Ten observations from Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints in Week 9.
But first, the snap count distributions.
- The Marcus Peters hype train has come to a screeching halt. We’re officially an eternity away from Peters’ show-stopping pick six in Week One. Peters, who played 100 percent of the Rams’ snaps, was absolutely roasted and embarrassed by Michael Thomas for 12 receptions, 211 yards and that game-winning touchdown. He’s currently ranked as the 106th best cornerback in football by Pro Football Focus and in addition to the above putrid stat line, was credited with allowing five first downs to Thomas alone and nearly surrendered another ugly touchdown. We’ll see if his snap count total drops this week with Sam Shields back from an illness and if the Rams elevate Dominique Hatfield to any kind of significant defensive role.
- Kupp doesn’t skip a beat. Despite missing a couple of weeks, Cooper Kupp played all 60 of Los Angeles’ offensive snaps and had another one of those touchdowns where he seems to leak out in the flat and run after the catch for a big score.
- Lamarcus Joyner is another player we should be discussing. Peters’ terrible day at the office masked that Joyner struggled mightily as well. He was beat on a third and eight by a streaking Alvin Kamara for the Saints’ second touchdown of the day after he was caught biting on a route. Joyner played 69 snaps or 97 percent of the defense’s total, but is still without an interception since December of last season.
- Fowler starts fast. After a trade from Jacksonville, Dante Fowler was an immediate contributor with 44 snaps (62 percent of the defensive total.) He had one tackle for loss and defended one pass along with a few flashes of making Drew Brees uncomfortable.
- Fowler up, Longacre down. Fowler’s presence meant Matt Longacre saw more of the bench than usual. Longacre played only 27 defensive snaps and was reportedly evaluated for a concussion.
- Tight ends step up. Lost in the shuffle of this loss was the emergence of Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett as effective weapons for Jared Goff. Higbee played 42 snaps and Gerald Everett played 18 for a combined 88 yards receiving. Higbee also dropped a sure touchdown on an incredible end zone laser from Goff.
- Gurley bottled up. Todd Gurley is regularly superhuman, so it’s difficult to ding him when he scored again for his 12th of the year, but the Saints largely held him in check. Six of his 13 carries went for two yards or less and 24 of his 68 total rushing yards came on one attempt.
- Might think twice. Johnny Hekker has generally been money when faking punts, but his attempted rush and a questionable ball spot robbed him of a first down that saw a huge swing for New Orleans. LA would have been in a position to make it 21-14 if Hekker had converted, but the Saints instead took a 35-17 lead into halftime.
- Aaron Donald goes the distance. Somehow, Aaron Donald has never played 100 percent of the defensive snaps in a game in his Rams career, even if it seems like there are two of him on certain plays. But he did just that on Sunday, playing all 71 defensive snaps at New Orleans.
- Clean quarterbacks. For the first time this season, Los Angeles was held without a sack, thanks largely to Drew Brees’ lightning fast release. On the flip side, the Rams’ offensive line kept Jared Goff clean and didn’t allow for the first time since Nov. 5 of last year against the New York Giants.