Mike Martz complained about almost everything Sunday, right down to the security policy for when the St. Louis Rams left Ralph Wilson Stadium. And then there was the issue of cut blocks, in which he said the Buffalo Bills used to intentionally injure two cornerbacks.
You know what left the Rams head coach steaming more than anything? The very thing that left the Bills euphoric: special teams. While the Bills were celebrating their 37-17 victory that was built with two long punt returns, the Rams were looking for answers on how things became so dreadful so quickly.
"The special teams were pitiful, just pitiful -- again," Martz said. "I'm not very happy. I really don't know what to do at this point. We've tried to get our starters in there. We've tried a whole bunch of things."
No wonder he couldn't get out of Western New York fast enough. The Rams were comfortable with a 17-17 game at halftime, but three dreadful plays on special teams in the first five minutes of the third quarter left them looking for the license plate. The first was Jonathan Smith's 53-yard punt return that set up the Bills' go-ahead touchdown.
The next possession, Nate Clements returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown with nobody from the Rams' coverage unit in the same zip code. And, just to show the first two miscues weren't flukes, the Rams' Erik Flowers -- the Bills' former first-round pick -- fumbled away the ensuing short kickoff. Suddenly, the Bills had a 34-17 lead with 8:03 left in the third quarter.
"The special teams stuff is revolting," Martz said. "It's going to be hard to win another game until we get that cleared up. It's the worst I've ever seen."
St. Louis for years has had problems on special teams. Martz is on his third "teams" coach in five seasons after deciding he would not renew Bobby April's contract after last season. Yes, that would be the same Bobby April credited with turning around the Bills' units this season.
"Super Sleuth?" Martz said when asked about April. "You mean that tricky Bobby? They just flat returned it. They've got good people. I think that's his secret."
Two weeks ago, Martz challenged his players with an uncharacteristic tirade following a 40-22 loss to the New England Patriots. They beat Seattle last week but might have been caught looking toward Green Bay next Monday night. St. Louis is 0-3 against AFC East teams -- Miami, New England and Buffalo -- by a combined score of 108-53.
"I don't think anyone is going to feel sorry for us," safety Aeneas Williams said.
St. Louis took a breath after building a 10-0 lead. It was a mistake. Buffalo worked its way back into the game and allowed its defense to take over. Marshall Faulk was invisible with six yards on 13 carries. Marc Bulger, who was 13 of 16 for 152 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, threw three interceptions in the second.
The Rams expect to be without cornerbacks Kevin Garrett and Travis Fisher, both of whom were sidelined with knee injuries. Martz accused the Bills of making cut blocks in an attempt to injure the Rams.
"Absolutely they're doing it intentionally," Martz said. "They're trying to blow somebody's knee out. There's no question about it. . . . That stuff comes around eventually.
"It's just like leaving here today. We can't have our security check here like we do at every stadium in the National Football League. They force us to go to the airport. There's no reason for that. That's just this organization."