Wide receiver has 23 catches in last two games

Updated: October 15, 2003, 6:47 PM ET
ESPN

ST. LOUIS -- Earlier this season, Isaac Bruce set the Rams' career receptions record. It's a good thing he's not close to retirement, the way teammate Torry Holt is piling up catches.

Holt has been in double figures the last two games. He caught 11 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns in Monday night's 36-0 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, following up a career-best 12 catches for 133 yards against the Cardinals.

For the year, he already has three 100-yard receiving games and he's scored five touchdowns, one more than all last season.

"He is outrageous right now," coach Mike Martz said.

Holt leads the NFC and his 41 receptions puts him in a three-way tie for the NFL lead with Marvin Harrison of the Colts and Hines Ward of the Steelers.

Holt signed a new seven-year, $42 million contract in July, just before the start of training camp. He had been about to enter the final season of a five-year, $10 million deal he signed as a rookie first-round pick.

"I think so much of it is that he knows he's going to be here for quite some time," Martz said. "I think he realizes that we all feel like he is going to be here and finish his career like Isaac."

Bruce, who joined the Rams as a second-round pick in 1994, is a big reason for Holt's big year. Opposing defenses can only double-team one wide receiver, and that's often been Bruce.

Plus, the rebuilt offensive line has been airtight with only one sack allowed in three games. Quarterback Marc Bulger was rarely even touched on Monday, giving Holt time to run his patterns.

"The line's giving me so much protection that you give Torry that much time to get open," Bulger said. "He's going to get open, it's as simple as that."

Both Holt and Bruce, who had four catches for 87 yards, were wide open a lot against the Falcons.

"Watching them on film, we felt we could have some success against them," Holt said. "We feel if we get one-on-one matchups, we have a great opportunity of winning."

Bruce, in his 10th season, has 646 career catches. Holt, in his fifth year, has 347. He's already fourth on the franchise reception list, passing Elroy Hirsch and the injured Marshall Faulk on Monday, and he's fifth on the franchise receiving yards list.

Bruce helped Holt with a 35-yard pass on an end around in the first half. The two had been having a lot of success on the play a lot in practice.

"Ike told me before the play, I'm going to throw it toward the sideline because the safety was deep," Holt said. "He put it right where he said he was to put it."

Holt has a good head start on his fourth straight 1,000-yard receiving season, with 537 yards thus far. The way he's going, he could challenge his career best for catches (91 last year) and yards (1,635 in 2000).

He credits better preparation for his start.

"I am paying close attention to details and picking up defenses and knowing what's going to happen before the ball is snapped to give myself a chance to be successful," Holt said. "As far as my work ethic, I'm still going out and working hard."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index