Alexander Announces Presence

Posted Oct 17, 2010

It was a moment he’ll never forget but one that in the moments after it happened, he couldn’t quite remember.

In the immediate aftermath of his diving, 38-yard touchdown catch which doubled as his first such grab, Danario Alexander found himself overcome by the moment. So much so that when he was asked to recount how he felt after he scored, he couldn’t quite remember what he did.

“I don’t know (what happened),” Alexander said. “I was just ecstatic.  It was crazy.  I was at a loss of words right there.”

In announcing his presence to the NFL world, Alexander’s proclamation was anything but quiet.

By now, you probably know the story of how Alexander came to be on the Rams roster. The local product from the University of Missouri was a fan favorite as he became an All American for the Tigers last year.

But four knee surgeries, including one in the months before the NFL Draft, ultimately left Alexander without a team when the draft was over. After months of rehabilitation, the Rams took a flyer on Alexander just before the preseason ended.

This week, after spending the first five weeks on the practice squad, Alexander’s journey took the next step when he was promoted to the active roster on Tuesday.

It all culminated Sunday when he sparked the Rams offense in the first half with four catches for 72 yards with the scintillating touchdown catch that nearly brought down the Edward Jones Dome.

“It was basically saying, ‘I’m here,’ after all the things I’ve been through,” Alexander said. “And for that play to go just how it went, I kind of got emotional at that moment.  But you know we had a little bit more game to go.”

It wasn’t until Sunday that it was certain that Alexander would even be among the 45 active players against the Chargers. But the Rams had worked him into the mix during the week and had some plays in for him, including the two catches he made to jump start the Rams’ day.

After a nondescript 5-yard grab went for his first career NFL catch, Alexander caught a 16-yard fade over San Diego corner Antoine Cason to San Diego’s 42 with 1:42 to go in the first quarter.

Two plays later, Alexander was in the end zone after a perfect throw from quarterback Sam Bradford hit him on a deep post.

“Both (were) huge plays for us as an offense,” Bradford said. “I really can’t say enough great things about the way he played today…I felt like we had a good connection going into today and we continued that.”

Alexander and Bradford were far from the only people thrilled for the early success. Running back Steven Jackson went right to Alexander with some encouraging words, congratulating Alexander and reminding him to enjoy the moment.

“For him being a young guy and to have the success he did right away in the first quarter, it allowed him to have the confidence that he needs and show it to himself,” Jackson said. “That’s one of the things you kind of doubt. Can you play at this level after injuries and I think for him to have that success right away really did a lot for his confidence.”

It also nearly brought the Edward Jones Dome to its knees with one of the loudest ovations in an ever-more exciting season at the team’s friendly confines.

Alexander is already such a fan favorite because of his local ties, he couldn’t help but smile when asked what it meant to him to have his first taste of NFL success come in front of many of the same fans that used to root for him on Saturdays.

“It’s the best place to do it,” Alexander said. “All the Mizzou fans showed up.  It’s home right here.  My home away from home.  I’m excited about everything.”

SACK PARTY: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers had never been sacked seven times in a game. Until Sunday.

With a front four using stunts and creating matchup problems and defensive coordinator Ken Flajole dialing up exotic blitz packages, the Rams dropped Rivers seven times and were relentless in their pass rush.

After a disappointing showing in Detroit last week, Flajole asked his charges to respond against the Chargers’ top rated offense. That group did so with emphasis as ends Chris Long and James Hall each registered a pair of sacks.

Linebacker Larry Grant had two sacks of his own and defensive tackle Fred Robbins got another one.

“That’s just part of being relentless,” Grant said. “Every play that they call up is meant to score a touchdown. On the reverse side of that, our play is called to stop them. Regardless of whether we’re blocked or not, we’re going 100 percent of the time to get in the backfield.”

CHASING DICKERSON: Jackson entered Sunday’s game needing 141 yards to pass Eric Dickerson as the Rams’ all time leading rusher.

Jackson got off to a hot start with 50 yards in the first half and with a lead figured to have a shot to break it. Although Jackson got the touches, he wasn’t quite able to get there as he finished with 109 yards on 29 carries with a 7-yard touchdown run.

That leaves Jackson 32 yards short of passing Dickerson, an achievement Jackson would like to have accomplished in front of the home fans.

But the upbeat Jackson was unconcerned after the game knowing he helped give the home fans a much better gift with his determined late game running that helped salt the game away.

“(That’s) for another day,” Jackson said. “I would have loved to have broken the record at home but more so I would have loved to get a win. I think the fashion that we have been winning; the fans still got a great show although we didn’t get the record.”

INJURY REPORT: The Rams appeared to make it out of the game relatively healthy as a trio of hamstring injuries were the main culprits.

Safety Darian Stewart, cornerback Justin King and receiver Mardy Gilyard left the game early with hamstring ailments. None returned to the game.

Also, cornerback Ron Bartell suffered a wrist injury. Coach Steve Spagnuolo was unsure of the severity of that injury but said Bartell would be looked at further on Monday.