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Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints: What the Rams learned from their first loss of 2018

Where the Rams stand after their first loss of the season.

Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams proved that they are an elite team, but they’re not the only one

In a battle of offenses, the Rams matched the New Orleans Saints blow-for-blow early on. Keeping the score knotted up at 14, things were looking good at that point except that the Rams scoring drives lasted 3:21 and 2:28, while the Saints drives took 5:35 and 4:24. While less plays means less chance for a turnover, it also meant the Rams defense might get winded sooner; and then came the second quarter where the Saints did Saints-like things and put up 21 points. While I could care less about whether Sean McVay uses Todd Gurley to set up the pass or vice versa, the defense will need more time to regroup against teams as competent as the Saints.

The Rams made adjustments and answered though, and had actually tied the game with ten minutes remaining. Although they lost, it seems pretty clear that if these teams meet up again, playing at home could be very important. In fact, over the last two seasons, the teams have each beaten each other while playing at home. While the Saints had to reestablish their credibility after an early season loss to the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, they have clearly arrived and are as hot as any team at the halfway point. In any event, there will likely be some scoreboard watching for Rams fans from here on out, and Sean McVay may be required to actually roll out all the weapons against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but when will the real Marcus Peters please stand up?

Or (gulp), is this it? Though he’d valiantly deny it, perhaps he isn’t completely healthy; but even if that’s the case he needs to play smarter. It’s understood that he’s been a great gambler throughout his career, and a few turnovers could have completely changed the outcome against the Saints, yet Peters needs to gamble with some level of moderation. The Saints, for all their explosiveness don’t have a ton of overwhelming receivers. They have Michael Thomas, and… Michael Thomas so containing him just a little bit could have done wonders. Believe it or not Thomas’ catch rate was tied for his lowest of the season at 80%, but there were plenty of plays where Peters was in the vicinity and got bullied or like the Thomas’ last touchdown he was simply burnt with the game on the line.

Nobody would expect perfection. Guarding great receivers in this era is like guarding a great point guard in the NBA, you just hope for a some containment and even a win here and there.

Maybe Wade Phillips needs to scheme Peters back into form, and maybe having Aqib Talib back soon will help, but in the meantime, perhaps playing slightly more conservative will help provide some level of containment, at least until he’s physically able to play his preferred game.