[SeMissourian.com] Overcast ~ 65°F  
River stage: 31.2 ft. Rising
Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014

Revenge isn't a motivator against Rams, Eagles insist

Friday, November 29, 2002

PHILADELPHIA -- Ever since the schedule came out, the Philadelphia Eagles have thought about playing the Rams this Sunday in a rematch of last season's NFC championship game.

Well, not exactly. At least that's what the players say.

"No revenge," running back Duce Staley said. "St. Louis is a good team. We're at home, the crowd's going to be excited, and we're going to be excited. It's just another game we have to get up for and we have to win."

The Rams ended Philadelphia's Super Bowl hopes with a 29-24 victory in the conference title game 10 months ago. St. Louis also opened last season with an overtime victory against the Eagles at Veterans Stadium.

But the Eagles insist they're not focused on any paybacks.

"That was last year," defensive end Hugh Douglas said. "We're not going to dwell on that. We're worried about this year. Right now, that means nothing. It's all irrelevant at this point."

Neither team is the same this time around, especially on offense. The Eagles will be without quarterbacks Donovan McNabb (broken ankle) and Koy Detmer (dislocated elbow). A.J. Feeley, cut two months ago by Philadelphia, will make his first start since his junior season at Oregon in 1999.

The Rams might be without star running back Marshall Faulk (ankle). He's questionable after missing two straight games.

For the NFC East-leading Eagles (8-3), a victory moves them closer toward their goal of securing a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Rams (5-6) need to win to maintain playoff hopes.

St. Louis opened the season with five straight losses, but third-string quarterback Marc Bulger led the Rams to five consecutive wins before giving way to NFL MVP Kurt Warner last week against Washington. The Redskins beat St. Louis 20-17, despite 301 yards passing and two touchdowns by Warner.

"I don't consider them a dying team. I consider them dangerous," Douglas said. "They're going to come out here fighting. They still have a lot of weapons on their team that can make plays and score points. We're going to approach this game like we approach every game. We have a lot of respect for the Rams and they're still a dangerous team, so we're not going to take them lightly."

Though Faulk might not play, Philadelphia's defense realizes the Rams' offense still can be potent. Faulk's replacement, rookie Lamar Gordon, ran for 40 yards and caught 10 passes for 68 yards against the Redskins.

"They can hit you from any angle. Anywhere. Passing, running. You name it," defensive tackle Darwin Walker said. "That team is still very powerful. They're still a team that can hurt you. They just had some trouble with things like turnovers. They're still a good team. They're still the St. Louis Rams."

The Eagles were 12-point underdogs against the Rams in St. Louis in the NFC championship game. But they led 17-13 at halftime, and had the ball at their own 48 with a chance to take the lead in the final two minutes before McNabb threw an interception to end the season.

St. Louis is a 2-point favorite this week.

"I think they know us and we know them," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "It should be a great environment for a big-time football game."

Noteworthy

  • Special teams coach John Harbaugh said Thursday that new backup quarterback Tim Hasselbeck will replace Detmer as the holder for kicker David Akers. Tight end Chad Lewis filled in after Detmer went down in the third quarter of Monday night's victory at San Francisco. Lewis remains the backup holder, kicker and long-snapper.

    Return specialist Brian Mitchell is the No. 3 quarterback behind Feeley and Hasselbeck.


  • Fact Check
    See inaccurate information in this story?


    Respond to this story

    Posting a comment requires free registration. If you already have an account on seMissourian.com or semoball.com, enter your username and password below. Otherwise, click here to register.

    Username:

    Password:  (Forgot your password?)

    Your comments:
    Please be respectful of others and try to stay on topic.