The first of two regular season National Football League (NFL) games to be played at Wembley Stadium this season saw the Minnesota Vikings take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams looked to get their season on track with their first win of the year. Tom Williams reviews the game.

 

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The first quarter saw the Vikings get a 54yrd field goal from kicker Blair Walsh and a touchdown after second choice Quarter Back Matt Cassell (who was covering for first choice Christian Ponder) passed to Greg Jennings. Jennings ran into the end zone to complete a 70yrd the score. But the Steelers answered before the end of first 15 minutes of play with an 8yrd rush by rookie Le’Veon Bell.

Ben Roethlisberger

The second quarter saw Adrian Peterson, the man who every NFL fan in the stadium came to see, completing a rush of 60yrds to score what was his 12th rushing touchdown of over 60yrds of his career, the most by any player over their career since the 1940s. The Vikings added to their total with a 37yrd field goal from Walsh, adding another 3 points for a very on form Vikings offence. However the same could not be said for Steelers Quarter Back “Big Ben” Roethlisberger and his offensive unit, who did not have a good second quarter as they only managed to score a single field goal as well as Roethlisberger being sacked 3 times by the Vikings defence.

After the break, the Steelers came out of the blocks running with a 49yrd pass downfield that was intended for Wide Receiver Antonio Brown. But he was interfered with by Josh Robinson which led to a 48yrd penalty, and two plays later Le’Veon Bell got his second touchdown of the game. The Vikings were quick to reply as Adrian Peterson ran in for a 7yrd touchdown less than three minutes later. Roethlisberger’s woes only continued as he was intercepted (for the 5th time this season) at the Pittsburgh 37yrd line by Chad Greenway, which led to the Vikings scoring again through Matt Cassel passing to Greg Jennings, this time for a 16yrd pass.

Despite being down 17-34 at the beginning of the final quarter the Steelers did not give up easily as Roethlisberger threw a 15yrd pass to Jericho Cotchery for touchdown, as well as a 28yrd field goal from Suisham. This put the Steelers within touching distance of the Vikings’s score, which would force the game into overtime. The final drive of the game saw the Steelers having to go from their own 22yrd line. Roethlisberger managed to get within 6yrds with a well-executed drive including a 36yrd pass to Cotchery. But this is where it all fell apart for the Steelers when Roethlisberger was sacked for a 5th and final time by Everson Griffen who then stripped the ball from him, which was recovered by Kevin Williams ending the game and seeing the Vikings secure their first victory of the season and the Steelers fall to 0-4, making the chances of them making the playoffs all but over.

Adrian Peterson

Overall the game was a thrilling example of what American Football has to offer as the NFL continues to strengthen its fan base here in the UK. The second NFL game to be held at Wembley this season will be held on October 27th and will be aired on Sky Sports and Channel 4 here in the UK. The Jacksonville Jaguars will play the San Francisco 49ers in what should be a thrilling encounter. There will also be an article here on the Western Eye later this week on why American Football is becoming so much more popular here in the UK.

 

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