Here Come the Rams NFC West Champions
By Rams Nation's Oscar F Lopez
But tough luck and road woes has it's way of changing things at the worst possible
moment. On Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, tough luck came in
the form of the St. Louis Rams with a 27-22 victory by the home team. And the
NFC west crown to boot.
Winning consecutive Super Bowls never has been easy, but now it seems harder
than ever. From day one, the 2002 season for the Rams was an ugly dream. Coming
into this season the predictions were clear. A healthy Faulk and Warner and
the Rams would regain their status as playoff contenders for the Super Bowl
run. Well, the Rams have a healthy Faulk and Marc Bulger and an 10-3 record.
Coming into the contest versus their new arch rivals the Seattle Seahawks.
The Rams' Marc Bulger who finished 20 of 32 for 236 yards needed to prove that
he was good enough to beat the team that has haunted his perfect record so far.
The Seahawks coming in had Bulger's number. And how fitting it would be to spoil
the perfect Dome record.
But while the Seahawks are a lot of fun to watch. With the likes of quarterback
Matt Hasselbeck,running back Shaun Alexander, and wide receiver Koren Robinson,
and a much improved defense, there playoff hopes depended on winning road games.
Early in the contest the Seahawks made it clear that this was going to be a
shootout. On the first Rams drive near the endzone, Orlando Huff sacked Marc
Bulger for a safety and giving the Seahawks the 2-0 lead. On the second drive
for the Rams. Marc Bulger began his push for a quick score 7-2. Taking the Rams
from the Rams 13 yard line by connecting with Dane Looker for 12 yards, Isaac Bruce 25 yards, Mike Furrey for 13, and resulting in a five yard touchdown run
by Marshall Faulk. Marshall Faulk ended the contest with 28 carries for 85 yards.
For the Seahawks on this drive they helped the Rams with a total of 25 penalties.
Matt Hasselbeck who finished the contest 21 of 37 for 246 yards responded with
an interception by Travis Fisher for 9 yards on the return. Marc Bulger once
again responded by going 3 plays for 24 yards with Torry Holt with a six yard
gain. Then capped it off with an eighteen yard touchdown to Isaac Bruce. 14-2
The mighty Seahawks would respond in the second quarter with a touchdown of
their own. Matt Hasselbeck took his team on a three minute drive with the help
of Darrell Jackson, Itula Mili, and Shaun Alexander for a 9 yard Darrell Jackson
score to cut the lead to 14-9. Jackson would finish the day 6 receptions for
99 yards and the touchdown.
The Rams would strike back once more after Arlen Harris gave the Rams good
field position at the Rams 40 yard line. Marc Bulger went to work with some
quick passes to Cam Cleeland 10 yards, Mike Furrey two yards, Marshall Faulk
five yards, and a Torry Holt 40 yard touchdown on third and eleven from the
Seattle 40 yard line. Torry had to come back a little under good coverage to
catch the ball. Rams 21-9.
Given the large lead before the half, one would assume game over. But with
3:07 left.Marc Bulger was intercepted by Randall Godfrey for 7 yards and placing
the Seahawks on the Rams 36. Thus allowing Matt Hasselbeck the opportunity to
create some more chances. Hasselbeck went 8 plays for 23 yards in a 1:49 to
have Josh Brown punch in a 31 yard field goal. Rams 21-12.
Defensively for the Rams Adam Archuleta, Travis Fisher, and Grant Wistrom contributed
to the containment of Hasselbeck and Alexander. Grant Wistrom after the game
commented on the last couple outings,"I'd appreciate a blowout every now
and then." But a win he will take stating,"We'll take them anyway
we can get them."
As for the Seahawks, a back judge was the minimal factor between tough luck
or road win. Bobby Engrams fourth quarter hail mary was not to be. Running a
deep enzone pattern in the final drive with the Rams leading 27-22, Bobby Engram's
tripping over back judge Steed was a heart breaker. Matt Hasselbeck said,"It's
just a real bad break for us."
For the Rams, Isaac Bruce went down with an ankle sprain in the second quarter.
But he will play versus the Bengals next week stating," I don't miss games."
With the win the Rams are NFC west champions. And improve their record to 11-3.
The Rams have now won 13 in a row at home and are now 7-0 on the season. And
Marc Bulger's perfect home record is safe.
With this win the Rams are hoping Miami takes care of the Eagles on Monday
Night. Thus giving the Rams the chance for home field advantage. Next week will
not be any easier, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals are no more laughing stocks.
They will be looking to play spoiler and maintain their playoff hopes alive
as well. A must win for both teams' playoff positioning. Let's hope the defense
can contain the new and improved Cincinnati wrecking crew.
The Field Goal@cs.com