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THE NFL / 1996

Falcons the Perfect Antidote for What Ails Rams

November 11, 1996|From Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Just when beleaguered St. Louis Coach Rich Brooks needed it most, the Rams played as if they were Super Bowl-bound instead of in the running for the No. 1 draft pick.

Brooks was told last week by team president John Shaw that he had until the end of the season to improve the team.

On Sunday, the Rams started improving, setting a 20-year high for scoring in a 59-16 rout of the Atlanta Falcons. Eddie Kennison returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass, and fellow rookies Tony Banks and Lawrence Phillips also had big games for the Rams (3-7), who led, 28-0, with 11:24 left in the first half.

"A person can only take so much," said Phillips, who rushed for 106 yards in 14 carries. "There was so much pressure on me, so much pressure on the whole team to get something going. It finally just exploded."

Brooks didn't know whether his precarious job status was a factor, and didn't seem to care.

"I said earlier in the week I wasn't going to play that tune and I'm not going to play it now," Brooks said. "Let's give credit where it belongs, and that's to these players."

Banks completed 15 of 24 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns, and Harold Green rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns for the Rams, who scored their most points since they beat Atlanta, 59-0, Dec. 4, 1976.

Kennison returned five punts for 111 yards and caught four passes for 53 yards and a score.

The Rams held Jamal Anderson to 23 yards in 13 carries and sacked Bobby Hebert three times.

The Falcons (1-9), who defeated the Rams in nine of the previous 11 meetings, have lost nine consecutive games on the road.

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