It was a special effort for the St. Louis Rams last Sunday against Seattle.
As in, a special teams effort.
The Rams’ special teams scored all 19 points in a 19-13 victory over the Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome.
“The Seahawks are a very talented football team and we’re very fortunate to have this thing come down to the end and make a play to win the ball game,” said Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher. “It’s great for the guys to come off the disappointing loss last weekend on the road to find a way to win the game. Now we can boast a little bit about making this a hard place to play because we’re 2-0 here in the regular season, which is a credit to our fans.”
Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein booted four field goals, breaking franchise records for distances of 58 and 60 yards, and the field goal team scored the team’s one touchdown when holder (and punter) Johnny Hekker tossed a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola.
Zuerlein’s 60-yard field goal was the longest by a rookie kicker in NFL history.
“I was on the headsets and I said, ‘Field goal,’ and somebody said ‘Field goal?’ I said, ‘Yeah, it’s only 60. It’s well within his range,’ ” Fisher said.
“It says more about the coaching staff than it does about me. I feel a lot of kickers in the NFL can kick from those distances and make them,” said Zuerlein. “It just depends on the faith that the coaches have. (Special Teams Coordinator) Coach (John) Fassel and Coach Fisher are giving me the chances and I think that’s the biggest thing.”
The touchdown came on a trick play. Amendola never left the field following third down, instead hanging around near the sideline and out of site of the Seattle defense.
The snap came to Hekker, who tossed the ball to a wide-open Amendola for the score.
“He has to stay on the field. That’s what the rule states,” said Fisher, who talked to the officials about that play before the game.
“It was just a play where I’d pretend like I was coming off and I wouldn’t step out of bounds so I wouldn’t be ineligible, so I’d just stay out there,” Amendola said. “The play kind of took awhile, so I was wondering if they were going to see me. They didn’t see me and it ended up working out.”
Most of the talk in the locker room after the game centered around Zuerlein, who quickly is becoming a star for the Rams.
“The thing about Greg is that he’s extremely calm, extremely confident and nothing really gets him riled,” said Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis. “We do field goals at practice and that guy, he doesn’t miss. If he does, we give him a hard time about it.”
Amendola had similar thoughts.
“He’s obviously got a huge leg and we’re excited to have him. You don’t draft a kicker for no reason,” Amendola said.
“Right now, our kicker is the MVP of the season. He’s doing a great job,” said Rams running back Steven Jackson. “Pretty much all we have to do is get across the 50-yard line and we’re within his range.”
It’s a short week for the Rams (2-2), who host unbeaten Arizona (4-0) Thursday at 7:20 p.m.
“I’ve never played on a Thursday before in this league. I know it’s going to be a challenge for us to get prepared,” said Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. “We’ve only got three days to get ready for a game. We’ve got to get our minds ready for Arizona now.”
The Cardinals are one of three unbeaten teams in the NFL, joining Houston and Atlanta.
“Arizona, right now, they’re red hot. They’re definitely making noise in the NFL and for us to get a second win in the division, it would be huge,” Jackson said. “We have to continue to establish what we are doing and that’s making home field advantage tough.”