As expected, the Los Angeles Rams’ week 9 matchup in New Orleans was a shootout, as the two teams combined for 80 points. Unfortunately, the Rams couldn’t quite sustain momentum after erasing a 35-17 halftime deficit, and some key plays down the stretch by the Saints earned them the W at home.
Here’s a look back at how Sean Wilkinson’s five Rams to watch fared on Sunday.
QB Jared Goff
After a 3-game stretch which saw Goff register just 3 TDs and 3 INTs, the Rams QB has now thrown for 6 TDs against 1 INT in his last two. His performance on Sunday was stellar. His lone INT (on a great play from Saints LB Alex Anzalone) was unfortunate, but otherwise he threw the ball into some tight windows and moved the team at will. He continues to exert better pocket presence, command of the offense, and confidence in his throws as he builds on his impressive 2017 campaign.
RB Todd Gurley
Not a big day for JTG in this one, as he was held to just 68 yards and a TD on 13 carries, and notched just 11 yards on 6 catches. The game flow had a lot to do with matters, as the Rams both fell behind and found success in the passing game with relative ease. Yes, the New Orleans run D also had something to do with it, but certainly this isn’t anything to be concerned about.
DL Aaron Donald
It was also a pretty quiet afternoon for Aaron Donald, as he was credited with just one tackle (for loss, crushing Saints RB Alvin Kamara), and one pass deflection. We can save all of the “he gets held on every play” chatter for another day as the Rams failed to sack Saints QB Drew Brees, and in the first half, he simply carved us up. Donald and Co. definitely got more pressure in the second half, but it was perhaps too little too late.
OLB Dante Fowler
Recently acquired OLB Dante Fowler played 44 snaps (62%) on Sunday, and from here, I thought he generally looked pretty good. Yes, he reminded some fans of former Rams DE Robert Quinn, often favoring a “one move” approach, and occasionally got swallowed up by blockers. That said, he did provide some pressure, forcing an errant Brees pass on a third down, and generally bringing some aggression and physicality the 2018 Rams have lacked. For a guy who got less than a week of practice in a new defense, I would say he had a strong debut.
CB Marcus Peters
Pretty sure Sosa said it all here, but once again LA’s high-profile offseason acquisition was downright brutal against the Saints, as WR Michael Thomas made him look a high school freshman playing against the JV squad for the first time.
Sean wrote: “Each time Peters allows a big play, he seems to be upset with the safeties. Whether that’s due to frustration or because he’s expecting help over the top is uncertain,” and pretty much nailed it: Peters did indeed appear to blame a lack of safety help when he surrendered the game-clinching TD pass. 9 games in, the former Chiefs all-pro is making Rams fans long for the days of Trumaine Johnson and Kayvon Webster.