Brandon Powell's 61-yard house call lifts Rams over Vikings, 30-23
In a back and forth battle with many shifts in momentum, Sean McVay was able to improve his incredible record when leading at half time. After holding Minnesota to only a field goal in the first half, Minnesota was never able to reclaim a lead. McVay’s historic record sits at 45 wins now. He further extends his NFL record, which was achieved in their win against Houston earlier this season.
Despite never being able to reclaim their lead, Minnesota respectably battled all game. A slow start in the first half didn’t stop them from storming back and shifting momentum in their favor. That’s exactly what happened for them at the beginning of the third quarter. On their own 12-yard line, Matthew Stafford delivered a rifle, which was tipped up in the air by Dalvin Tomlinson. Anthony Barr carefully corralled the ball in, and set the Vikings up on their opponent’s 2 yard-line. Backup running back Alexander Mattison, eventually punched in the short score. As opposed to potentially being down more than ten, the Vikings found themselves within a field goal, with nearly two quarters left to play. If it weren’t for Anthony Barr’s two interceptions, the Vikings would’ve found themselves down by a lot more this contest. Minnesota’s defensive prowess still wasn’t enough to be victorious against L.A. Contributions from Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr., and unsung hero Brandon Powell, ultimately became the difference maker. Only a few minutes after the Barr-Mattison sequence, Brandon Powell took a 61-yard punt to the house, after clearing space for himself by the right hash. Incredibly, Powell’s housecall was one of only two punts brought back for a touchdown this year. In only a few minutes after losing it, the Rams got back momentum and maintained their lead. Powell’s play was certainly the most significant of this game. While Stafford had his season-high in picks (3), Cooper Kupp and OBJ were able to find success in the open field today. Kupp notched 109 yards on ten receptions, bringing him within 230 yards of Calvin Johnson’s all-time record. As if Kupp’s season couldn’t get any better, he broke a ridiculous record today. Cooper Kupp earned himself his 14th game of 90+ receiving yards, which hasn’t been achieved by any player in NFL history. Words can’t really describe how good the Eastern Washington product has been this season. Odell Beckham found his way into the end-zone, on a seven yard pass in the fourth quarter. To make matters worse for Minnesota, OBJ channelled Justin Jefferson’s “giddy” celebration in the end zone, while Jefferson watched from the sidelines. Kirk Cousins responded with a touchdown to K.J. Osbourne, but that was about all Minnesota had left in the tank. Los Angeles ended up securing the 30-23 victory. On top of Kupp and Beckham, Georgia running back Sony Michel also had himself a day. He trampled for 131 yards, which is a personal season-high. In usual fashion, Justin Jefferson was a bright spot, with the absence of Dalvin Cook. Jefferson accumulated 116 total yards, breaking OBJ’s record for most receiving yards in a player’s first two seasons. Jefferson is one of the top receivers in the league, at such a young age. He’ll be a force to reckon with for defenses throughout his career. McVay’s Rams lead the NFC West and head to Baltimore on a five game win streak. They’ve been one of the hottest teams in the NFC recently. With Arizona struggling, losing their last three (including one to Detroit, where they put up 12 total points), the Rams have an opportunity to attain their 13th division title. Minnesota on the other hand, falls back within the NFC Wild Card race with this loss. Mike Zimmer’s group has struggled to stay healthy and efficient. Dalvin Cook missed his fourth game this season, and Adam Thielen went down early in this game. Thielen was wrapped around his ankles and withered in pain, after a tackle that likely exacerbated a lingering ankle injury. The Vikings truly did all they could, but they were simply outmatched at the end of the day.