As we check out the Rams progress in the last couple of years we see that in 2000, new coach Mike Martz the Rams did not overlook anything.
As we check out the Rams progress in the last couple of years we see that in 2000, new coach Mike Martz the Rams did not overlook anything. They won their first six games scoring 37 or more points in each game. Trouble was developing behind the scenes as the Rams would lose their first game in Kansas City against the Chiefs 54-34, but even worse was when QB Kurt Warner broke his finger. The Rams would win only three of their next eight games despite strong performances from Offensive Player of the Year Marshall Faulk, and back up QB Trent Green and Kurt Warner when he returned. The problem was the Rams defense was terrible, and was allowing more then 30 points in every game. The Rams entered the final week of the season with a 9-6 record needing a win in New Orleans against the Saints just to get the final playoff spot. The Rams would rise to the occasion beating the Saints 26-21, setting up a rematch one week later in New Orleans. However, Kurt Warner could not bring the Rams back, as they fell 31-28.
In 2001, after the Rams defense was a disappointment to their team. Lovie Smith comes in as the new defensive coordinator, as seven of 12 defensive starters are replaced. The Rams defense shows improvement as they get off to a 6-0 start. In the NFC Championship Game, the Rams fought off a challenge from the Philadelphia Eagles to hold to a 29-24 win for a return trip to the Super Bowl.
In the Super Bowl XXXVI, the Rams were 14-point favorites. The Rams offense could not get going all day, and trailed 17-3 going into the 4th Quarter. In the fourth, the Rams offense began to click as they scored twice to tie the score at 17-17. With 2 minutes left, the Rams had force, as the game appeared to be heading to overtime. The Rams defense allowed the Patriots to get in Field Goal range where Adam Vinatieri stunned the Rams and the World by kicking the Pats to a 20-17 win.
In 2002, the rams played as if they were spaced out and in a daze as they dropped their first four games. Making matter, worse QB Kurt Warner suffered a broken hand. The Rams suffered that season as they finished with a disappointing record of 7-9.
In 2003, the Rams played consistent football all year and would go on to finish with a solid 12-4 record winning the NFC West for the 3rd time in 5 years while earning a first round playoff bye. Among the Rams, having great year was Tory Holt who racked up 1696 receiving yards while scoring 12 Touchdowns. In the playoffs, the Rams would play host to the surprise Carolina Panthers. The game would go back and forth for the first 30 minutes before the Panthers took control in the 3rd Quarter. Trailing 23-12 late in the 4th Quarter the Rams went on a 15-play drive, which was capped by a 1-yard TD run, by Marshall Faulk to pull within a Field Goal Bulger hit Dane Looker for a successful 2-point conversion. Needing to get the ball back the Rams recovered the onside kick and was in business driving toward a possible game winning TD. However inexplicably after getting the ball to the Panthers 25, Coach Mike Martz decided to run the clock out and let Jeff Wilkins send the game to overtime. In overtime, the teams played without a score through the first 15 minutes as each side missed long field goal attempts. On the first play of the 2nd OT the Rams season came to a halt as the Panthers connected on a 69-yard TD pass to give the Panthers a dramatic 29-23 win. Following the game Coach Martz was widely criticized. Things also would unravel between Martz and 2-time MVP Kurt Warner who publicly feuded, before Warner was released to clear up salary cap space, while Marc Bulger finally was known as the starting QB, after capping his season with the Pro Bowl MVP.
In 2004, the Rams would start the season off with a win over the Arizona Cardinals before losing their next two games. They played unstable all season long. At times, their plays were great. For instance, their win over the Seattle Seahawks in overtime as Marc Bulger connected with Shaun McDonald on a 52-yard Touchdown pass for the 33-27 win. Two weeks later, they would frustrate their fans with a 31-14 loss to a 0-6 Miami Dolphins team. The loss to the Dolphins would be the start of 2 months of struggles as the Rams won just 2 of their next 6 games, only keeping their playoff hopes alive by beating the Seahawks for a 2nd time.
As the season wore on the Rams would put their cards on Marshall Faulk whose performance decreased because of his age and injuries as Rookie Stephan Jackson began to take a bulk of the carries. At 6-8, the playoffs were a long shot at best, as the Rams entered their final two games of the season.
A strong 20-7 wins over a Philadelphia Eagles. They had a chance to make the playoffs with a win in their final game. The Rams as they did much of the season needed to rally as Marc Bulger passed for 450 yards as the Rams beat the New York Jets in overtime 32-29 to reach the playoffs at 8-8. In the playoffs the Rams would face the Seahawks for a 3rd time returning to Seattle, and once again pulling off the upset beating the Seahawks 27-20 to become the first 8-8 team to win a playoff game. A week later, the Rams would fell on their face and lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round 47-17.
Now in 2005, the Rams are aging little by little and what once was the greatest team on earth now looks like senior citizens trying to dance to hip-hop. The Rams will show spurts of progress here and there, but they just do not have the quickness they once had, and QB Marc Bulger cannot do it all by himself. The Rams defense does not have the force to shut anyone down.