The drive we were waiting for. I don’t think I’m the only one who was hoping and praying that the Rams would come out and drive the length of the field and score for the win. If you’ve ever been in a game thread when the Rams have a chance to win the game (or hold onto the win), you’ve probably heard me say, "this is it, you’ll have the win if you want it enough."
Since breakdowns are all the rage now, and I really want in on the fun, I’m going to walk you through the final, game-winning drive.
Right off the bat, the Rams come out with Sam in the gun. One thing I liked about this play, watching it again, is that Sam never looks to Richardson as the check down. He has a good pocket, keeps his eyes forward and throws it Matt Mulligan.
The result isn’t exactly pretty, as you can sort of see below. To say Mulligan was blanketed would put it kindly, but the Bills pretty much had this locked down. Kelvin Sheppard knocks down the ball, and it’s second down. Of note, Rodger Saffold checks back in after this play.
The next play is a run, and a good one. Guess which two players seal the deal? Lance Kendricks and Rodger Saffold. (I tried to stop the video at the perfect moment, and I’m guessing from the picture below you can guess what happens):
Jackson picks up nine yards, and the Rams are looking at a very manageable third and one. Guess what is coming? The Predator. Guess who helps out on the crucial block that allows Jackson to pick up the conversion? Lance Kendricks.
Take a look at the line before Kendricks hit his block. It’s going to be close:
But then, it all comes together. Kendricks helps out Mulligan on the outside, while Robert Turner holds his block long enough for Jackson to sneak through the opening.
Yeah, and people say Kendricks doesn’t do anything. That’s cute. Jackson picks up about 6 on the play. That brings up a new set of downs, and it’s now 1st and 10 at the Rams 32 yard line with just under 3:30 left in the game.
Bradford is under center and he’s going to throw it to Gibson, up top. Yes folks, Brian Quick is visible.
Gibson absolutely smokes the DB on a double move, which is hard to see in the picture and gets a little separation
Bradford throws it up on Gibson’s outside shoulder, as you can see here:
Gibson grabs the ball, but can’t hold onto it. This is a catch Gibson should have made, but to his credit, it would’ve been a pretty good one. It’s a bit high and behind on Bradford’s part, but it is definitely a catchable ball. Missed opportunity.
So it’s second and ten, and once again Bradford is back in the gun:
We gave the offensive line a lot of shit, and frankly, they deserved it. They pulled it together on this drive though, and Sam again has time in the pocket to make a throw:
Guess what? Sam Bradford nails it. Lance Kendricks makes a great catch in between defenders for a huge gain that brings them just past midfield:
That’s my boy! After the catch, the Rams are at the Buffalo 46 with around 2:45 left in the game. Bradford is under center, kills the play for a run:
You’re going to hate me for saying this, but this is the play that the Rams drafted Isaiah Pead for. If Jackson could cut it outside on the left, he might have a chance to a suitable 3-5 yard gain:
Jackson unfortunately gains nothing, and it’s second and ten with enough time for one more play before the two minute warning. Mike Martz tells us all that the Rams would prefer to score with no time left on the clock to win the game. No shit Mike.
Bradford is back in the gun:
Bradford notices that no one is open downfield, so he dumps it off to Jackson. Look at all that wide, open space:
Jackson couldn’t beat the linebacker, but he does pick up nine yards. Nobody is anywhere near him when he goes down, but once again, it creates a manageable third and short. This brings us to the two minute warning.
Bradford is under center, and this is where our sphincters start to pucker. He stares down his man and George Wilson will blame the rain here for not ending the game:
Let’s be honest guys: If Wilson catches that ball, it’s going for six:
Alright, it’s fourth and one. The game is on the line here. Bradford is under center again. No illegal formations, no illegal formations…
Bradford throws to Pettis, who looks more open than he appears to be because the Bills DB puts on his best Craig Dahl impression and takes a terrible angle:
I don’t think you fully realize how much Austin Pettis saved the Rams’ collective asses until you see it from this angle:
It’s windy, it’s rainy and it’s freezing- in Buffalo. This goes down as one of the best catches of the season for the Rams. Austin Pettis, we salute you!
The Rams don’t take a timeout and get a fresh set of downs with a minute and a half to go. Mike Martz is furiously scribbling notes between words- no timeouts? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!? Bradford is in the gun again:
The pocket starts to collapse, but to Bradford’s credit, he hangs in there and goes for ice pick in the heart:
It sails way (and I mean waay, bro, waaaay) over Givens head; but he was double covered anyway, and nobody else was open. Heads up by Bradford to stop the clock without using a timeout. It’s 1st down and it’s four down territory. Smart.
So we are at second down, Bradford in the shotgun, again:
How is your sphincter? Still tight? Bradford throws into double coverage, and once again nearly ends the game:
As an aside, I’m not sure if Bradford has total faith in Kendricks, or was thinking, "hey, he catches the ball sometimes, right?" because his one pick of the day was also to Kendricks with tight double coverage. A smarter play would have been to throw it to Givens, who was open (I know it doesn’t look that way in the picture), but hey, we all know how this ends.
3rd and 10. One minute left, and we’re going back to Bradford in the gun:
Bradford redeems himself here, staying the pocket, taking a hit and delivering a great pass to Brandon Gibson, who shakes his man and runs out of bounds:
FIST PUMP! Its first down, the clock is stopped, and the Rams still haven’t used a single timeout. Jackson runs out wide, leaving Sam alone in the gun:
Bradford throws, but it’s tipped at the line by Marcell Dareus and falls incomplete. Second and ten:
SPOILER ALERT: When you have time to throw, shit has a tendency get real:
CASH MONEY BABY! Bradford throws a great pass to Gibson for a score...and there was much rejoicing:
You thought I was done? Please. Its two point conversion time, friend:
Mike Martz explains that with the successful two point conversion, they are up by three. Go figure! that’s the same as a field goal! I think he’s still amazed they never took a timeout.
The rest, as they say, is history.