This year, we have had a completely featureless Super Bowl and now a completely featureless Champions League final. The stark scorelines were New England 13 LA Rams 3, and Liverpool 2 Tottenham nil.
We are lucky in Australia to have such a great variety of sports and last weekend was a perfect example.
We had that cracking AFL grand final with the come-from-behind win by the West Coast Eagles. The NRL grand final wasn’t as close, yet still had its share of good storylines – Billy Slater’s farewell match and the extraordinary courage of Cooper Cronk, playing the whole game with a dodgy shoulder. There was the added bonus of getting an anatomy lesson, as we all learned what a scapula was.
Perhaps I was thinking too much about the weekend when I watched the replay of the Thursday night game from Week 4 of the NFL, between Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams.
I nearly choked on my Weet-Bix when I heard Cooper Cronk had just caught a pass. I rewound the video. The name was clearer now – Cooper Kupp.
Kupp is a wide receiver for the Rams. At 188cm and 94kg, with pace to burn, he has all the physical attributes for the position. Against the Vikings, the 25-year-old played a blinder, racking up 162 yards from nine receptions – almost doubling his yardage for the year.
Minnesota scored from their first drive of the game. Quarterback Kirk Cousins found targets in Adam Thielen and Laquon Treadwell before throwing a pass to Aldrick Robinson for the game’s opening touchdown.
The Rams responded in style, quarterback Jared Goff tossing to Todd Gurley to level the scores at 7-7.
Minnesota looked to be robbed of a touchdown when Thielen was ruled to have been downed by contact but replays suggested otherwise.
The Rams took the lead when Kupp scored from a 70-yard pass, before going behind when Robinson scored for the Vikings. In one play Stefon Diggs was hit so hard I thought that his head had been knocked clean off his shoulders, but thankfully it was just his helmet that went spinning into the air.
The game see-sawed as both quarterbacks found their targets with near impunity. Goff ended up with a career-high 465 yards with five touchdown passes, while Cousins threw 422 yards.
It was a tense ending to the match. Trailing by seven with under two minutes on the clock, the Vikings were near the half way line. Cousins had the ball looking for an outlet when a huge defensive play by John Franklin-Myers knocked the ball out of his arms and forced a changeover.
The game had everything including a trick play. The Rams’ punter, John Hekker, dummied to kick before throwing an endzone bound pass on fourth down.
Unfortunately, the intended receiver forgot to look up and the chance was lost.
The Rams held on to win 38-31 and move to a 4-0. The Vikings are now 1-2-1 and will look to rebound next week at Philadelphia.
I have to admit the LA Coliseum looks a little underwhelming these days. A large concrete bowl, it reminds me of the old VFL park at Waverley. There’s not much protection from the elements and I could imagine it getting a bit chilly in the upper tiers.
Never fear, there is a new stadium on the way. Featuring a stunning glass roof, the stadium will be home to the Rams and the LA Chargers from the 2020 season.
Miami Dolphins had their first taste of defeat when they were demolished 38-7 by Tom Brady’s New England Patriots.
The Titans moved to 3-1 with an overtime win against Philadelphia. Down 20-23 on 4th down, the Titans went for the big play and Marcus Mariota threw to Corey Davis for a 26-23 win.
Michael Trubisky threw 354 yards in Chicago Bears crushing 48-10 defeat of Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In a match featuring big-gun quarterbacks, Joe Flacco’s Baltimore Ravens beat Ben Roethlisberger’s Pittsburgh Steelers 26-14.
Kansas City Chiefs beat Denver Broncos in the Monday night game to join the LA Rams as the only teams with 4-0 records.