Turnovers. Impotent offensive drives. Adrian Peterson. These three factors where to blame for the St. Louis Rams' 36-22 home lose versus the Minnesota Vikings.
All seemed to align perfectly in the second quarter, starting off with a Peterson 82-yard touchdown, giving the Vikings a 14-7 lead. A botched snap exchange in the following drive gave Minnesota the ball back, ending up in three more points. And if that wasn't bad enough, an interception returned for a touchdown by DE Everson Griffen gave the Vikings a 24-7 half time lead.
On the bright side, Sam Bradford thew for a season-high 377 yards and three touchdowns – one of them a 4-yard connection with Brian Quick.
Here are your five players to watch, revisited:
DT Michael Brockers
Brockers and the defensive line started off well. They group held Peterson to eight yards on eight carries in the first quarter.Backup DE William Hayes proved to be crucial again, getting to Peterson behind the line twice for -4 yards. Things were looking good, until 'AD' broke off that long touchdown. After that, the defense relatively contained him – meaning they didn't give up big runs – until he rumbled for a 52 yard rush in the fourth quarter.
All in all, Peterson's big plays helped him surpass the 200-yard rushing mark (212 yards).
LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar
The linebackers' play mediocre, given that I included them because they needed to help slow down Peterson. On Adrian's 82-yard touchdown run, the linebackers were blitzing and they bit hard. Peterson then took it back outside and burned everyone. As far as Dunbar's production goes, He had six tackles, three of them coming behind the line of scrimmage. Jo-Lonn was also credited with a quarterback hit.
LT Rodger Saffold
Saffold had his hands full with Jared Allen. Allen did not record any sacks, but he forced Rodger to commit offensive penalties. Pressure, however, came from the right side and the interior. Left DE Brian Robison got a sack. Defensive tackle Chris Ballard also registered a sack.
SJ gained enough yards (73) to reach the 10,000 career mark. Jackson also led the team with eight catches for 73 yards, giving him 146 total yards. Steven had a good day running the ball, but when you are playing catch up, it is hard to accrue carries.
WR Brandon Gibson
Gibson's performance was solid. He had six catches for 76 yards. Two of those catches were clutch on Quick's touchdown drive.
The other receiving options came through today, though. Danny Amendola was back in action and had six catches, 58 yards and a touchdown. Pettis also had a solid game: 55 yards on five catches.