With the St. Louis Rams eliminated from the playoff picture, Sunday’s melt down was indicative of a young team that still has a long way to go in building their championship foundation. The NFL’s leading rusher Adrian Peterson displayed his talents by rushing for 212 yards on 24 attempts against the Rams.
The Rams’ defense started out stout with a new look– aligning three defensive tackles over the Vikings’ center and both guards—and held Peterson to minus three yards on his first five touches and bottled AD (Petersons nickname All Day) up in the first quarter yielding 8 carries for only 8 yards.
The offense sputtered badly in the first half, but this has been the norm for most of the season while the defense carried them. So your no longer in the playoff hunt, now what?
With two games remaining and nothing to play for, pride matters! This is when you find out what kind of character is in the locker room, who still has a ton of heart, desire and fight. Coach Fisher put it best when asked about the remaining two games both on the road, he replied, “We’re going to play and play hard and finish up strong. We’re going to come back and practice and get ready to win the next ball game. So, that’s our approach. We’ve got a good thing going in that locker room and we’re going to continue with it.”
The bottom line is this team is not good enough to overcome several offensive mistakes, the two turnovers (fumble and pick six) and they stopped feeding SJ39. He was punishing a Viking defense that had no answer against the Rams’ best offensive weapon. Despite 21 total touches for 146 all-purpose yards, he was limited to 13 total rushes and was found standing on the sideline in several critical situations (two minute drill and no huddle offense). When you need one yard and your 235 pound Pro Bowl running back is on the sideline holding his helmet, that’s very interesting!
While I was shaking my head about Sunday afternoon’s Rams vs. Vikings game and gathering my thoughts well into Monday morning, I reflected and realized I had witnessed something special–football moments that only come once or twice in a football fans life time. Two future Pro Football Hall of Fame running backs went head to head and put on a show yesterday. The Vikings’ Peterson slashed through the Rams defense, stringing together multiple cuts on a single run and showing no ill effects of his surgical knee (ACL) with long runs weaving thru traffic creating separation with burst and acceleration to finish each and every play falling forward. The Rams’ Jackson displayed a powerful and explosive inside running style, great pad level, leg drive to get great yards after contact, feet to bounce to open space, along with versatility to catch the ball with run after catch skills.
Have they started human cloning yet? Can you imagine cross sectioning cells and cloning Peterson and Jackson, the landscape of the NFL running back would change forever.