From: stlouisrams.com By Nick Wagoner Staff Writer For a team that as recently as one week ago was one the verge of being out of playoff contention, possibly finishing 6-10 and maybe losing its head coach, the St. Louis Rams responded to all of the rumors and gossip with silence. There were no real tirades or blanket statements from anyone in the Rams locker room. Instead, St. Louis did all of its talking on the field in its last two games of the regular season. With all of the adversity, the Rams have faced this season; it seems strange that their 8-8 record was good enough to land them a playoff spot. But, the NFC has been as crazy as any conference playoff picture, perhaps ever. St. Louis 32-29 win against New York on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome combined with Minnesotas 21-18 loss to Washington put the Rams in the playoffs as the fifth seed. They will travel to Seattle for a wild card playoff game against the Seahawks at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Safety Adam Archuleta has been no stranger to misfortune this season. With a back injury ailing him all season, he has struggled to make the plays that often came as natural for him. Even against the Jets, Archuleta dropped an interception that could have sealed the game in regulation. "Its huge," Archuleta said of making the playoffs. "Especially after everything we have been through. This has been a hell of a year. Ups and downs and more downs, all of the adversity, we could have easily packed it in. We could easily have said ‘Hey, well play for next year, dont get hurt. But everybody kept playing. We stuck together and said were going to play the game for us and thats what we did." That is what the Rams did. For them, the adversity started before training camp even hit the dog days of summer. Early in training camp, the team was ravaged by injuries. Center Dave Wohlabaugh was forced to retire with a hip injury. Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy broke his foot. Right tackle Kyle Turley was placed on injured reserve because of a back injury. All of that led to many moves that forced roster movement all over the place. Losing Turley meant Grant Williams was set to be the starter at right tackle, but he couldnt move over until Orlando Pace returned from his contract stalemate. Andy McCollum moved back to center from left guard and St. Louis brought in Chris Dishman and brought back Tom Nütten to operate the left guard spot. That was just the beginning of the problems. Nütten and Dishman have been injured off and on, along with second-year lineman Scott Tercero, who was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. All told, the offensive line has started four different players at left guard and two at right tackle. Coach Mike Martz said the problems seemed to be never-ending. "Along the way there was so many things that happened to us," Martz said. "These young men have put forward resolve and resiliency. We have a lot of young players trying to learn how to play, we missed a lot of starters during the season and weve had a turnstile of offensive linemen through here." That revolving door on the offensive line was perhaps the biggest cause for concern for this years team, but make no mistake; there were other factors that appeared to be conspiring against the Rams. Take the adjustment to new defensive coordinator Larry Marmies scheme for instance. The group struggled for most of the season, ranking near the bottom in most every defensive category. Instead of giving up, though, the group battled back and finished a respectable 17th in the NFL in total defense. The special teams were and are no point of strength, either. That group has struggled more than any this year, having problems in every phase of the unit. Those problems are still in need of correcting, but the Rams must feel fortunate that they get another week to make those corrections. "I think each week our confidence is building," receiver Torry Holt said. "Winning breeds that confidence, it gives you that swagger, it gives you that momentum. I think we have got real good momentum going into postseason play. It will be up to us to patch up some things in the run game, as well as stopping the run as well as getting better. Really getting better on special teams and building on this momentum and seeing where we are." All of those problems would seem to be plenty for any team to deal with in one season. But not for this Rams team. On Dec. 19, before a game against Arizona, ESPNs Chris Mortensen reported that Martz would likely lose his job or resign at the end of the season if the team fails to win at the end of the season. That set off a whirlwind of speculation about Martzs job that certainly had to have some effect on the team. Once again, the Rams pressed on without worrying about what outside forces said. After Sundays win, running back Marshall Faulk made sure he let everyone know that he wants Martz to remain in St. Louis. When asked what the win meant to the team, Faulk sarcastically responded that it meant they would get to keep their coach. In reality, the consensus seems to be that Martzs job has never really been in doubt. "Everybodys been through something," Faulk said. "We know what weve been through, we know how far weve come and we just have to take these two wins that we have and take them into the playoffs and try to get something going." So, with the NFLs 2004 regular season in the books, the Rams find themselves in the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons and fourth in five under Martz. With as crazy and unpredictable as St. Louis has been this season, it is not the only team that has had a season like that. In fact, most of the teams in the NFC have gone through their share of problems. That means this years playoffs could be one of the most wide open the league has seen in recent years. "In the NFC, who knows whats going to happen," kicker Jeff Wilkins said moments after his game-winning field goal. "Were in and were going to try to take advantage of it."