Warner criticizes his play vs. Bucs

Thursday, November 29, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- Being off-target is new for Kurt Warner.

The St. Louis Rams' quarterback is coming off the first sub 50-percent passing game in 37 career starts in Monday night's 24-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Warner, a 69-percent passer this season, completed only 19 of 39 for 291 yards and one touchdown, with two interceptions.

"I don't look at the numbers," Warner said Wednesday as the Rams (8-2) returned to practice. "I watch the tape, though. I didn't make enough plays, bottom line."

Warner's statistics are even more glaring when it's considered that before Monday, he had 13 straight games with 60-percent completion or better. Last year he completed 65 percent.

But the Buccaneers aren't the first team to give Warner, the 1999 NFL MVP, trouble this year.

Warner has thrown 11 interceptions the last four weeks and has dropped to fifth in passer rating.

Coach Mike Martz wasn't critical of Warner's play at all against the Buccaneers. On Tuesday he said receivers made a handful of route mistakes, one of which led to an interception near the end of the game when Torry Holt didn't take the correct angle on a slant route.

"There weren't many problems, they just happened at a real inopportune time," Martz said. "It shouldn't happen, but it did."

Warner minimized the route errors.

"It was nothing out of the ordinary, nothing we shouldn't overcome," he said. "I don't buy into all that. Bottom line, I've got to make more plays."

On Wednesday, Martz also faulted his own play selection.

"I think I could have called a much better game for him, to be honest with you," Martz said. "I could have given him better opportunities in the passing game."

"I was pleased when I looked at the tape, I didn't realize he played as well as he did."

Warner said he felt like he was throwing the ball where he wanted to for the most part and making the right decisions. But he sensed an overall lack of focus for the team.

"It was just one of those games where we just weren't all clicking," he said. "The timing wasn't all there and I didn't put the ball where I wanted to every single time."

Warner credited the Buccaneers' defense for much of his problems.

"When you're playing a good defense, you'd better be on," Warner said. "You have to be on top of your game and we obviously weren't, and it showed."

He didn't think the loss would affect the Rams' confidence.

"I think we know we didn't play well," Warner said. "The big thing is how we respond, how we come back, and how quick we can get it back together, because we didn't play very well."

Injury update

Martz said the team would practice in shells perhaps the rest of the season, largely because of a rash of injuries on defense. The Rams will be without end Leonard Little (knee), linebacker Don Davis (wrist) and strong safety Adam Archuleta (ankle), plus the other safety, Kim Herring (hip pointer) might be out this week.

Herring was noticeably limping before practice and had a large welt on his abdomen. Martz was hoping Herring could practice by Friday.

"If this happened Sunday it might be a little different story, but I've still got swelling," Herring said. "It looks like I ate a whole bunch of Krispy Kremes."

Davis had pins removed from his dislocated right wrist on Tuesday and is expected back next week. Archuleta still has a large knot on his right ankle.

Archuleta said his sprained ankle is worse because he was knocked unconscious on a helmet-to-helmet hit with 322-pound Patriots lineman Greg Robinson-Randall, also sustaining a mild concussion.

"You're body just goes limp, so my ankle folded," Archuleta said.

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