Think Fast

Speed kills in the NFL.<p> Which explains how the St. Louis Rams made quick work of 2001 regular season, finishing a league-best 14-2, and leading the NFC in scoring and total offense.<p> Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman was not slow to figure out that the Packers will face a lightning-quick Rams team in an NFC divisional playoff game Sunday at St. Louis.<p>

"The Rams are a very fast football team, but I think we have some strengths and we hope to slow them down," Sherman said. "Plus, I don't think we're a slow team. I think we have good team speed."

But the Rams have taken team speed to another level. Starting with versatile running back Marshall Faulk, who rushed for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught a team-high 83 passes for 756 yards and another nine scores.

Add to that two wide receivers who had more than 1,000 yards – Torry Holt (1,363 yards) and Isaac Bruce (1,106), and you can see how the Rams scored more than 500 points for the third season in a row.

"There's no question they have weapons," Sherman said. "But we're going to St. Louis to win a football game. What they have done on offense and defense is outstanding. We have to play a very good football game against a very good football team to win."

The formula to beat the Rams this season seems to start with pressuring quarterback Kurt Warner, who passed for 4,860 yards and won his second NFL MVP award. He threw 36 touchdowns, but also tossed 22 interceptions. He threw four picks in the face of a heavy pass rush in a 24-17 loss to Tampa Bay earlier this season.

The Packer also must tackle well. "With the speed they have this team can turn a 6-yard hitch pattern into a long touchdown," Sherman said. "We have tackled well in some games, not so well in others. When we get tired, like any defense, we don't tackle well."


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