It was a weekend full of magical moments in football, both at the pro and college levels. From Auburn’s Chris Davis returning a missed field goal for a touchdown to beat #1 Alabama, to Peyton Manning picking apart the Kansas City Chiefs defense for the second time, to Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon becoming the first player in NFL history to have two straight 200+ yard receiving games, and everything in between, football once again became a staple of Thanksgiving Weekend.
And now, for the first time in school history, the Mizzou Tigers football team are heading to the SEC Title Game next week in Atlanta against Auburn. And they did it by taking down one of College Football’s most prolific QB’s in Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies.
The country was tuned in. A beautfiul Saturday night. The #1 ranked team in America was just dethroned by Auburn and the only team standing between Mizzou and a trip to the SEC Title game were the Aggies. Mizzou’s senior QB James Franklin, who was injured earlier in the season and missed a few games, played in arguably the biggest game of his career up to this point, and he did not disappoint. Franklin went 18/28 for 233 yards and two scores, while rushing 18 times for 80 yards.
Manziel Went 24/35 for 195 yards and a score, and was able to end the half with a touchdown lead. But starting with the 2nd half, Mizzou kicked it into high gear and started the third quarter with a Marcus Murphy 2-yard touchdown run to knot it at 14. The Tigers’ running game was too much for the Aggies, although A&M was already one of the worst in the nation when it came to run defense, allowing an average of 221 yards per game: Mizzou got 225.
In the fourth quarter, tied at 21, Henry Josey ran 57 yards to the end-zone, and officially sealing the win for a team that did not even play in a bowl game the year before. The fans at Mizzou rushed the field for the first time in years, and celebrated as their football team finished with an 11-1 record and a date with Auburn next Saturday with the SEC Title on the line.
While Mizzou had their magnificent win, the St. Louis Rams knocked themselves out of the realistic playoff picture.
Facing their heated rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, whom embarrassed St. Louis at the Edward Jones Dome in Week 4, St. Louis needed a win to remain in the wild-card hunt. However, the surging 49ers, who got back Michael Crabtree took advantage of Kellen Clemens’ inexperience as a full time starter, dominating St. Louis to a 23-13 win, with the lone Rams touchdown coming in garbage time.
The Rams’ defense was torched all day yardage-wise, although, poor officiating on the opening drive did not help the cause for St. Louis in the least bit. The same team that had beaten the Colts by 30 and the Bears by 21 did not even seem to show up on Sunday, as mistakes, dropped passes, and a struggling run game sealed the fate for the Rams. And in the fourth quarter, they pulled quite possibly one of the worst fake punt attempts of all time, and would eventually lead to a 49ers score.
San Francisco propelled themselves to a 13-0 lead and went into halftime with a 13-3 lead. It wasn’t until 40 seconds left in the game that St. Louis finally was able to score a touchdown, when Brian Quick used his tall stature to catch a pass from Clemens.
This was not the same Rams we had seen in the past couple weeks. This was the Rams team we saw in the beginning of the season against teams like the 49ers and Dallas. And the worst part is that the schedule does not get any easier for them. Next week they face the Arizona Cardinals, who they came back to beat in Week 1, followed by a matchup against the NFC South leading Saints, then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and closing with a match-up at Seattle against the Seahawks, which is never an easy task.
St. Louis has a lot of young, underrated talent on their roster, but until they fix the frequent mistakes they make, they will continue to struggle. Statistically, they have the hardest remaining schedule in the NFL and at 5-7, are three games back in the wild card with four games to play.
Don’t expect St. Louis to make the playoffs, but do expect them to keep fighting the rest of the season and making statements against some of the top teams in the league.
As for Mizzou, this Saturday will be a classic showdown between two teams with a lot at stake….