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THE NFL / 1996

Rams Find a Cure: the Saints

December 02, 1996|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The St. Louis Rams finally found a way to look good--they played the New Orleans Saints.

The Rams went into Sunday's game with the NFL's worst offense and a porous defense but emerged with a 26-10 victory behind a touchdown from Harold Green and four field goals from Chip Lohmiller.

"Wins are always pretty to me," said Ram rookie quarterback Tony Brooks, who had his second 200-yard plus passing day. "The end result is what we're judged on. Nobody's going to remember how we won."

In fact, hardly anybody was on hand to see the Rams (4-9) win.

The crowd--only 26,310--was what one would have expected for a game between two of the NFL's worst teams. It was the smallest in the history of the franchise, 12,000 less than the Saints' final home game in 1980 when New Orleans was 1-15.

There were even fewer people on hand by the time Lohmiller kicked his fourth field goal, a 27-yarder with 4:07 left to play.

By then, St. Louis, which entered with the NFL's 30th-ranked offense and No. 26 defense, had knocked out New Orleans quarterback Jim Everett and shut out the Saints (2-11) since early in the second quarter.

"Chip Lohmiller was as solid as he possibly could be," said Ram Coach Rich Brooks. "His foot has been bothering him for a month, he's got a big knot on it and tendinitis, but he was accurate."

Against a New Orleans team ranked 28th in offense and 20th in defense, the Rams managed to dominate, despite stumbling through penalties, fumbles, a tipped punt and an interception.

It was the first win on the road for St. Louis this season.

New Orleans led, 10-6, with 12:32 left in the first half, after Torrance Small scored from the 17 on a reverse, thanks to a big block by Everett. But the Rams regained the lead on Banks' 10-yard scoring pass to Isaac Bruce.

On the Saints' second possession of the second half, Everett took a hard hit that left him with blurred vision. He didn't return, replaced by Doug Nussmeier, who had never played in a regular-season game. Nussmeier started off well, completing a 50-yard pass play under pressure, but finished only seven for 15 for 101 yards.

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