Rams Beat Bills 24-10
Sloppy performance in preseason opener highlighted by Travis Henry's play.
by Steve Saslow
August 12, 2001
The Bills defense struggled at times against the high powered St. Louis Rams offense and the West Coast Offense sputtered out of the gates but there were many positives to build on in the 24-10 loss to the Rams. Rob Johnson took about a dozen snaps and completed 3 of 5 passes for 13 yards and scrambled twice for 15 more including a first down. Travis Henry had a great debut scoring a touchdown on a 25 yard run minutes after sprinting 15 yards down the sidelines against the Rams top defense.
That tied the score at 7 shortly after Torry Holt caught a 60 yard touchdown bomb beating Lance Brown. Two missed field goals by the Rams kept the score tied at 7 late into the third quarter before a good punt return and a 22 yard pass from Alex Van Pelt to Dan O'Leary setup a Steve Christie field goal to give the Bills a short-lived 10-7 lead.
The Rams showed they have more depth by dominating from that point on as they drove right down the field for a score and then scored on special teams after an Avion Black fumbled punt return was taken in for a Rams score. That completed an up and down day for the new look special teams. The two punter punted very well and Brain Moorman recovered a fumble. On the negative side is Black's fumble and a couple of penalties.
The offense and defense both struggled as the Rams had a 375-173 edge in total yards including a whopping 281-81 edge in passing yards. The defense did seem to stiffen when they had to. The final score isn't what is important, how each player played is more important. Here's a look at who we think helped themselves and hurt their chances in this game:Players Who Helped Themselves
Travis Henry: He had a 25 yard touchdown run and finished with 47 yards on 6 carries. He also added 19 yards on two receptions. On the downside he dropped a couple of passes showing he's not as versatile as Shawn Bryson or Sammy Morris. Based on this game though, he has a great chance of winning the starting job. He was the second back in the game after Bryson and before Morris. The majority of his yards was with the second unit against the Rams first team defense.
Brian Moorman: Had some nice punts and actually recovered a fumble on his first kick. He was booming them far and angling them perfectly.
Jay Taylor: He had a great punt that went out of bounds at the Rams 3.
Dan O'Leary: Had a nice 22 yard reception on the FG drive and did a perfect job on long snapping. It looks like he has the team made.
David Bowens: He looked right at home which was very impressive considering he has only been on the team less than a week. He had a sack and at least one pressure.
Lance Brown: He showed why he is a special teams ace. He stripped the ball on a punt which Moorman recovered and was great on coverage on another return stopping the return man for a 2 yard gain.
Keion Carpenter: Made a nice stop on a 4th and 1 running play short of a first down.
Bryce Fisher: Had a few good pressures of the quarterback.
Leif Larsen: Had a sack and a couple of pressures.
Players Who Hurt Themselves
Lance Brown: He's on both lists. This list he's on because he was awful as a cornerback. He was beat on the 60 yard touchdown pass to Torry Holt. His best chance of making the team is on special teams, ala Mark Pike.
Shawn Bryson: He got the start at running back but dropped a pass and couldn't gain anything on the ground.
Sammy Morris: Fumbled the opening kickoff and saw little playing time in the first half. Didn't seem to move the ball well in the second half.
Josh Lind: Had two costly penalties including an illegal hands in the face call after a big completion in the fourth quarter.
Jonas Jennings: He had two holding penalties but did open the hole for Henry's touchdown run.
DaShon Polk: He was offsides on a kickoff drawing the ire of special teams coordinator Danny Smith.
Avion Black: Despite having a nice 31 yard punt return he fumbled a kickoff return that was returned for a Rams score.
Pass Coverage: The Rams are an awesome offensive machine, but they seemed to move the ball way too easily in the air against the Bills coverage. The new defense relies heavily on man to man and it appears the depth at corner isn't capable of playing that way.
Alex Van Pelt: Although he led the Bills on two scoring drives he struggled throwing the ball, completing only 50% of his passes and throwing an interception late in the first half.
Pete Gonzalez: Seemed to have no command of the offense. Didn't move the ball at all and was forced to waste a timeout.
It appears the Bills got out of the game relatively healthy. For the latest news on all of the Bills injuries all training camp and all season long check out our injury page.
Erik Flowers: He left the game in the second quarter and had his knee taped and seemed to be in some pain.
Travis Henry: He had his left leg looked at but returned to the game.
Rob Johnson: He aggravated his jammed finger on a scramble, he will continue to play through it.
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