Little else is more effective for the Los Angeles Rams than 45-Power or 49-Pitch.
Those are the plays that sent running back Eric Dickerson striding down the yellow brick road for touchdowns in a 20-0 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC semifinal Saturday at Anaheim Stadium.
Today, the Rams discovered that next Sunday at Chicago's Soldier Field, they will play the Bears for rights to the Super Bowl.
Of course, after Dickerson had run for a league-record 248 yards on 34 carries, he nodded at Coach John Robinson in a postgame news conference and said, "John has a way of instilling in a running back that we are invincible, (that) nobody can stop us."
Then, Dickerson spoke for the team as a whole: "My previous two years, I didn't think we were strong enough to go all the way. Now I think we are. Our chances are good against either the Giants or the Bears."
Take a close look at the modus operandi of the Rams' offense. Look slightly familiar? How about the Redskins' in their Super Bowl gravy days of 1982 and 1983?
The Rams' passing game isn't nearly as potent as the Theismann-to-Monk/Brown operation two and three years ago, and the Rams' runs aren't designed quite the same as John Riggins' 50-Gut barrels between left guard and left tackle, but the Rams' basic philosophy is nearly the same:
Run it till they drop. Thirty times will bend them. Forty will make them break. Now just let your defense cause turnovers and your special teams get you field position. At worst, it will get you as far as the first weekend in January.
One of the first things Robinson said after Dickerson's day of records against Dallas was: "If ever there was a win that would be a mistake to tear apart into sections, this is it."
Translation: Get off Dieter Brock's back, everybody. Robinson has had to play lead blocker all season for Brock and his passing game.
Brock completed just six of 22 passes for 50 yards against Dallas. There were a couple of dropped passes, and Brock did tear a tendon on his left (non-throwing) ring finger late in the second quarter. He didn't miss a snap, though, and a Rams official termed the injury "minor."
Still, for the most part, Brock provided deficient quarterbacking Saturday. Brock, 34, had good protection and missed open receivers. He had at least three passes batted down at the line, which might be a result of being a 5-foot-11 passer with limited mobility and a sidearm release.
His performance left some wondering whether, when the Rams got Brock from Canada this year, they were thinking about installing the wishbone and thought they were getting Lou Brock.
The Rams ran on 41 of 64 plays Saturday, which is 64 percent. Those are perfect numbers to coaches such as Robinson and Joe Gibbs.
But if you ask Rams receiver Henry Ellard what might happen if the Rams duplicate their 27 percent completion rate against the Bears on Sunday, he says, "If we do, we'll run into trouble."
Ellard also said of the Rams' 20-0 flogging of Dallas: "It was a good thing we didn't have to rely on passing. . . . (But) if running between the tackles works, you go with it."
Said Robinson, "Our passing game was not as successful as we liked. We had some drops, but we mixed it up and gave them enough things that we kept them off balance. Our basic premise was to try to physically dominate them on the ground and try to stay out of the nickel (five defensive backs) environment as much as we could. We haven't been successful in that area."
Dickerson had five games this season in which he ran for 100 yards or more. "The biggest gift Eric Dickerson can give me," said guard Dennis Harrah, "is just having him running behind me."
Tackle Jackie Slater added, "I can't think of a more beautiful sight then watching him break away."
Some believe that Dickerson, who missed training camp and the first two weeks of the season in a holdout, might now be better off for it. He's almost two months fresher than everybody else.
Dickerson ran for 150 yards in his first game back against Seattle but popped his hamstring the next week. That injury nagged him throughout this season. Now he seems in perfect health.
Which makes him just like the Rams defense. Cornerback Gary Green, who had one interception, said the shutout of the Cowboys was the Rams' best defensive performance of the season.
The Rams rushed only three players for the majority of the game and used eight for coverage and run support. Despite the limited number of pass-rushers, the Rams recorded five sacks of Danny White. They also rushed him into many of his 19 incompletions.
Green said the Rams played in a zone defense for all but two plays, and on those plays they used nickel-coverage blitzes.
"We can zone as well as anyone in the league," Green said. "Dallas likes to get the big one, and we took the big one away."
In the third quarter, with the Rams leading, 13-0, safety Johnnie Johnson said, "You sensed that we had things pretty much in control. They never did really get that close to scoring."
From that point, the Cowboys never penetrated the Rams' 20-yard line. Dallas averaged just three yards per run. White completed only slightly more than half of his passes and was intercepted three times.
Someone asked Rams center Tony Slaton if he had been watching the Bears this season. He said, "No. I don't have time to follow the Bears."
Reserve running back Charles White said, "Yeah. We've got enough problems of our own."