@nwagoner I'm sure there were a few back in the days of the Foursome, but in my time as a fan one has to be Ricky Proehl's catch vs Bucs '99
— Kris Osk (@wizardofosk) June 4, 2014
This is the second of three plays nominated as the most memorable play in St. Louis Rams history. Wednesday, we'll feature Isaac Bruce's 73-yard touchdown catch that provided the winning points in Super Bowl XXXIV. On Monday we looked at linebacker Mike Jones' game-saving tackle of Kevin Dyson to preserve the Rams' victory in that Super Bowl. Please vote for your choice as the Rams' most memorable play.
Score: Rams 11, Buccaneers 6
Date: Jan. 23, 2000 Site: Edward Jones Dome
In need of a big play to keep their dream season alive on a third-and-4 at Tampa Bay's 30 with 4 minutes, 50 seconds to go, the 1999 Rams generally had no shortage of options. Receivers Bruce, Torry Holt and Az-Zahir Hakim and running back Marshall Faulk had done it all season, so it would have been no surprise to see one of them step forward with the game on the line.
But Holt and Hakim were battling injuries, and the Rams offense was struggling to find traction against the Bucs' ferocious defense. Already in field goal range, most teams surely would've taken a first down and a chance to run the clock and kick for the lead, but that wasn't the way of the Rams and quarterback Kurt Warner.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz called "585 H-Choice," but before the play, Warner told receiver Ricky Proehl to keep an eye on safety Damien Robinson in the middle of the field. Warner instructed Proehl to adjust his route to a fade if Robinson blitzed; otherwise, the first option would have been Faulk. Sure enough, Robinson came charging up the middle as Proehl found himself matched up with cornerback Brian Kelly on the left side. With the blitz picked up and the pocket clean, Warner lofted a pass to the left corner of the end zone.
As it fell toward the earth, a backpedaling Kelly reached in vain as Proehl leaped and pinned the ball to his left shoulder with his left arm as he came crashing down in the end zone. Proehl reached over with his right arm to secure the ball before landing to complete the 30-yard touchdown grab and give the Rams an 11-6 lead they would not relinquish on their way to Super Bowl XXXIV.
The touchdown was Proehl's only one of the entire season. To this day, many of Proehl's teammates -- Bruce included -- maintain that Proehl's catch was the most important and memorable of all the plays made by the Rams that season. It might have come from an unlikely source, but in many ways it summed up what that championship team was all about.