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Rams Win With Early Knockouts

September 22, 1997|From Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Two early knockout blows helped the St. Louis Rams defeat the New York Giants.

On the first play of Sunday's 13-3 victory, linebacker Michael Jones and free safety Keith Lyle sandwiched Giant quarterback Dave Brown at the end of a six-yard scramble, knocking him unconscious.

On the Giants' second series, running back Tiki Barber needed several minutes to recover from a jarring collision with strong safety Toby Wright. While both players eventually got up, the Giant offense never recovered from that 1-2 punch.

"When Tyrone Wheatley came into the huddle, you could see he had fear in his eyes," Jones said. "If you're an offensive player, you start wondering in the back of your mind, who's going to go next?"

Brown's state of mind: "I was a little bit foggy, but I was fine after that."

Not so, judging from the statistics. The Giants (1-3) got only 192 yards total offense, the fewest given up by the Ram defense in two seasons. It came a week after St. Louis gave up 35 points at Denver.

The Ram offense, which hasn't figured out a way to compensate for the loss of wide receiver Isaac Bruce, scored just enough to win.

Jeff Wilkins kicked two field goals and Craig Heyward scored a late touchdown on a four-yard run for the Rams (2-2), who have scored only 39 points the last three weeks.

"It was like a pitcher's duel without the pitchers," Ram quarterback Tony Banks said.

Bruce, who caught more passes in his first three seasons than any player in NFL history, has played only one series because of a lingering hamstring injury that will sideline him at least one more game. Heyward's touchdown was a surprise contribution, considering he entered the game with only eight carries.

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