Rams overcome Stafford’s 3 picks to win 30-23 over Vikings – CBS Los Angeles
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Justin Jefferson said he could sense a lack of energy in his Minnesota Vikings teammates as he stepped into the locker room on Sunday morning, and the sentiment continued into a lackluster first quarter.
Stalling near the goal line only exacerbated the Vikings’ problem against the Los Angeles Rams.
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“I was trying to pick up the guys and stuff, but I still got out slowly, still didn’t get the energy out that we needed, especially with this type of team,” Jefferson said.
Kirk Cousins threw his first red zone interception of the season during Minnesota’s first practice in Los Angeles Territory, and the Vikings had just two touchdowns in five trips inside the line. 20 yards in Sunday’s 30-23 loss.
The loss knocked Minnesota out of their playoff position and further complicated the situation for the Vikings (7-8), who will need help even if they win their last two games. The Rams, on the other hand, are tied to the playoffs.
Cousins and his offense were fortunate enough to pull the team out of the doldrums on their second possession. They traveled 84 yards all the way to the Rams’ 8. Then Cousins’ pass to KJ Osborn at the goal line slipped out of the catcher’s hands and was intercepted in the end zone by Travin Howard.
“In this league, it just tends to hurt you when you’re not scoring a touchdown and you’re just going for goals on the field,” Cousins said.
Only one of Minnesota’s first nine possessions exceeded 15 yards.
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Minnesota forced three interceptions from Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, including two that gave the Vikings the ball in the red zone.
“Of course, we definitely gave up (defense),” Jefferson said. “I felt like they played a great game, especially with those three turnovers. We have to find a way to get into the end zone, score, score points on the board, and it will be a different game if we do that.
After linebacker Anthony Barr made his first interception, Minnesota had the ball on the 11-yard line. Cousins was sacked in the first game and the Vikings settled for a field goal to bring the score to 10-3.
The second interception, by Xavier Woods, was followed by a six-game, 11-yard drive and punt.
After Barr’s second interception on a downed pass early in the third quarter, Alexander Mattison scored a 2-yard touchdown on the first game after the turnover.
“When you get interceptions and turnovers you want to score,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “I don’t know if it’s complementary football or not, but it wasn’t good enough today.”
At the end of the third quarter, Minnesota covered 83 yards and scored the first and the goal at the 9-yard line. Cousins threw a 5-yard pass to Osborn, Mattison was stopped by Aaron Donald for a 2-yard loss, and Cousins’ third pass to Mattison was incomplete – and well below the end zone.
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“I think we should be more aggressive when we go down there, as soon as we get down there,” said Jefferson, who broke Odell Beckham Jr.’s record for receiving yards in the first two seasons of a player in the NFL with 2,851 yards. “But I’m not the one calling the coins. I’m just here to do my job and do as I’m told. But we can’t go down to the red zone that many times and come out with three points. “