The Los Angeles Rams had a crucial home game against the visiting New Orleans Saints, with both teams at the top of their respective divisions. With Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley ruled out before the game started, the Rams would have opportunity against the weakened secondary.
For the Rams, the injury bug was also not kind with leading receiver Robert Woods out for a while with a shoulder injury, running backs Malcolm Brown and Lance Dunbar nursing injury, and Nickell Robey-Coleman (the Rams strong nickelback) out. With the injuries to Woods and Robey-Coleman, the receiving corp and secondary would have to step up in the crucial matchup.
The game started off strong for the Rams with Pharoh Cooper returning the opening kickoff for 40 yards to give the Rams a shortened field. The Rams leaned Sammy Watkins from the get-go, who stepped up for his former Bills and current Rams teammate. Watkins would catch two of the four balls he caught for the day with a touchdown on a well-executed slant.
Unfortunately for the Rams, the Saints have explosive weapons and quickly answered back with a long Alvin Kamara run. Kamara would be a catalyst for the Saints all day, gaining 188 total yards from scrimmage (more than half of the Saints total yardage for the day).
Jared Goff would answer with a long touchdown drive in the second quarter with precise passes to Tyler Higbee, Gurley, and Kupp which led to rookie Josh Reynolds’ first career touchdown. Reynolds was expected to step up, settling in Woods normal outside receiver slot. Goff finished the game with over 350 yards passing and a fluke interception when Sammy Watkins handed the Saints a slightly underthrown ball, literally.
For the remainder of the game, the Rams made timely drives to give Greg Zuerlein opportunities and the Rams defense slowed down Drew Brees and the Saints just enough. Brees was limited to 246 yards, with most of his chuck yardage coming when the Rams were in full prevent mode.
Being the pessimist that I am, while I am happy the Rams won I thought there were many factors that helped the Rams tremendously. From the beginning, the Rams knew that stud rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore was out along with Ken Crawley, another solid secondary member for the Saints. In addition, while the Rams defense held up to the Saints and kept Drew Brees mostly in check, it was peculiar that Alvin Kamara wasn’t featured more for Sean Payton and company as if anyone has hurt the Rams defense this season, it’s been the quick, shifty running backs that can catch out of the backfield (see: Chris Thompson, Latavius Murray, Jerrick McKinnon, and Alvin Kamara).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic the Rams won, they deserved it after being on the negative side on the injury bug against the Vikings along with just odd turnovers and miscues (Cooper Kupp comes to mind). The Rams schedule softens up a little bit with a trip to Glendale next week but can’t get complacent as the Philadelphia Eagles come to town the week after that.
The Rams have beaten expectations all season. Let’s keep going.
Took McVay 11 games to not be 7-9.— Big_EZK (@Football_EZK) November 27, 2017