Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Odd Factors Add Up to Rams' 34-27 Win Big Plays Offset Bad for Banks vs. Atlanta

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Odd Factors Add Up to Rams' 34-27 Win Big Plays Offset Bad for Banks vs. Atlanta

Article excerpt

Big plays, botched plays, and Big Daddy.

The strange, the sublime, the silly.

All those factors, and more, were at play Sunday in the Rams' 34-27 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. For the big, we give you touchdown passes of 72, 77 and 41 yards from quarterback Tony Banks to wide receiver Eddie Kennison. (If you go into the Georgia Dome today, you might still see Atlanta free safety Brad Edwards biting on the play-action fake.) For the botched, we submit the 11 turnovers between the Rams and the Falcons. Soft-throwing quarterback Bobby Hebert tied an Atlanta franchise record with six interceptions. Banks treated the football like a greased pigskin en route to a four-fumble afternoon. After dodging the bullet for weeks, he now holds the single-season NFL mark with 21 fumbles. "I shattered it actually," Banks said. "Hopefully, I won't get on SportsCenter with the fumbles." For Rich "Big Daddy" Brooks, the victory was a much-needed tonic after a rocky week in which his job status seemed more shaky than ever. His team's ledger stands at 5-10. Will John Shaw still pull the plug if the Rams close with a victory over New Orleans on Saturday - giving them four victories in their final seven games? The strange? The sight of team trainers discreetly trying to change the sweaty pants of 300-pound center Bern Brostek on the sideline after one of three botched exchanges with Banks. "We used to change his pants at halftime all the time last year," Brooks said. That hasn't been the case this year, much to the dismay of Banks. "I guess he just doesn't like me, huh?" Banks joked. "I've got to beg him to sit on a towel." The sublime? The sight of Rams free safety Keith Lyle tying a franchise record with three interceptions, the third of which came on the last play of the game. He has nine interceptions for the year. The silly? We return to Edwards, the over-eager Falcons free safety. "You take away those three (pass) plays on defense, and the turnovers on offense, and we were in it," Edwards said. Yeah, and were it not for that darn iceberg, the Titanic might still be floating. Actually, the Falcons (3-12) were in it, right up until turnover No. 7. Somehow, the Rams managed to nearly squander 480 yards of offense, career yardage days by Kennison (226 receiving) and running back Lawrence Phillips (112 rushing), and a lead of 24-3 late in the first half. "It was much too close for comfort," Brooks said. "I'm just pleased to get out of here with a win, and beat the Falcons in this stadium for the first time. I think our defense did what they had to do at the end." Barely. Playing before 26,519, the smallest crowd in the five-year history of the Georgia Dome, the Rams managed to play what could have been something like a 50-10 laugher into a squeaker. …

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