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SPORTS WEEKEND | AROUND THE NFC / WEST

His Chief Goal: to Beat 'Em

October 20, 2000

Some time between their ground-breaking no-kicker 45-point performance against Atlanta last Sunday and the dawn's breaking on Monday, the Rams were spooked by the ghost of Chuck Knox.

Instead of continuing their revolutionary no-field-goal, no-single-PAT approach to professional football--a campaign certainly worth getting behind--the Rams suddenly went old-school again, resurrecting a 33-year-old kicker specially designed for Sunday's intra-state clash with the Kansas City Chiefs:

Former Kansas City Chief kicker Pete Stoyanovich.

Stoyanovich, released by the Chiefs a week ago, was hired by the Rams as temporary help while their regular kicker, Jeff Wilkins, rehabs the pulled thigh muscle he injured on the opening kickoff of St. Louis' 45-29 victory over the Falcons. Wilkins is expected to miss two-three weeks with the injury.

Stoyanovich's stay with the Rams could be brief, but it should also be intense. He spent 4 1/2 seasons in Kansas City, where he moved up to 19th on the NFL's all-time scoring list with more than 1,200 points, and had been the most accurate kicker in Chief history. But he missed a last-second field goal against the Raiders in the last regular-season game of 1999, costing Kansas City a spot in the playoffs, and began 2000 by making only two of four field goal attempts--both misses being shorter than 40 yards.

The Chiefs cut Stoyanovich on Oct. 11.

On Oct. 22, they will line up against him.

"I would love nothing better than to go out there and beat them by a field goal," said Stoyanovich, who then revealed himself as a true student of Rams 2000 football. "But with this potent offense of St. Louis', I doubt that it will come down to that."

Quarterbacking a 2-4 team is the least of Steve Beuerlein's problems. In the span of barely a week, the Carolina Panther's house flooded, his nose was broken and his body was waylaid by acute vertigo--which, it needs to be stated, struck Beuerlein before he was knocked woozy by New Orleans' pass rushers in last Sunday's 24-6 loss to the Saints.

"Bad things come in threes," Beuerlein said hopefully.

Unless you count the 49ers, who are coming to town Sunday.

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