Bruce shows he can still deliver
Courtesy of the Associated Press
ST. LOUIS - Isaac Bruce, the longest-tenured St. Louis Ram, showed there is plenty of life left in the 33-year-old receiver.
Bruce, the only remaining Ram who played in Los Angeles, gave Detroit cornerback Jamar Fletcher fits Sunday. Bruce hauled in seven passes for 100 yards - the 40th 100-yard receiving game in his career.
Bruce also caught his first touchdown pass of the season, the game-winner in a wild 41-34 victory over the Lions. With 1:56 left to play, he hauled in a 5-yard pass from Marc Bulger to put the Rams ahead 49-34, then caught the two-point conversion pass for a seven-point lead.
"I think it was a good time for the first one," Bruce said of his touchdown reception. "It was one of those pick, nonpick plays that we've picked up from the Celtics from back in the day."
Bruce moved into ninth place on the NFL's all-time receptions list. He passed Larry Centers and now has 833 catches, while the scoring strike gave him 78 career touchdown catches. Two more will move him past Harold Carmichael and Hall of Famer Charley Taylor.
But numbers don't motivate Bruce, the Rams' all-time leading receiver. He says he doesn't care about his own accomplishments, just wins and losses.
"It was good to be on the winning side," Bruce said.
Others are not so shy about singing his praises.
"He makes those important catches when he has to," Rams quarterback Marc Bulger said. "He's one of those guys who can be quiet and you won't hear from him, and later when the game is on the line or if I tell him to give me a little extra, he's the guy who can step it up. That's why he is a Hall of Fame guy."
Torry Holt, who lines up on the other side of Bruce, typically draws the top cornerback in coverage. Dre Bly matched up with Holt while Jamar Fletcher drew Bruce. The Rams took advantage of that mismatch.
The offense hadn't scored 20 points in any of its first three games, but that changed Sunday against Detroit. In addition Bruce's performance, Holt caught six passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.
"Eight years now, we showed what we can do," Holt said. "We were rolling and flowing. We feed off each other. Today, they put Dre, their best corner on me, and he caused some problems there in the early part of the game. They had their third-best corner on Isaac.
"Isaac has been terrorizing No. 1 corners for years. We felt that was a matchup that we could exploit. Obviously, Isaac came up with his ability to make plays and with his professionalism, he dominated that game."
Veteran guard Adam Timmerman said it was good to have both Bruce and Holt playing like they did in the days when the Rams were the NFL's dominant offense. He believes it is a harbinger of good times to come as the offense gets more comfortable with first-year coach Scott Linehan's schemes.
"I think we are going to see the timing get better and better each week out," Timmerman said. "It's starting to roll now. This win is a great sign."
Defensive end Leonard Little said Bruce has plenty left to give to the game.
"Isaac is going to be a Hall of Famer, bar none," Little said. "He keeps making plays for this organization. Hopefully, he'll be around, you know, not three or four but five or 10 more years.
"He can play as long as he wants to. He hasn't lost anything at all. He knows all the tricks and everything."
For more information on the Isaac Bruce Foundation call 314-369-4074.