The Anaheim Stadium scoreboard mistakenly credited Dave Archer with Atlanta’s first score--a 44-yard Mick Luckhurst field goal--but the scoreboard operators weren’t the only ones confused about Archer’s role.
Most of the Rams didn’t know who he was, either.
They found out in the second quarter Sunday when Archer replaced starting quarterback Steve Bartkowski, who sustained a thigh bruise, and completed 11 of 21 passes for 114 yards and scrambled five times for 29 yards.
“We had prepared for Bartkowski,” Ram cornerback Gary Green said, “We’d never seen the other guy . . . what’s his name?”
The “other guy,” a 23-year-old from Iowa State who threw just 18 passes for the Falcons last year but beat out Mike Moroski for the No. 2 quarterback spot, wasn’t exactly sparkling. But at least people might remember his name and that he’s a thrower, not a kicker.
Atlanta Coach Dan Henning liked what he saw, anyway.
“Archer did a good job in the situation he was put into,” Henning said.
Good enough to start next week?
“It’s a little premature to make a decision like that,” Henning said, sounding annoyed.
Bartkowski, who said that he probably “could have pressed through” the injury, seemed resigned to let fate take its course.
“It was more or less Dan’s decision,” Bartkowski said of his removal, admitting that he told Henning his leg felt stiff at halftime.
“I must have gotten a helmet or something during one of the sacks,” Bartkowski said. “Dave (Archer) is going to be a fine player. He did a good job and it’s Dan’s decision who plays next week.”
Henning hasn’t made the choice yet, but Archer is just glad to have had a chance to prove his worth.
“I feel I gave Dan something to look at and what he saw, I feel, was good,” Archer said. “I’ve got a good feeling about that.”
Now, if he can just be sure Henning won’t list him as the No. 1 kicker, instead of the holder, on the Falcons’ depth chart.
Eric Dickerson said he didn’t mind giving up the Ram spotlight to quarterback Dieter Brock.
“I think it’s great,” Dickerson said. “Minnesota (next opponent) will see that and say, ‘Well, we’ll have to defend the pass, too.’ ”
His hamstring tightened up, Dickerson said, because “I couldn’t get real loose today. I play better when it’s real hot. I’ll be back next week.”
Dickerson likes to remind people that he’s only human.
“I have red blood and cry just like everyone else,” he said.
Offensive tackle Bill Bain, 33, played his first full game this season despite suffering from the flu all week.
Earlier, he had been bothered by arthritic ankles and a sore back. He needed a painkilling injection to play at Seattle last week.
But after Russ Bolinger broke his arm on the first series and tackle Irv Pankey had to play guard, there were no more reserves in the offensive line.
“I felt like I’d been stealing my paycheck until today,” Bain said. “Today I earned it.”
Falcon safety Scott Case argued with the officials after the Rams’ touchdown pass to Bobby Duckworth in the third quarter.
“From where I was it didn’t look like he had control of the ball,” Case said. “I just wanted to tell them about it.”
Hit of the Day: Rookie Ram receiver Michael Young’s collision with the south goal post in the second quarter.
Young outran Falcon defender Reggie Pleasant into the end zone on what would have been a 35-yard scoring play, if Young had placed both feet down before exiting the end zone and crashing into the padded post.
He managed to hang onto the ball, but the uprights trembled for several seconds.
“It was a true post pattern,” Young said. “I thought I was just crossing the goal line when I caught the ball. If I had known where I was I would have slowed down. I didn’t even know what I hit.”