Gameday Gamecenter: Patriots vs Rams

<p>The Patriots injury list has signicantly impacted the starting line-up. Their depleted Offensive line had trouble protecting Tom Brady last week against the Steelers, and their depleted secondary had trouble slowing down a decent Steelers Passing attack. The Patriots may be in real trouble this week, as the secondary will be challenged by one of the Best offensive units in the NFL , headed by Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Issac Bruce. </p>

PHOTO: OCTOBER 24: David Givens #87 of the New England Patriots makes a catch against the New York Jets on October 24, 2004 at Gillette Stadium. (AP Photo)

Pregame Notes: New England Patriots at St. Louis Rams

After suffering their first loss in more than a year at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it doesn't figure to get any easier for the Patriots as they prepare to meet the St Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome.

The Rams have the 6th best Offense in the league, averaging 375.4 yards per game. The Patriots defense, which has lost both starting CBs Ty Law and Tyrone Poole, will be challenged by the offensive genius of Rams head coach Mike Martz. Martz's wizardry will likely include a focus on Law and Pool's young replacements, DB Asante Samuel and Randall Gay. Gay was burned last week by Palxico Burress for long gains repeatedly, but without the rookie, the Patriots have even less talent on the field.

The Patriots Offensive line is in a state of flux, after coming to the conclusion that the injury to OT, Tom Ashworth is significant enough to get him placed on IR, ending his season. While the needs of the line are significant, OL Brandin Gorin will be called upon for a second straight week to pick up the responsibilities of his fallen teammate.

The priorities of getting good, healthy bodies on the field was given to the defense eventhough the offense could use an extra lineman. CB, Earthwind Moreland, who was cut from the team in training camp and resigned recently was activted from the practice squad. Moreleand, who has seen playing time with some other NFL teams will be called upon to try to help slow down the Ram attack.

Notes of Interest:

  • 1st and 10 - The Rams are third in the NFC (sixth in the NFL) in first downs made with 145. RB Marshall Faulk is third in the NFC (ninth in the NFL) in first downs with 38.
  • Ball Hogs - The Rams are ranked second in the NFC (sixth in the NFL) in time possession (31:37). Four out of six games this season, the Rams have controlled the ball for more than 32 minutes (33:50 vs. Arizona, 33:37 vs. New Orleans, 34:22 at San Francisco, 32:08 vs. Tampa Bay).
  • Patriots linebacker Roman Phifer was drafted in the second round of the 1991 NFL draft by the Rams and played in both Los Angeles (1991-95) and St. Louis (1996-98).
  • Rams linebacker Trev Faulk was a member of the same Louisiana State squad as Patriots quarterback Rohan Davey, cornerback Randall Gay, defensive end Marquise Hill and defensive lineman Jarvis Green. Faulk is also a cousin of Patriots running back Kevin Faulk, who is also an alumnus of LSU.
  • Rams tackle Grant Williams played for the Patriots from 2000-01, starting 12 of 29 games over that span.
  • Rams wide receiver Dane Looker was acquired by the Patriots via trade in 2000, and was inactive for 10 games with the team.
  • Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham was originally signed by the Rams as a rookie free agent prior to the 1999 season.


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Patriots (6-1) Vs Rams (4-3)
November 7, 2004
4:05 PM EST
Edward Jones Dome
Capacity: 66,965
Field: Astro Turf

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A 7th-rounder, Givens has caught up fast
FOXBOROUGH -- It began as a punch line for Tom Brady's satellite radio ad. "I thought I was his favorite receiver," David Givens says, as Troy Brown and Deion Branch glance at him askance. Right now, he is. Brady, the Patriots' diplomatic quarterback, likes to say that his favorite receiver is whoever's open. It just happens so far this season that Givens has been open more often than his colleagues. "Now, I'm the first read on a lot of the pass plays," he says. Going into today's indoor track meet at St. Louis, where the Patriots (6-1) and Rams (4-3) will meet for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVI three seasons ago, Givens leads the wideout corps in receptions (32) and yardage (544), with three touchdowns, three 100-yard games, nine catches for 20 yards or more and, most remarkably, first downs on his first 30 receptions.
(Boston Globe)

Rundown feeling? No. Pats insist defense will remain active, effective.
ST. LOUIS -- The Patriots don't seem to share the concerns of the general public about their run defense.

They understand that the Steelers had uncommon success running the ball against them last week. They see the same stats we do, the ones that show the Pats rank 25th in the league in rush defense. They know they've allowed five of their seven opponents to rush for more than 100 yards. Two of them (Indianapolis, which had 202 yards on 42 carries on opening day and Pittsburgh, which picked up 221 yards on 49 running plays) simply pounded away. Four of the seven opponents have averaged 4.5 yards or more per carry.
(Boston Herald)

Revenge isn't on Rams' minds
The Rams have almost as many first- and second-year players on their roster (18) as players remaining from their 2001 Super Bowl squad (19).

So the fact that they meet New England for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVI doesn't have much relevance for the Steve Jacksons, Shaun McDonalds, Anthony Hargroves and Pisa Tinoisamoas of the roster.

It will be a family reunion for Trev and Kevin Faulk
Rams linebacker Trev Faulk spent a lot of time with his cousin, New England running back Kevin Faulk, last offseason. And more time than he would've liked two months ago.

"Unfortunately, early in September his mom passed away," Trev said. "So I went back home, and spent that time with him there."
(St Louis Post Dispatch)

Patriots, Rams meet for first time since 2002 Super Bowl
ST. LOUIS - The last time the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots played, everything was at stake.

In their heyday as the Greatest Show on Turf, the Rams were the oddsmakers' two-touchdown favorite in the 2002 Super Bowl. They were one of the biggest favorites to fall, losing 20-17 on Adam Vinatieri's 47-yard field goal as time expired.

"I still remember just turning around and watching that ball sail through the uprights and all of that confetti falling in the wrong color," defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson said. "That's the memory I'll think of always."
(AP Wire

Rams, Pats Throw Out the Past
Ask just about any members of the Rams how often he thinks about the 2001 Super Bowl and the response will almost always be the same.

None of them is too concerned about what happened in the past, the only thing that matters now is winning Sunday’s showdown against New England at the Edward Jones Dome.
(Rams Official Site)

Pats try to avoid another collapse
You might recall the last time the New England Patriots tangled with the St. Louis Rams.

OK, who are we kidding? The images of Super Bowl XXXVI are seared into your memory - Ty Law returning an interception 47 yards for a touchdown; David Patten elevating in the end zone for a TD catch just before halftime; and Adam Vinatieri splitting the uprights at the final gun.

Since the winners get to write history, what often gets overlooked from that 20-17 victory is the fourth quarter, when the Patriots nearly staged the greatest choke job in Super Bowl history by blowing a 17-3 lead.
(Patriot Ledger)

Rams don't want payback — a win is enough
The memories still linger, haunting 19 members of the St. Louis Rams and their coaching staff.

Favored by two touchdowns to win their second championship in three seasons and establish themselves as an NFL dynasty, the shock of losing 20-17 on a last-second field goal to New England in Super Bowl XXXVI can still be felt.
(Kansas City Star) (reg req'd)


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