Story of the game, missed opportunities - Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
The St. Louis Rams didn't win this week against the Vikings. Maybe they should have, but as the case has been this year they beat themselves up for much of the game. Let's look at the key factors and how the Rams did.
The St. Louis Rams choked against the Minnesota Vikings. There's no other way around it. Sam Bradford threw a pick-six, Bradford fumbled on our side of the field which resulted in points, and there was the 82 yard touchdown run by Peterson. There was no way this team was going to put up 30+ points, but they did make the game closer 33-22.
The worse part of this lost, was the fact that it happened at home, not only that, but although the Rams could still go to the playoffs (yes they can still go), it doesn't look likely this season.
Let's look back, and see how the Rams handled the 5 keys of the game.
Establishing the run with Steven Jackson
The Rams tried to establish the run with Jackson, and it worked. But the game got out of hand too quickly to keep the ball on the ground. It's hard to keep running the ball when you're down 30-7 going into the half. The defense knows you will have to pass to get back into the game.
Jackson did have a good day running for 73 yards on 13 carries, it's just a shame that the Rams offense had to face an uphill battle, for much of the game, or he could have rushed for a 100 yards and the game could have been won by the Rams.
Stopping the incredible Adrian Peterson
It's hard to shut down a beast, and the Rams couldn't even keep one in the shed. Adrian Peterson continued his mission to surpass Eric Dickerson's rushing yards in one season mark. The Rams held him in check for much of the game, but two big runs made the defense look silly as he ran for 212 yards.
The first run was an 82 yards down the middle, breaking tackles, and jogging down the field, while quite possibly talking on the phone. The second run was a little more difficult, This time he actually had to bounce to the outside when it looked like he would be stuffed in the backfield, but luckily it wasn't for a touchdown, just a 50+ yard run that resulted in the Vikings kicking a field goal and going up 14 points in the late stages of the 4th quarter. Besides that run, the later big run, they stopped him from running outside though.
The Rams need to pressure Christian Ponder into mistakes
Ponder didn't have an easy day, but he didn't last week against the Bears when the Vikings won. Ponder only threw for 131 yards, and didn't throw a touchdown or an interception. He was the definition of an game manager. But that's all he had to do with Peterson in the backfield.
Oh and although he didn't move much in the pocket, he did scramble for the first down.
I noticed in the last two games when he felt pressure he didn't take the sack. Instead, he forced the ball into coverage, or he tried to scramble for yards. He's more mobile then you would think, so the Rams should watch out. -Tevin
The Rams pressured Ponder, and he did throw some quick passes, but although they kept him in check, which was to be expected, they didn't force him into making turnovers. Part of the reason was because the Vikings didn't need him to make THE throws to be beat the Rams.
Sam Bradford needs to be more mobile then usual this week.
The offensive line got their ass handed to them this week. When they weren't getting beat up, they were forced to jump offsides. Rodger Saffold couldn't handle Jared Allen, and Berry Richardson couldn't handle any play in the opposing team uniform(as usual), Harvey Dahl ended up injured, and I have to watch Scott Wells and Robert Turner again, but I wouldn't say they had great games.
Sam Bradford got sacked 4 times, but I tried to warn him.
"The Vikings have the tendency to crash the pocket around the QB. In the Packers game, Aaron Rodgers had to scramble to buy time and to avoid from being crushed in the 2nd half. During the Bears game the rush was so bad that it forced two interceptions, and multiple passes that were close." -Tevin
Sam had a pretty bad game, but if he moved around and bought time, the Rams offense could have generated some points, and maybe some guys would have gotten open. He doesn't have to always scramble, but buy some time for your receivers young fella.
Please be healthy Danny Amendola
Danny Amendola did his disappearing act this week, coming off an injury I didn't expect much from him. He did catch a couple of first downs and a touchdown this week though. He shouldn't have been the main option, and I don't think he was.
I know the Rams were hoping for Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens to show up. Gibson did have 6 catches for 76 yards, but Chris Givens only had one catch, but should have gotten a long touchdown if Bradford could have thrown it to him better.