolve out of all of us."

        Said Bulger: "You've got to keep plugging. In my mind, if I just stick to the
        course and keep doing what I'm doing, guys are going to get open. We gave (the
        Seahawks) enough looks where they started to sit on different things, and it
        worked."

        While the defense limited Seattle to three points and 85 yards in the last half
        and OT, Bulger progressively found a rhythm. On the tying drive, he hit Isaac
        Bruce across the middle for 27 yards, then two plays later hooked up with Dane...
        -10-10-2004, 11:15 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
      • RamDez
        Rams respond, slam Seattle
        by RamDez
        Rams respond, slam Seattle


        BY JEFF GORDON
        Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
        11/14/2004


        Now THIS was fast and furious football.

        Rams coach Mike Martz was furious this week. And the Rams were certainly fast when they hit the field Sunday afternoon -- scoring the first three times they touched the ball to get rolling toward a 23-12 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

        Outraged by his team’s uninspired play during losses at Miami and at home against New England, Martz cracked the whip this week.

        He challenged his players from the podium, during his news conferences at Rams Park, and he challenged them in meeting rooms and on the practice field as well.

        Really Mad Mike got the desired result. After building an early 17-0 lead, the Rams played sturdy defense at their end of the field and forced the Seahawks into two critical red-zone turnovers.

        By beating the Seahawks, the Rams (5-4) pulled back into a tie for the NFC West lead and put themselves back into position to make a playoff run. They own the tiebreaker after beating Seattle twice.

        Martz decided to use his passing game to set up the run, instead of vice-versa. With the offensive line providing ample protection, quarterback Marc Bulger was able to spread the ball to all his targets and get the Air Martz attack into full flight.

        With the Seahawks back on their heels, running backs Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk went to work on the ground. Martz’s offensive game plan played out beautifully in the first half.

        Even the loss of All-Pro receiver Torry Holt to a first-quarter concussion and All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace to a third-quarter ejection couldn’t derail the Rams in this game.

        Guard Chris Dishman (sprained knee) and cornerback Travis Fisher (mouth injury) also missed time in this game, but the Rams persevered with the likes of Blaine Saipaia, Tom Nutten and Mike Furrey filling offensive roles.


        THE GOOD


        * The oft-maligned Rams special teams opened with a prank -- an end-around pitch on the opening kickoff, with DeJuan Groce taking the ball out to the 29. Surprisingly, nobody threw an illegal block on this play.


        * Martz came out firing, calling pass after pass after pass. Completions to Isaac Bruce, Holt, Bruce again, Faulk and finally Kevin Curtis put the Rams up 7-0 just 2 minutes 37 seconds into the game.

        The pass protection was notable through that six-play, 71-yard drive -- especially on the touchdown pass to Curtis. Bulger could have run through his progressions twice and not gotten touched on that play.


        * The Rams defense fed off that opening TD drive by delivering a three-and-out stop on their first turn on the field. The front seven stuffed the run and applied pressure on Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

        ...
        -11-14-2004, 11:22 PM
      • RamDez
        Rams Upend Seahawks Again, 23-12
        by RamDez
        Rams Upend Seahawks Again, 23-12
        Sunday, November 14, 2004


        NFL.com wire reports

        Mike Martz got angry, and the St. Louis Rams got the message.

        Marc Bulger got off to a red-hot start and a beleaguered defense held Seattle to three field goals in five trips inside the 20 in a 23-12 victory that earned them a first-place tie with the Seahawks in the NFC West on Sunday. The Rams had drawn the ire of their head coach, who twice put the season on their backs after consecutive losses to the beat-up Patriots and previously winless Dolphins.

        The Rams (5-4) responded to Mad Mike by sweeping the season series against their top competition in the West, this time benefiting from an early cushion rather than a fast finish. The Rams led 17-0 early in the second quarter in the rematch; they scored 17 points in the final 5½ minutes of regulation of an overtime victory in Seattle on Oct. 10.

        Shaun Alexander had 176 yards on 22 carries, giving him 531 yards the last three games and putting him over 1,000 yards for the fourth straight season. But Alexander's fumble after a 35-yard gain to the St. Louis 9 early in the fourth quarter blew the Seahawks' chance to tie it, with Aeneas Williams stripping the ball and Rich Coady recovering.

        Matt Hasselbeck had one of his worst games of the season for the Seahawks (5-4), going 15-for-36 for 172 yards. The Seahawks were limited to four field goals by Josh Brown.

        Bulger was 5-for-6 for 71 yards on the opening drive, capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Curtis, and was 12-for-15 in the first quarter for 158 yards. By early in the second quarter he had spread the ball to nine receivers.

        He was ineffective much of the second half playing with the lead, finishing 23-for-34 for 262 yards. But Marshall Faulk helped compensate, shrugging off a lost fumble and finishing with a season-best 139 yards on 18 carries, and the Rams totaled a season-best 202 yards on the ground.

        The Rams came out firing. Martz called 13 consecutive passes to open the game and 10 were completions, including the 15-yard TD to Curtis.

        He finally called for a handoff midway through the second quarter, resulting in a 14-yard gain by Steven Jackson. Jackson scored from the 4 on the next play for a 14-0 lead.

        St. Louis just missed making it three touchdowns on their first three drives. Shaun McDonald couldn't hold a pass over the middle in the end zone, a play Martz unsuccessfully challenged, resulting in a 36-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins for a 17-0 lead.

        The Seahawks had the ball inside the Rams 20 three times in the first half, but got only two field goals by Brown. A third trip to the red zone ended in an interception by Jerametrius Butler at the 1.

        The Rams played much of the game minus two stars. Offensive tackle Orlando Pace was ejected in the third quarter for...
        -11-14-2004, 11:20 PM
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