To win games in the NFL, teams need to get big plays from their big players. When you have a six-game winning streak like the Vikings currently do, those plays are magnified.
While Sunday's game was 60 minutes, it was a span of seven minutes, 30 seconds that made the difference in the contest and created the Turning Point of the Game. Despite dominating much of the early action, with 10:42 to play in the third quarter, the game was tied 13-13 and any momentum the Vikings had was long since gone. It was time for the team to step up and run away with the game.
The offense, which had been stymied since midway through the first quarter, came to life with a pair of big pass plays – a 15-yarder to Koren Robinson and a 49-yard bomb to Marcus Robinson. The second pass would be M-Rob's only reception of the game, but it couldn't have come at a bigger time. With the ball on the Rams 13-yard line, the team went to the ground – where Michael Bennett finished off the drive with runs of six and seven yards for a touchdown and a 20-13 lead with 8:05 to play.
The special teams did its part as Antoine Winfield put a lick on Rams kick returner David Allen to bring him down after a 19-yard kickoff return. With the Rams working with a long field, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick needed to make a big play of his own. On a pass intended for Isaac Bruce, the veteran fell making an adjustment to the ball and it was intercepted by Brian Williams, who returned it to the St. Louis 21, where he fumbled, but an alert Pat Williams flopped on the ball to keep the ball in the Vikings' possession.
Smelling blood, the Vikings offense again found a way to finish the deal after the turnover. A pair of runs by rookie Ciatrick Fason – the latter being a one-yard touchdown – gave the Vikings a 27-13 lead that would prove to be the game's final points.
"The two things when you look at it are the two scoring drives that they had," Rams safety Adam Archuleta said. "We had them backed up in their territory, but we allowed long drives. You can say what you want, but when they scored their points we had them in good field position."
There were big moments in the 35 minutes that preceded the 14-point scoring burst and plenty in the 18 minutes that followed, but it was the span of seven-and-a-half minutes in the third quarter that turned a tight game into a blowout and, in a must-win game for the Vikings to strengthen their playoff hopes, made for the Turning Point of the Game.
Turning Point: Second-Half Drives
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