With the game tied at 7-7, the Minnesota Vikings opened the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams with a 1st-and-10 from their own 35. Kirk Cousins picked up where he left off, finding Adam Thielen for a big gain to the Los Angeles 38-yard line for a huge gain. A pivotal moment came as the Vikings faced a 4th-and-1 from the Los Angeles 29 on the ensuing set of downs, and Cousins handled it himself with a quarterback sneak to gain the yardage needed.
A run by Dalvin Cook brought up another third down opportunity, this one a 3rd-and-2 from the Rams’ 19. Cousins dropped back to pass and a bunch of players had a chance to get their hands on it, but it fell incomplete. Dan Bailey came on for his first field goal attempt as a Viking, and he connected. . .with the right upright. AND THEN IT WENT THROUGH! The 37-yard field goal gave the Vikings the lead back at 10-7 with about ten minutes to go in the half.
Bailey’s kickoff went for a touchback, giving the Rams the ball at their own 25. After a run by Gurley, the Rams showed off their big-play chops, as Jared Goff dropped back to pass and floated a perfect pass into the hands of Cooper Kupp for a huge 70-yard touchdown pass with Anthony Barr in. . .well, I suppose it was technically “coverage.” Sam Ficken added the extra point, and the Rams were in the lead for the first time in the game at 14-10.
I’m about done with Anthony Barr, kids.
Ficken’s kickoff was good for another touchback, putting the Vikings at the 25 to start for the third time in three possessions. The Vikings got a huge play to start the drive, as Cousins found Stefon Diggs on a short pass that Diggs turned into a big 34-yard gain into Los Angeles territory at the 41. Cousins then hit a wide open Kyle Rudolph for 24 more yards into the Rams’ red zone at the 17. On the next play, Cousins found the Vikings’ newest touchdown machine, Aldrick Robinson, for a 17-yard score to give him his second of the night. Bailey connected on the extra point, and the Vikings took the lead back at 17-14.
Los Angeles started at their own 25 after another touchback, and there was some actual defense played as the Vikings forced the first three-and-out of the evening! Johnny Hekker came on to punt for the Rams, and the Vikings set up shop at their own 29 with just under seven minutes left in the half. The Vikings faced another third down right away, and could not convert as Cousins faced huge pressure from the Rams’ defense and had to throw it away. Matt Wile punted the ball away, and got a favorable roll to set the Rams up at their own 29-yard line.
The Rams converted a first down in a couple of plays, with Goff finding Kupp for an 11-yard gain after a missed tackle by Mackensie Alexander. Goff then found Robert Woods for a huge 36-yard gain into Minnesota territory at the 19-yard line. After that, Goff found Kupp once again, this time for a 19-yard score over both Trae Waynes and Mike Hughes. It was an absolutely perfect throw by Goff, and Sam Ficken connected on the extra point to give the Rams a 21-17 lead with just under four minutes left in the half.
Minnesota once again started at their own 25 after another touchback. They faced another third down, and Cousins found Thielen for a gain of eight to move the chains. A nice run by Latavius Murray was wiped out by a holding call on Pat Elflein just before the two-minute warning. A short pass to Diggs was snuffed out to make it 3rd-and-23, and a short pass to Murray didn’t get the needed yardage, forcing the Vikings to punt. Matt Wile’s punt was fair caught by Kupp at the Rams’ 27.
Xavier Rhodes was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the Rams’ first play from scrimmage after a catch by Kupp, and the Rams were quickly into Minnesota territory at the 47. On the very next play, Goff connected for his fourth scoring pass of the night, as Brandin Cooks got behind Trae Waynes for a 47-yard score. Ficken added the extra point, and the Rams extended their lead to 28-17.
Minnesota started out at their own 25 after another touchback with 1:26 on the clock and three timeouts. The Vikings marched into Rams’ territory to the 39-yard line, where they faced a 3rd-and-4. A short pass to Diggs made it 4th-and-inches, and Cousins converted their second 4th-and-short of the night with another sneak. A pass to Rudolph got the ball to the Rams’ 21, and the Vikings were forced to call their last timeout. Dan Bailey came on to attempt a 39-yard field goal, and he connected to make it 28-20 as we go into the locker room at halftime.
Cousins has been hot in this one, completing 25-of-32 passes for 255 yards and two scores. Jared Goff, unfortunately, has been even hotter, as he went 13-for-17 for 251 yards and four touchdowns.
The Rams will get the ball first to start the second half of play, so the Vikings are going to have to get a stop. At halftime, we have a shootout, as the Vikings trail the Rams by a score of 28-20.