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Unsung Heroes: Ron Bartell

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A cornerback playing well in coverage isn't usually the kind of thing that makes a highlight reel, only the interceptions. Nevertheless, it's a pretty important job, and contrasting the first four Rams games with the last two you can see what a difference it makes.

Even in those dark early weeks, though, there was a bright spot in the backfield. Ron Bartell has given the Rams a viable starter at CB, after being considered at best a good nickle once heading into the season.

An improved backfield kept the Rams from getting burned by passes over the middle. To wit: Cowboys TE Jason Witten had 6 catches for 44 yards, only one catch, late in the second quarter, helped move the chains significantly, a 16 yarder on 3rd and 9. On the next set of downs after two incomplete passes, Bartell made the stop on Witten's two yard catch to force the punt. And so the second half of the game ended one Marc Bulger kneel later. It's a shame you can't get better video highlights online, but you can see a sampling of Bartell's work on Atogwe's first INT. Bartell had WR Austin Miles, who was also in the area of the pass, in check.

The award for best play in coverage probably goes to S OJ Atogwe, but the cornerbacks kept some pretty good receivers in check, not allowing big gains until late in the game with the win already in hand.