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Rams receivers eager to challenge Falcons DBs

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  • Rams receivers eager to challenge Falcons DBs

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 01/13/05
    ST. LOUIS — When Mike Martz said he didn't want to mean what he was about to say to be arrogant, you had a pretty good idea he wasn't going to toss any verbal bouquets at the Falcons defense.

    And, no, the St. Louis Rams coach didn't when he brought up his talented group of receivers.

    Said Martz, "When you put those guys in position, when they go one-on-one, you would expect that they would win on the route."

    Make no mistake, the Rams are feeling it. With three consecutive wins and quarterback Marc Bulger playing well, wide receiver Torry Holt said the team's level of confidence has not been this high since the 2001 season, when the Rams went to their second Super Bowl in three seasons.

    Holt even challenged Falcons rookie cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

    "I don't think he has seen anything that we would bring to the table on a consistent basis for four straight quarters," Holt said. "No knock against him. We think he's a tremendous athlete, a tremendous player. . . .We will see where he is as a defensive back and he will be challenged and he'll challenge us."

    Holt is hardly going out on a limb. It can be effectively argued that Hall, who was out with a fractured hip when the Falcons played the Rams Sept. 19, will be the best passing team that he will see this season, and his teammates, as well.

    Martz isn't the only one who believes in Holt and fellow receivers Isaac Bruce, Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald.

    "It starts with the receivers," said Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. "They've got tremendous speed. They're the top receiver corps in the NFL, probably."

    When the Falcons played the Rams in the second week of the season, Holt and Bruce combined for 223 receiving yards. They are also getting increasing support from Curtis and McDonald, two second-year players who are developing into dangerous options.

    The fleet Curtis was named the team's offensive MVP for his four-catch, 107-yard game in St. Louis' wildcard win over the Seattle Seahawks last week. McDonald has nine receptions of 20 yards or more, more than any Falcons receiver.

    "Now that we have four go-to guys, it's going to be a nice luxury," Rams quarterback Marc Bulger said. "Maybe we can throw some quicker routes, maybe spread their defense out a little bit."

    Curtis and Alexander will be a significant difference from the teams' first meeting. McDonald caught one pass, and Curtis didn't have any catches.

    "I think with the emergence of these other two young players, I think it takes a little bit of the coverage pressure off of [Torry] and he has a little bit more of an opportunity to be singled up," Martz said. "Earlier in the year, both of our outside guys (Holt and Bruce) were getting doubled, and it does affect you."

    The Falcons defensive backs have little playoff experience. Kevin Mathis is the leader with six playoff games. Jason Webster has played in one, while DeAngelo Hall, Cory Hall and Bryon Scott will make their playoff debuts.

  • #2
    Re: Rams receivers eager to challenge Falcons DBs

    The O line for the Rams is the proverbial key. They give Bulger time to hit the open man, I don't think Atlanta can score with the Rams. If the Falcons have pressure on Bulger all day, could be a long game for the Rams.


    • #3
      Re: Rams receivers eager to challenge Falcons DBs

      if we stop the Falcons running the ball, we will force them to throw, and thats their weak point

      Keeping the Rams Nation Talking


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        Five things to watch
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        Five things to watch
        By Jim Thomas
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        Friday, Jan. 14 2005

        Dunn and Duckett

        There's a lot more to Atlanta's league-leading rushing attack than QB
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        "He's capable of going the distance at any time, and we know that," Rams coach
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        On the receiving end

        Atlanta had the league's 30th-ranked passing offense, and only Pittsburgh had
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      • RamDez
        Rams have Georgia silence on their minds
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        Of the Post-Dispatch

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        ATLANTA - From 1995-2001, when Atlanta was part of the NFC West, the St. Louis Rams played before almost as many empty seats as occupied ones on their annual treks to the Georgia Dome.

        In 1996, for example, 26,519 spectators watched the Rams beat the Falcons 34-27 behind three touchdown passes from Tony Banks to Eddie Kennison.

        Even in 1998, the Falcons' Super Bowl season, a mere 37,996 made their way into the 71,000-seat Georgia Dome to watch the Falcons improve to 6-2 with a 37-15 thrashing of the Rams.

        But this Sunday, the Rams will see something entirely different in the Georgia Dome. Excitement. Energy. Michael Vick. And a packed house.

        "I know it's going to be loud," Rams wide receiver Torry Holt said. "I know they're going to be excited. It's their home opener. Hopefully, we can go down there, stay focused, and come out of there with a 'W.' "

        New Atlanta coach Jim Mora is telling everyone within shouting distance to show up wearing Falcons red. Adding to the festivities, Atlanta will christen its Ring of Honor on Sunday honoring former Falcons greats.

        Last week, the Falcons ended a 10-game losing streak in San Francisco. This Sunday, they'd like nothing better than to end their seven-game losing streak to the Rams.

        "Usually, when we went there, that stadium by the end of the game would be a pro-Rams stadium," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "I don't expect it to be that way this year. I expect it to be a hostile crowd for four quarters. They're excited about their football team, obviously. They're excited about their quarterback."

        And excited about playing the Rams. Isn't everybody? They are, after all, the NFL's winningest franchise since the start of the 1999 season.

        "There are a lot of people that don't like us out there," defensive end Leonard Little said. "We know that. So we've just got to go out there and try to play our game. Try to get off to a good start, silence the crowd early, and go from there."

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        The '99 Super Bowl championship team went 5-3 away from home.

        The '01 Super Bowl runner-up squad was 8-0.

        Last season's 12-4 squad broke even at 4-4.

        So any road victory is a good victory. And with subsequent away games this season against Seattle, Miami, Green Bay, and Carolina, the Rams would love to fly out of Georgia with a 2-0 record.

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        Disrespected Rams big underdogs vs. rock-solid Falcons
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        Talk about your classic playoff scenarios . . .

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        On the other hand, you have the rock-solid Atlanta Falcons. They parlayed a strong rushing game and an aggressive defense to score old-school success during the regular season.

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        On the other hand, the Rams rushed for just 30 yards on 15 carries during that loss to the Falcons and now running backs Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson are trying to play hurt.

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        Rams' season closes with a rush
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        The Falcons' dazzling show is still playing to rave reviews this morning. The
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        moving vans. The glum-faced front-office brass milled quietly around the room,
        shaking hands with players and offering soothing words of comfort. The players
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        "I just knew we were going to do better than that," Leonard Little said as he
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        From start to finish, there was scant evidence that the Rams had a clue that
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        The Falcons came jogging out of the Dome end zone tunnel for pre-game
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        Mora replaced Dan Reeves and then Wade Phillips, who coached the final three games, after a 7-9 campaign in 2003. The Falcons named Mora head coach and Executive Vice President on Jan. 9. Although Atlanta’s players aren’t too familiar with Mora, St. Louis certainly is. Mora comes to the Falcons from San Francisco, where he was the defensive coordinator for the past five seasons.

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        St. Louis began to adjust at halftime and quarterback Marc Bulger threw for 378 yards, but he was sacked five times and the Rams rushed for only 9 yards. At the time, Mora said San Francisco’s defense was finally faster than St. Louis’ offense.

        Mora laughed about it in good nature when asked about the comment.

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        Mora is probably right. The Rams have plenty of motivation for the meeting with Atlanta, without thinking about something that happened when Mora coached elsewhere. Going to 2-0, winning its first road game, continuing to run the ball effectively and playing solid defense again is just some of the motivation St. Louis has.

        Rams’ coach Mike Martz said he didn’t take offense to Mora’s comments.

        “I think they were a lot faster than what they have been,” Martz said. “When he made that comment, they had improved their defense significantly.”

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        Mora’s defense will get a big test this weekend on the fast track at the Georgia Dome. The Rams rolled up 448 yards against Arizona with a dominating performance from the offensive line and a punishing running game.

        The Falcons had plenty of problems with St. Louis’ offense last year when the Rams rolled to a 36-0...
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