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NFC NOTES

Kalu Is Shocked He Missed Block

January 28, 2002

ST. LOUIS — How close did Philadelphia come to the Super Bowl? N.D. Kalu has to check the film.

Kalu, an Eagle defensive end, came oh-so-close to blocking John Baker's punt with 2:20 to play and Philadelphia trailing by five points. There are no guarantees, of course, but Baker was punting from his 20 and--assuming they either recovered the loose ball or stopped the Rams short of a first down--the Eagles would have been in prime position for the go-ahead score.

"After I beat the man in the slot, I thought I had it," said Kalu, who blocked a punt against Dallas this season and tipped one against the New York Giants. "I don't know how I missed it. I don't know if it went through my hands or behind me, but I was there in time. I don't know where it went. I have to see it on film."

Somehow, Baker got off the punt, leaving Kalu to writhe on the turf and think of what might have been.

"Disbelief," Kalu said, when asked what he was feeling. "After I beat the man, in my mind I was like, 'Yeah, I'm going to block this.' And when I didn't feel it hit my hands, I was in shock. I don't know how he got it off. It's a credit to that punter."

*

At long last, Adam Timmerman got his chance--or so he thought. The St. Louis guard recovered a Kurt Warner fumble on the last play of the first half, rumbled across midfield and pitched to fellow guard Tom Nutten as tacklers descended on him. Two plodding steps later, Nutten was gang tackled. Actually, the play was blown dead, so it was merely a humorous moment.

"I was thinking touchdown all the way," Timmerman joked. "Then I heard the whistle. I thought I'd lateral it to a fast guy, but then Tom was there. I can outrun Tom."

*

Some statistics from the Rams' first game against New England this season, a 24-17 victory by St. Louis: Warner threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions; Marshall Faulk rushed for 83 yards in 20 carries, and caught seven passes for 70 yards, with a touchdown; linebacker London Fletcher had 17 tackles.

Sam Farmer

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