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  • Rams respond, slam Seattle

    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.


    * The Rams came back on offense, with Bulger spreading the ball around. Completions to Shaun McDonald, Faulk, Brandon Manumaleuna, Bruce and Joey Goodspeed moved the Rams right back into scoring position.

    Bulger completed 10 of his first 13 passes, to six different receivers. Now THAT is an offensive script to brag about.


    * Jackson finished off the second scoring drive with two blasts through the middle of the line, the second for a four-yard touchdown run. The Rams led 14-0 just 8 minutes 9 seconds into the game.


    * Cornerback Jerametrius Butler made a marvelous play to pick off a pass intended for tight end Jerramy Stevens at the Rams 1. Butler ran a better route than Stevens, who seemed to pull up, and scored an important red-zone takeaway.


    * Faulk showed he still has some jet fuel left in the tank with his 28-yard burst late in the first quarter. That was his longest run of the season (until a 40-yard gain in the fourth quarter) and it got the Rams out from the shadow of their own end zone.


    * Bulger continued spreading the ball around, hitting tight end Cam Cleeland for a 15-yard completion on a nifty little slant play. That set up a 36-yard Jeff Wilkins field goal that pushed the lead to 17-0.


    * The Rams yielded much rushing yardage to Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, but twice they held the Seahawks to second-quarter field goals after Seattle reached the red zone.


    * Kickoff returner Arlen Harris gave the Rams good field position with strong back-to-back returns in the second quarter.


    * The Rams defense started the second half in fine fashion, stopping fullback Mack Strong on a fourth-and-one play on their own 38 to turn the ball over on downs. The Rams converted that turn of events into a 47-yard Wilkins field goal and a 20-6 lead.


    * The Rams defense continued to hold in and around the red zone, forcing the Seahawks to settle for two more Josh Brown field goals in the third quarter. The latter stop was facilitated by a Leonard Little sack.


    * Hall of Fame safety Aeneas Williams earned his keep late in the third quarter, stripping the football from Alexander at the end of a 35-yard run. Teammate Rich Coady recovered the ball at the Rams 9, erasing a glorious Seattle scoring opportunity.


    * With the Rams trying to move the ball and eat some clock, a 15-yard end-around run by Curtis earned a vital Rams first down.


    * Then Faulk put the capper on the victory with his 40-yard sprint with less than three minutes left to play. That set up another Wilkins field goal and finished off the Seahawks.


    THE BAD

    * Martz went 0-for-2 on his replay challenges in the first half, and thus couldn’t question a fumble call against Bruce. So it wasn’t a flawless afternoon for Mad Mike.


    THE UGLY


    * Poor Holt. He went across the middle to grab a pass at the Seattle 22 . . . and BOOM! Seahawks safety Terreal Bierria crushed Holt to break up the play. Holt wasn’t knocked cold, but he got knocked silly.


    * On the same dismal sequence, Faulk fumbled the ball as the Rams were moving toward scoring position and Pace was ejected for roughing up an official in the melee that followed.


    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Rams respond, slam Seattle

    Rams respond, slam Seattle.
    Yes, that they did! :helmet:

    "Pass after pass after pass". Hey, I had already mentioned that in a post here hours ago! :tongue:

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams respond, slam Seattle

      You've gotta love that title.

      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.


        ...
        -01-09-2005, 12:22 AM
      • Nick
        Gordo's Quarter-by-Quarter Comments
        by Nick
        Rams-Seahawks
        By Jeff Gordon
        11/13/2005 3:12 pm

        FIRST QUARTER

        The Rams were closer to full strength than they had been in a long, long time, on both sides of the ball.

        Quarterback Marc Bulger trotted back into action Sunday with an admittedly sore shoulder. Receivers Torry Holt (knee) and Isaac Bruce (toe) also made their way back from the injured list. running at nearly full speed.

        After the bye week, the Rams were in terrific shape to face the Seahawks in a huge NFC West showdown.

        Bulger came out firing, hitting tight end Brandon Manumaleuna for a 33-yard gain that immediately thrust the Rams into scoring range. Then he connected with Manumaleuna for an 11-yard gain to move the sticks again.

        The Seahawks kept stuffing Steven Jackson on the ground, however, so the Rams ultimately had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins and an early 3-0 lead.

        Seattle marched into scoring position on its first possession, thanks to a couple of big completions to tight end Jerramy Stevens. But when Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck tried to dial the big fella up one more time, Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa knocked Stevens off his route with some blatantly illegal contact down the field.

        The officials didn’t make that obvious call, however, so safety Mike Furrey was able to walk into an easy interception to maintain the Rams’ 3-0 lead.

        On their second possession, the Rams stalled despite an 18-yard run by Jackson. But the Rams defense responded with a second stop — and nearly a second interception by Furrey, who couldn’t quite hang onto the ball after reading a third-down Seahawks pass perfectly.

        On balance, this was an excellent way to start a road game against a tough divisional opponent.


        SECOND QUARTER

        Lookie there — it’s running back Marshall Faulk! Marc Bulger put him to work as a pass catcher in the second quarter and Faulk made consecutive big plays. He made a nifty one-handed catch to gain a critical first down, then he caught a nice play-action pass for a 13-yard gain that pushed the Rams into scoring position.

        The Rams caught another break when Kevin Curtis lost the football trying to stretch for extra post-catch yardage on third down in the red zone. Fortuitously, the loose ball flew out of bounds, allowing the Rams to send in Jeff Wilkins out to bank another three points.

        Inexplicably, though, interim coach Joe Vitt called for a fake field goal play. This gem had Wilkins taking the pitch from holder Dane Looker and running around the right end.

        Wilkins runs like I do, however, so this play went very, very badly. He ended up under a pile of Seahawks.

        The Rams should have taken the three points that were on the table. There was plenty of time to gamble later in the game. Why...
        -11-14-2005, 12:43 AM
      • evil disco man
        Gordon: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
        by evil disco man

        Quick-strike Rams drop Seahawks

        By Jeff Gordon
        Online Sports Columnist
        10/10/2004

        Now THAT was fast and furious football.

        The Rams scored 17 points during a breathtaking span of 5 minutes 34 seconds in the fourth quarter – rallying from a 27-10 deficit to force the stunned Seahawks into overtime.

        Then they won the coin toss, took the opening kick-off and marched right back into Seattle territory.

        And in one of the great plays in franchise history, Marc Bulger lofted a 52-yard touchdown strike to Shaun McDonald give the Rams a thrilling 33-27 victory.

        The Seahawks blitzed on third down, the Rams picked up the extra pass rushers, Bulger knew he had his receivers singled up . . . and he led the streaking McDonald perfectly for the winning score.

        Wow.

        Bulger shook off three earlier interceptions to lead the frantic comeback. Bulger's spectacular touchdown passes to Brandon Manumaleuna and Kevin Curtis brought the Rams back from the dead.

        The two halves were dramatically different. In the first and second quarters, the Seahawks ran running back Shaun Alexander right through the middle of the battered Rams defense.

        That ground success allowed Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to execute a diversified passing attack, spreading the ball around to all this targets.

        And the Rams offense? It sputtered through the first 30 minutes of action.

        The Seahawks failed to finish off the Rams in the third quarter, however, then Mike Martz finally got his offense on track in the fourth quarter.

        Now 3-2, the Rams moved back within arm's reach of the 3-1 Seahawks for the NFC West lead.

        That makes up for that painful home-field loss to the New Orleans Saints, eh?


        THE GOOD

        * After failing miserably the first time on the field, the Rams defense earned a three-and-out stop on its second chance.


        * It took a 48-yard burst off right tackle by rookie running back Steven Jackson to arouse the Rams offense. (Their first quarter yardage total was 11 yards. Yikes!)


        * Jackson's big run set up Bulger's nine-yard touchdown sprint, on a well-executed bootleg play that cut Seattle's lead to 10-7.


        * The Rams opened up the second half with a strong running sequence, but failed to make a dent in Seattle's 24-7 lead.


        * The Rams' offensive highlight was a difficult touchdown catch in traffic by Manumaleuna. He out-leaped three Seahawks defenders to snag the jump ball.


        * Hey, the Rams got a big special teams play? McDonald broke off a 39-yard punt return to set up the Rams on Seattle's 41-yard line.


        * That led to Bulger's 41-yard touchdown...
        -10-10-2004, 09:32 PM
      • RamDez
        Quick-strike Rams drop Seahawks
        by RamDez
        Quick-strike Rams drop Seahawks
        By Jeff Gordon

        Online Sports Columnist
        10/10/2004
        Rams wide receiver Shaun McDonald runs past Seattle's Terreal Bierria (left) for a 52-yard touchdown in overtime, giving the Rams a 33-27 road win over the Seahawks.
        (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)


        Now THAT was fast and furious football.

        The Rams scored 17 points during a breathtaking span of 5 minutes 34 seconds in the fourth quarter – rallying from a 27-10 deficit to force the stunned Seahawks into overtime.

        Then they won the coin toss, took the opening kick-off and marched right back into Seattle territory.

        And in one of the great plays in franchise history, Marc Bulger lofted a 52-yard touchdown strike to Shaun McDonald give the Rams a thrilling 33-27 victory.

        The Seahawks blitzed on third down, the Rams picked up the extra pass rushers, Bulger knew he had his receivers singled up . . . and he led the streaking McDonald perfectly for the winning score.

        Wow.

        Bulger shook off three earlier interceptions to lead the frantic comeback. Bulger's spectacular touchdown passes to Brandon Manumaleuna and Kevin Curtis brought the Rams back from the dead.

        The two halves were dramatically different. In the first and second quarters, the Seahawks ran running back Shaun Alexander right through the middle of the battered Rams defense.

        That ground success allowed Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to execute a diversified passing attack, spreading the ball around to all this targets.

        And the Rams offense? It sputtered through the first 30 minutes of action.

        The Seahawks failed to finish off the Rams in the third quarter, however, then Mike Martz finally got his offense on track in the fourth quarter.

        Now 3-2, the Rams moved back within arm's reach of the 3-1 Seahawks for the NFC West lead.

        That makes up for that painful home-field loss to the New Orleans Saints, eh?


        THE GOOD

        * After failing miserably the first time on the field, the Rams defense earned a three-and-out stop on its second chance.


        * It took a 48-yard burst off right tackle by rookie running back Steven Jackson to arouse the Rams offense. (Their first quarter yardage total was 11 yards. Yikes!)


        * Jackson's big run set up Bulger's nine-yard touchdown sprint, on a well-executed bootleg play that cut Seattle's lead to 10-7.


        * The Rams opened up the second half with a strong running sequence, but failed to make a dent in Seattle's 24-7 lead.


        * The Rams' offensive highlight was a difficult touchdown catch in traffic by Manumaleuna. He out-leaped three Seahawks defenders to snag the jump ball.


        * Hey, the Rams got a big special teams play? McDonald
        ...
        -10-10-2004, 09:35 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...
        -11-15-2004, 12:20 AM
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