The first win is always the sweetest. Coming into this game, no one expected the St. Louis Rams to pull off an upset against the Saints. Instead, for most of the game, the Rams beat up on the Saints in every facet of the game. This game wasn't a fluke; the Rams outplayed and out coached their opponent.
It took eight weeks, but the Rams finally played the way they should have been playing this season. Averaging around 9 points a game before yesterday, the Rams decided to wait till this week to score 31 points on a good team.
The Rams offense played well, especially with the play of a very emotional Steven Jackson and some clutch catches by Brandon Lloyd. What's been kind of overlooked is how the Rams defense played...
...The Saints offense was riding high after scoring 62 points on the winless Colts, but against the Rams the Saints only scored two offensive touchdowns and one was in garbage time. Rams defense did its job on third downs, limiting the Saints to a 47% conversion rate.
The Rams two defensive ends stole the show on defense. Chris Long has been quiet for weeks, but this week he pulled in three sacks and was a frequent visitor in the Saints backfield. Rookie Robert Quinn also showed up this week getting a sack and blocking a Saints punt, resulting in great field position for the Rams offense. I'm sure I speak in the majority when I say this is what we have been waiting for from these two players.
The Rams linebackers also played solid. The outside linebackers didn't get exposed this week, which is a big improvement over what we have seen this season. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis continues to have a solid season, racking up 10 tackles, a sack and deflected two balls in Sunday's game.
The biggest surprise was how well the Rams secondary played. The Saints average 326 yards a game, and even though Drew Brees threw for 200+ yards, he didn't get most of the yards until late in the 2nd half. Every player in the secondary played well. Gordy and Stewart both had interceptions; the latter's going for a touchdown. The Rams might be missing their top three corners, but they didn't miss them this week.
If the Rams defense continues to play this well, maybe they can win a good amount of games in the second half of the season. Holding the the number two offense in the league to a couple of offensive touchdowns, as well as shutting them out in the first half, is a great place to start.