Down 10 with 0:30 left, Rams ride rookie to win

Associated Press
Published November 28, 2005

HOUSTON - Playing in an NFL game was new to St. Louis' rookie quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Coming back from a 21-point deficit wasn't.

The Rams' third-stringer took over for injured backup Jamie Martin, then threw a 56-yard touchdown to Kevin Curtis in overtime to cap an improbable comeback.

St. Louis scored 10 points in the final 30 seconds of regulation to force overtime. Isaac Bruce scored on a 43-yard pass with 26 seconds left and the Rams recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Torry Holt caught a 19-yard pass to set up Jeff Wilkins' 47-yard field goal that tied it at 27 with four seconds left.

Fitzpatrick, a seventh-round pick from Harvard, stayed calm by thinking of his freshman year and first college start when he rallied the Crimson from a 21-0 halftime deficit for a 31-21 win over Dartmouth. At the time it was the biggest comeback in Harvard's 128-year history.

"I was actually thinking about that game," he said. "The biggest thing when you're in those situations is you need to get everyone around you fired up."

Houston got the ball first in overtime but had to punt when David Carr was sacked on third down.

The Rams recovered from a horrible first half, with just 117 yards and six first downs, to gain 312 yards and 16 first downs in the second.

Martin, who started for the injured Marc Bulger, left late in the first quarter with a blow to the head. Fitzpatrick was 19-of-30 for 310 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters, despite being sacked five times.

"I felt sick out there," Texans center Steve McKinney said. "I was so disgusted I wanted to throw up. We were squandering some opportunities and sure enough it came back to bite us. It's really hard to lose a game when you're up 10 points with 30 seconds to go - but we did."

NOTABLE: Rams Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace left in the second quarter with a hamstring injury. ... Bruce's 20-yard reception in the second quarter made him the 11th player to top 12,000 yards receiving.