posted on December 17, 2012 09:24
If you were hoping for the Rams' first four-game winning streak since 2003, the Minnesota Vikings are sorry to disappoint you. Ironically, win No. four in the '03 streak came against the Vikings in a 48-17 shellacking.
History wasn't meant to be repeated, unfortunately.
School is in session ... let's talk about what we learned in the Rams 36-22 defeat at the hands of Minnesota in Week 15.
1. THE RAMS NEED TO FORCE TURNOVERS TO WIN GAMES
During a five game stretch in the middle of the season, the Rams failed to force a turnover on defense and failed to win a game in the process (0-4-1). On Sunday, the Rams failed to force a turnover and got trounced.
The Rams and Sam Bradford turned the ball over twice resulting in 10 points for the Vikings. A Bradford fumble led to a field goal and a Bradford interception was converted into a touchdown by Everson Griffen. Bradford's fumble was credited to center Scott Wells, but the replay showed the snap was good and Bradford simply mis-handled it.
2. STEVEN JACKSON'S 10,000 YARD MILESTONE WAS POETIC
Poetic in the sense that it would figure Jackson would become just the 27th player in history to reach 10,000 rushing yards on a day when the Rams were thoroughly outplayed and beaten. Good health withstanding in the final two weeks, Jackson will notch his 8th straight 1,000 yard season.
Hopefully the Rams will reach a mutual agreement to keep SJ39 around. He wants to retire with the Rams and wants to win with the Rams. The city and community, the fans and the organization have been fortunate to have him for the last nine years.
3. THE RAMS CURIOUSLY AVOIDED RUNNING WITH STEVEN JACKSON
Jackson accumulated 34 yards on four carries in the first quarter. In the second quarter, he rushed for nine yards on three carries.
That's a total of seven carries for 43 yards in the first half. In the final two frames, Jackson carried six times for 30 yards. His 13 carries for 73 yards were eerily similar to his 13 carries for 81 in the team's Week 11 loss against the Jets.
And now rumors are circulating that the man calling the offensive plays, Brian Schottenheimer, is a head coaching candidate.
4. PENALTIES. DAMN PENALTIES
The Rams had eight penalties for 47 yards, which included a hold that negated a long punt return for Danny Amendola. The Rams also missed opportunities. One play before Sam Bradford threw an INT to Everson Griffen for a touchdown, Bradford missed a wide open Brandon Gibson for a first down.
It wasn't a good day for Bradford even though the box score indicates a career day passing for 377 yards and three touchdowns. He was assaulted early and it seemed to rattle him to the point of throwing high, wide and over his intended targets.
In the end, this game was similar to the loss to the Jets. Both the Vikings and Jets aren't flashy, are built on ground-and-pound running and both had their way at the Edward Jones Dome.
5. BLAIR WALSH > LEGATRON (ON THIS DAY)
In the battle of rookie kickers, Blair Walsh dominated Greg Zuerlein. Walsh was 5/5, which included 3/3 from 50 and beyond. In the process, he tied Zuerlein for most 50 yard field goals this season. Zuerlein missed from 57 and wasn't heard from again give or take two extra points.
6. ADRIAN PETERSON IS A FREAKING ANIMAL
What more needs to be said? How about some historical context for AP's greatness?
Peterson will likely enter the record books as just the fourth player in NFL history to average more than 6.0 YPA over the long haul of a season (250+ rushing attempts), joining three of the greatest ball carriers in history.
Jim Brown 1963 – 291 attempts, 1,863 yards, 6.40 YPA, 12 TD
Adrian Peterson 2012 – 289 attempts, 1,812 yards, 6.34 YPA, 11 TD
Barry Sanders 1997 – 335 attempts, 2,053 yards, 6.13 YPA, 11 TD
O.J. Simpson 1973 – 332 attempts, 2,003 yards, 6.03 YPA, 12 TD
He’s essentially matched the greatest running back of all time in his greatest season. Here’s how AP 2012 stacks up right now with Jim Brown 1963 – each with 14 games under their belts.
Jim Brown 1963: 291 attempts, 1,863 yards, 6.40 YPA, 12 TD
Adrian Peterson 2012: 289 attempts, 1,812 yards, 6.34 YPA, 11 TD
Peterson, of course, has quite a milestone well within his reach. He is 293 yards shy of matching Eric Dickerson’s single season record (2,105 yards) set with the Rams back in 1984.
AP is also the 20th player in NFL history to top 1,800 yards in a season, currently sitting at No. 19 with two games to play, just behind LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006 (1,815 yards) and Dickerson in 1983 (1,808).
When everyone in the building and everyone watching at home knows Adrian Peterson is the lone offensive cog on the Vikings, it's even more impressive that he's doing what he's doing.
On a smaller, more spread-out scale, it's kind of like Steven Jackson rushing for 10,000 yards for a franchise that has won 21 times over a span of 94 games.