In 1969, the Rams opened the season with an 11-game winning streak, still a team record, before losing 4 straight at the end of the year. Roman Gabriel threw 24 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions and was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player by the AP and NEA and the Player of the Year by the UPI and we was voted All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl.
In 1967 and 1968, the Rams and Colts waged season long battles for the Coastal Division title, with the Rams winning on the season's final day in 1967 and the Colts clinching on the next to last week of the season in 1968. 1969 was expected to be no different, thus the opening game in Baltimore vs. the Colts would be a big one. The Colts were coming off a 13-1 season but had been upset in Super Bowl III by the Jets. In the opener in Baltimore, the Rams, aided by 4 Colts' turnovers, came back from a 20-17 deficit to win 27-20 and immediately get the upper hand in the division race. Week after week, the Rams continued to win, although they got a scare in a 27-21 week 4 win in San Francisco and a 9-7 week 6 win in Chicago vs. the Bears. After 8 weeks the Rams were 8-0-0. Meanwhile, the Colts, affected by age and injuries, were 5-3, including a 52-14 loss in week 2 vs. Minnesota. In week 9, the Rams survived a comeback attempt by the Eagles in a 23-17 win, while the Colts lost for the 2nd time in the season to the San Francisco 49ers (who won only 4 games all year). Week 10 featured a showdown between the 9-0 Rams and the 8-1 Dallas Cowboys. The Rams won a thriller 24-23, aided in part by a Bob Hayes fumble while he was running untouched in the clear and seemingly headed for a touchdown (the Cowboys recovered but had to settle for a field goal).The following week the Rams clinched the division title with a 24-13 win in Washington vs. the Redskins. With 3 games left, the Rams were 11-0 and the Colts were 7-4. Week 12 was another showdown, this time between the 11-0 Rams and the 10-1 Vikings, who had lost their opener and then won 10 straight. The Rams dream of an undefeated season was dashed in a 20-13 loss to Minnesota, in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. Coach George Allen decided to rest a lot of his older veterans in weeks 13 and 14 (back then home field advantage in the playoffs was rotated and not determined by best record, so the Rams knew they would open the playoffs in Minnesota regardles of their record) and the Rams lost in a Detroit snowstorm to the Lions, 28-0, and then they dropped a 13-7 game to the Colts in the final game.
The Rams vetured into a cold weather city (Bloomington, MN) just as they had in 1967 when they dropped a 28-7 game to the Packers. This time they would be facing the 12-2 Vikings who had beaten the Rams in L.A. in week 12. But the Rams started off well and led 17-7 at halftime. However, they were stopped inside the 5-yard line and had to settle for a field goal; otherwise the lead would have been 21-7. The Vikings cut the lead to 17-14 but the Rams mounted a responding drive of their own but again were stopped inside the 5-yard line and had to settle for a field goal to lead 20-14. Led by the passing and running of Joe Kapp, the Vikings took the lead 21-20, and then sacked Gabriel in the end zone for a safety and a 23-20 lead late in the 4th quarter. The Rams forced a Viking punt and began to March down filed in the final minute when Gabriel was intercepted near midfield, ensuring the Vikings win.