The St. Louis Rams gave their fans an early Christmas present yesterday, while giving the red-hot New Orleans a lump of coal.
Entering the game with absolutely zero expectations, coming off an emotional defeat and approaching the end of yet another lost season with a backup quarterback, the Rams were unanimously counted out before kickoff. They were to play host to Drew Brees and the Saints -- a high-flying offense and a revitalized defense -- who were well on their way to possible Super Bowl contention.
We've been here before.
Sean Payton could not possibly allow his team to overlook the Rams like they did in 2011. Drew Brees surely would not turn the ball over to a secondary that has shown the coverage ability of an afghan. Rob Ryan's defense, the one that shut down Cam Newton and Co. only last week, was destined to eat and swallow Zac Stacy whole.
Wrong, wrong and double wrong.
Rams win in huge upset - Tony La Russa and David Freese were not in attendance this time; the Rams didn't need the added motivation. In a season that St. Louis has made a reputation getting off to a fast and dominant starts, they did just that yesterday, scoring 17 points in the first quarter. Looking back at the scoreboard, the game had essentially been won after only 15 minutes of play.
Does it bother anyone else, though, that Sam Bradford is never a part of these type of wins? Moving on...
Post-game report card - You get an 'A' and you get an 'A' and you get an 'A!' Honor role for everyone! One would be hard-pressed to fault the Rams in any aspect of their performance yesterday, especially considering their highly regarded opponent, so Jeff Gordon of the Post-Dispatch does no such thing.
Robert Quinn - That's really all that needs to be said. The third-year "quarterback killer" is currently in a class all of his own. Arguably the best 4-3 defensive end in football, Robert Quinn should now, at the very least, start pondering locations on his mantle for the first Deacon Jones Award and the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Much more growing to do - Don't forget amongst all this recent hoopla, the Rams are still the youngest team in football, and that's a valuable trait for a team which has aready proven it can win. Much of the roster is still coming into its own and could be poised for big things in the not too distant future.
Nick Wagoner's reaction - Nick loved what he saw. Seriously, he had no quarrels. Time for the Rams to rest up and prepare for the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers to come to down. Will the momentum carry forward?
Pro Football Talk writeup - The NBC Sports breaking news source, Pro Football Talk rehashes it's followup on the game. Check out the comments, though! Fans from across the league are actually giving the Rams some love.
New Orleans tastes humility - Jon Oliver of Canal Street Chronicles shares his take on the Saints' second loss in three weeks. New Orleans' playoff hopes are hardly in jeopardy, but a defeat like yesterday's obviously causes a few concerns.
A controversial top-10 mock draft - The Rams won! Why mock? Because we can.
So to recap Rams' day: convincing upset win, Falcons beat Redskins, Vikings win. Am I missing anything? Fans, how you feeling tonight?— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 16, 2013
Redskins keep losing - Despite an impressive performance by newly instated quarterback Kirk Cousins, the Washington Redskins still found a way to lose. Following a 27-26 loss to the now 4-10 Atlanta Falcons, Washington becomes the only team in the NFL with only three wins, all but assuring the Rams a top-2 draft pick.
Should we feel guilty for taking so much pleasure in another team's struggles? Perhaps, but now is not the time.
NFL.com Game Center - Head on over to the game's live stat tracker to watch some highlight-quality replays. Seriously, you may not be able to do so again for quite a long time.
Cardinals outlast Titans in overtime - One of the surprise teams of the NFC, the Arizona Cardinals now find themselves quietly sitting at 9-5 and still within the playoff hunt.
The 49ers owe St. Louis some gratitude - Like it or not, the Rams gave their arch-rivals in the Bay Area a big boost in the playoff race on Sunday. Seattle may have a tight grip on the NFC West crown, but the 49ers now control their own fate for the fifth seed.
Seahawks show no mercy - Speaking of those pesky Seattle Seahawks, they continued their trend of humiliating downtrodden opponents, shutting out Eli Manning and the New York Giants on their own turf. The youngest Manning brother has now thrown 25 interceptions for the second time in his career.
Have a great Monday, everybody. As always, GO RAMS!!!