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Rams will not abandon their confidence game

By DARRELL FRY
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2002

The Rams are finished, according to coach Mike Martz. They lost their first game, which pretty much means they have no chance this season. "Yeah, I guess it's over for us," Martz said.

He was joking, of course, which was his way of mocking those who are questioning the Rams' mettle after one game. They will be fine, Martz said.

"I think we're actually a little bit better right now than we were a year ago," Martz said, presumably no longer joking.

What did you expect him to say? Martz and the Rams are nothing if not confident. They pretty much have owned the NFC the past few years, reaching two of the past three Super Bowls.

All they need to do is make a few adjustments, Martz said. For starters, they might want to run a little more. They ran 13 times in their 23-16 loss to the Broncos, dropping to 2-7 for Martz when they run less than 20 times.

Next up are the Giants today and the Bucs on Sept. 23.

"I know what we're not going to do," running back Marshall Faulk said. "We're not going to tuck our tails between our legs and run. We're going to battle back; we're going to come back and win the game next week."

* * *

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: This one comes from Chargers defensive end Marcellus Wiley on the expansion Texans' victory against the Cowboys last Sunday.

"They were battling for something bigger than one game -- the Lone Star or who gets the most barbecue sauce or whatever."

* * *

QUOTE OF THE WEEK II: This one comes from Chiefs offensive tackle John Tait, who last Sunday caught quarterback Trent Green's desperation pitch and rambled 28 yards on the bizarre play in which Browns linebacker Dwayne Rudd got a penalty for removing his helmet.

"Well, I've got to give credit to my offensive line."

MORE LOVE FOR VICK: Falcons quarterback Michael Vick continues to impress people.

Last week it was Bears scout Bobby DePaul, who said: "I had to stop and think to myself, "What did I just see?' I'm just amazed by how fast he is compared to everybody else on the field. I was trying to think what I could compare it to. It was like basketball on grass. He looked like Michael Jordan playing point guard."

If Vick averages 72 yards rushing as he did against the Packers last Sunday, he'll finish with 1,152 yards.

* * *

FEELING THE HEAT ALREADY: Can you have a must-win game in the second week of the season? You can if you're the Lions, who lost their opener and can ill afford to lose today to the Panthers, who lost a league-record 15 consecutive games last season.

"It's a huge game," Lions defensive end Robert Porcher said.

* * *

HE SAID IT: Redskins linebacker Jeremiah Trotter is salivating at the chance to help Washington beat Philadelphia, his old team, Monday night. Trotter came to the Redskins this offseason after salary differences with the Eagles.

"I would love to drop those guys to 0-2," he said. "That would make my day. That would make my year."

* * *

CAN HE DO IT?: If Miami running back Ricky Williams, who had 111 yards against Detroit last Sunday, goes for 100 today against the Colts, it will mark the first back-to-back 100-yard games by a Dolphins running back since Bernie Parmalee in 1994.

DID YOU KNOW?: The Houston TV ratings for the Texans' inaugural game against the Cowboys drew a higher rating than the Super Bowl in that market.

DID YOU KNOW II? Giants quarterback Kerry Collins has had four consecutive 300-yard passing games. Thing is, three of them were losses.

WOULD HE RATHER HAVE HAD BRETT FAVRE?: The Falcons, who have gone to extraordinary lengths to attract fans, went around the city Monday thanking fans at malls, grocery stores and restaurants for their support. But, apparently, not everyone appreciated the gesture.

Several players, including Vick, were asked to leave a trendy Barnes & Noble bookstore by the owner, saying solicitation isn't welcomed.

"About all we were soliciting was "You're welcomes,' " kicker Jay Feely said. "Nobody go (to Barnes & Noble). Go to amazon.com or something like that."

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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