Rams' Little, Colts' Manning share long history - KMOV.com

Rams' Little, Colts' Manning share long history

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- In his home, St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little proudly displays a photograph of him sacking Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.

"I want to be able to show my kids that I sacked a Hall of Fame quarterback," Little said after a recent Rams practice.

In fact, Little recorded two sacks in that Dec. 30, 2001, game in St. Louis, which the Rams won 42-17 en route to their second Super Bowl appearance in three years.

Times have changed since then for Little and Manning, who were teammates for two years at Tennessee and will face each other on Sunday. Manning is two years younger than Little -- who turned 35 on Monday -- and has lifted the Colts to an elite team that's made the playoffs in nine of the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, the Rams are 0-6 this season and suffering through a 16-game losing streak. The Rams are 5-33 since 2007.

"Any win would be big for us right now," Little said. "We need to get that first one under our belt."

Age and injuries have slowed him somewhat but he still plays at a high level. He tallied six sacks last year despite a hamstring injury. Healthy for the most part this year, Little already has four sacks.

Little was battling the effects of strep throat last Sunday against Jacksonville when he snared David Garrard's flare pass and returned it 36 yards for a score with 4:36 remaining. Little ended the run by diving headfirst into the end zone pylon for his third career touchdown and first since Dec. 12, 2004. It was his first career interception.

"I don't know what I had but I had some energy," Little said. "I just made a play but we didn't win the game so that was disappointing."

In practice, Little said he has caught balls like that. So when he recognized what the Jaguars were doing, Little made his move.

"It was just a reaction on my part," Little said. "They had a swing out to the running back and I just read it. The only thing I saw after I caught it was green. I saw the quarterback out of the corner of my eye so when I got close, I decided to dive in and beat him."

Little is relishing the opportunity to go against the undefeated Colts (5-0), who are coming off a bye week and have won their last 14 regular-season games. Little said he knows the Rams defense has a big job in trying to stop Manning and company.

"We're running into a great offense and a great team," Little said. "Guys have been working real hard in practice and I hope we step up to the challenge."

The Colts rank fifth in the NFL with 27.4 points a game and third in the league with 404.8 yards a game. Indianapolis is the best in the league at not allowing sacks on pass plays.

"There are a lot of sleepless nights," defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. "I could give you the old Lou Holtz line and say I sleep like a baby in that I get up every two hours and cry. They're a heck of a football team. Everybody knows we're facing a future Hall of Famer.

"There's no question they present some difficult matchup problems."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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