Today the St. Louis Rams squared off for their home finale against the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams hoped to keep their name in the playoff-hunt hat. The Vikings rolled into St. Louis with a big win over the Chicago Bears, while the Rams squeaked out a last minute win against the Buffalo Bills. The game would feature opposing coaches who both played for the 1985 Super Bowl winning Chicago Bears, and two of the premiere running backs in the league- Adrian Peterson and Steven Jackson.
While we know the result, what was the turning point in the game?
Pointing to a specific play, we have to go with Adrian Peterson ripping off an 82 yard run with 12:29 to go in the 2nd quarter. The score came after a brilliant drive by Sam Bradford and company, capped off by a jump ball in the end-zone to the rookie out of Appalachian State- Brian Quick. The Vikings answered with Peterson jetting down the middle of the field on the very first play of the drive. Up till that point, Peterson had only 8 yards on 8 carries.
Momentum -there goes that word again- would stay in Minnesota's favor for the remainder of the half. On the answering drive after Peterson's rumble, Sam Bradford would be confused by the 2 Deep Zone look, and throw a perfect strike into the arms of #97, Everson Griffin for a pick 6. The Rams would try to respond, but the score allowed the Vikings to dictate coverages on defense, and wiped out the run dimension for the Rams. We all know what happens when a team has no choice but to pass the ball, the defense rushes the quarterback freely, and plays it loose in the secondary. Garbage time came early for the Vikings, which allowed Adrian Peterson to add to his total yardage for his potential record breaking season and the Rams to tack on a few pride saving scores. The Rams allowed a 100 yard rusher for only the third time this season. Peterson overshadowed even Steven Jackson's crossing the threshold of 10,000 yards- for which the crowd at the Ed gave him a standing ovation. Jackson became only the 27th player in NFL history to reach that mark.
Momentum is a tricky and fickle beast, and today the Minnesota Vikings got the most out of her. Perhaps this is just the homer in me, but the Rams had the superior team coming into this game, they just didn't show up to play when it mattered. This game could easily have been won by the blue and gold. With the St. Louis Rams falling to 6-7-1 for the year, their playoff hopes are surely over. On the bright side Rams fans can relax for the rest of the season, knowing that the future is very bright for this team. After all, would you have guessed the Rams would be this good this fast? Hey, we've got two first round picks in the draft baby!