It was cold, it was dreary, it was downright abysmal. And don't even get me started on the weather.
For the better part of four quarters, the St. Louis Rams offense yielded about as much excitement and energy as a used napkin. Yet, against the Buffalo Bills, with the help of a tireless defense, they once again did just enough to hold - or steal - the victory. In fact, the way that it all went down, no one saw it coming.
With Danny Amendola still sidelined with a foot injury, Sam Bradford was left with seemingly no viable targets down-field, and Buffalo's previously susceptible run defense held Steven Jackson in check all afternoon. It seemed everything in the Rams' arsenal, be it the long bomb to Chris Givens or a quick out to the slot, was answered by the Bills' defense and a resounding roar of a starving Buffalo fan base.
It didn't look good.
Rams rally for 15-12 win - Somehow, a mystery to me still, St. Louis pulled an astonishing turnaround with merely minutes remaining in the ball game. Appearing destined for a brutal loss with a 7 point total to show for it, the offense took the field for one final drive, marching 84 yards for the touchdown and the win. I swear, the clouds dissipated and the sun gleamed for the only time on the day. Or maybe I took too many hail stones to the head.
If a fourth-quarter comeback that stretched nearly the length of the field wasn't enough, Austin Pettis, Lance Kendricks and Brandon Gibson each made huge contributing catches in Amendola's absence. Pettis saved the drive with a difficult catch on a ball that was thrown behind him on fourth-down, while Gibson had a career day with 100 total yards and the game-winning touchdown.
What may have made the build-up and outcome of this game so difficult to believe are some of the numbers. Few - if anyone - would have predicted a victory yesterday in which both Chris Givens and Daryl Richardson combined for 7 touchdowns and 26 yards. On the other hand, even less could have foreseen the Rams committing only 3 - THREE - penalties, with one being declined. No infractions occurred on the offensive side of the ball.
Rams report card - Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick may have an Ivy League degree, but it was the Rams defense who graded best on this day. Each member of the starting front-4 recorded a sack, while Michael Brockers also forced a Fred Jackson fumble. James Laurinaitis recovered said fumble and Jo-Lonn Dunbar caught an interception to close out the game.
Once the offense starts scoring points and allows the defense to get rested on the sideline, there's no telling how good this unit can be.
Rookie punter Johnny Hekker, though usually very effective, continues to make fans' hearts skip a beat - this time botching a snap and nearly giving the Bills the ball back in their own territory to open the final period.
Mike Sando's wrap-up - In short, the Rams became only the second team 2012 to be shut out by the Buffalo Bills in the first half. The first was the 2-11 Kansas City Chiefs in week 2. That's not an appealing statistic.
Gibson sparks offense - As mentioned above, the greatest enigma to hit the Rams locker room in years - Brandon Gibson - had a career day, catching 6 passes for 100 yards and a score. Has he shown enough save his roster spot for next season? He certainly needs to continue his development.
Keys to the game answered - One of the biggest concerns for Jeff Fisher & Co. heading into Buffalo had to include ways to stop the Bills' dynamic pair of running backs, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. It's unlikely that game plan was to hold the duo to 16 total carries, but if it works, it works. Former Pro Bowl safety Jarius Byrd barely made an impact.
Bradford shows elite ability on game-winning drive - Sam Bradford continues to be one of the best quarterbacks in football in the fourth-quarter. His 22-yard completion to Kendricks to cross mid-field was a perfect dart into decent coverage.
Game Center from NFL.com - Relive the highlight(s) and statistics from St. Louis' third consecutive win. If you're keeping track at home, Steven Jackson needs 164 more rushing yards to reach his eighth 1,000 yard total.
Jeff Fisher "sure" kickoff issues will be addressed - Debates over rule changes toward kickoffs are tired and overdone, but they won't go away. It's possible that the play could be eliminated completely from the NFL, changing the game forever. Jeff Fisher, an active member of the Competition Committee, believes further discussion on the subject is inevitable.
Bills squander late lead - Why not have at the perspective from the opposing sideline? Buffalo fans are not pleased with their head coach, Chan Gailey, for many reasons after falling to their eight defeat, particularly his unwillingness to utilize the prolific C.J. Spiller. Here is the post-game thread from Buffalo Rumblings, SB Nation's Bills community. Should you venture through the comments, please be respectful. No one likes a sore winner.