RAM NOTEBOOK : Mora: Only Problem Saints' Defense Had Was Playing Too Long

TIMES STAFF WRITER

For the better part of four quarters Sunday night, the Rams struggled, stumbled and staggered. But they finally managed to wear down the Saints' stubborn defense.

"Our defense played a great game," New Orleans Coach Jim Mora said. "There were many opportunities for them to come through for us, and they did. It just might have been too much to ask of them to do it again at the end of the game."

Defensive end Frank Warren and linebacker Pat Swilling led the Saints' sack attack as New Orleans got to quarterback Jim Everett six times. The Saints have now sacked Ram quarterbacks 12 times in the last two games.

But Everett escaped the rush often enough to pass for 343 yards after halftime as the Rams rallied for a 20-17 overtime victory.

"We had good heat on him most of the game," Mora said, "but the defense was on the field so much, they just got tired. They started to get real tired about mid-fourth quarter.

"They were rushing the passer on almost every down, and that takes a lot out of you."

Saint cornerback Robert Massey, who had two interceptions Sunday, made a diving interception of an Everett pass near the end of the first half, then jumped to his feet and returned it 44 yards for an apparent touchdown.

However, officials ruled that Aaron Cox, the intended receiver, had touched Massey. Television replays showed that Cox did not touch Massey while he was down, but he did make contact with Massey while the Saint cornerback was in the air after intercepting the ball.

So Cox gets credit for making a nice--if inadvertent--tackle on an opposing player who had possession of the football.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has been getting a lot of mileage out of Ram Coach John Robinson's comment that his team "forfeited" the first game against the Saints, a 40-21 New Orleans victory.

In Sunday's editions, Robinson was quoted with this explanation of his statement:

"Forfeit was just a way of saying we were just a bad team and so dominated by the other side that it just wasn't a game."

But the paper also ran this answer to a question about his players not giving the Saints enough credit that made Robinson look, uh, less than brilliant:

"Uh, I'm . . . uh, well, I . . . I'm not really interested in . . . uh, I don't remember . . . uh, I think they realize how good a football team New Orleans, I can't imagine them not recognizing that, or, . . . uh, maybe, uh, they didn't give New Orleans the amount of credit New Orleans would have liked to have. That doesn't seem like an issue."

Keep those tape recorders running and make sure you don't leave out any stammering.

Sin City? Hardly.

Robinson on the temptations of New Orleans:

"I don't think this is sin city. I must not be hanging out with the right people. I never seem to get into trouble.

"The veteran players are the only ones you worry about. They know what to do. The rookies just want to stay in their hotel rooms. The rookies don't know how to get a cab."

Kathy Hewitt, wife of Rams' equipment manager Todd Hewitt, gave birth to the couple's second child Sunday morning, a seven-pound, six-ounce boy named Joshua Don Hewitt.

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