Rams 27, Saints 9
Saints vs. Rams: The good, bad & ugly
The 2019 NFC Championship game "rematch" played out to the tune of a 27-9 Saints loss. The games all mean something. This one means the Rams will have the tiebreaker should it come down to that in the playoff race...if the Saints make it. Here are my observations:
-Cam Jordan continues to show why he's one of the top defensive lineman in the game. Five tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a QB hit, and a fumble recovery. He shoudl've also had a touchdown, but more on that later. The Saints extended him this past June to reward him and keep him around because they know how valuable he is to this defense.
-Speaking of the defense, they managed to hold Todd Gurley and the Rams to only 115 yards rushing. Considering they gave up 180 yards last week to a team that doesn't have an All Pro running back, this was a win.
-Teddy Bridgewater came in for Drew Brees and played as well as one would expect of a guy who's only thrown a handful of passes in the past few years. While he didn't get the win, he did the best he could under the circumstances. No turnovers and only took two sacks.
-On the fifth play of the game, Brees was intercepted when Jarret Cook bobbled a pass after a big hit and John Johnson was in the right spot at the right time. To compound the problem, Marshon Lattimore gave up a 57 yard bomb to Brandin Cooks on 3rd&16. Marcus Williams looked like he was supposed to help over the top. All this within the first five minutes.
-The third possession of the game was marred by penalties. Two accepted and one declined that ultimately resulted in a failed screen pass on 3rd&28. Drive started at the 50 yard line and ended with a punt from their own 48. Discipline kills penalties and the Saints need it after totaling 10 accepted penalties for 77 yards.
-Missed tackles plagued the defense. The score was 20-9 in the 4th quarter when Cooper Kupp took a slant 67 yards to the one yard line. Their perfromance against the run game would've been better had they wrapped up Rams runners. They played well, but it wasn't enough considering the circumstances on offense.
-Brees went down with a thumb injury to his passing hand in the 1st quarter. Bridgewater had to come in relief. Depending on how severe the injury is will determine the Saints' chances this season. Bridgewater is a capable guy, but he hasn't played much since his near career ending leg injury.
-Another Saints/Rams game, another terrible call by the refs. In the 2nd quarter, Trey Hendrickson caused Goff to fumble, Jordan recovered and returned it for a touchdown, but the ref blew the play dead when the ball was loose ruling it incomplete.That took points off the board. Mike Pereira, the former league vice president of officiating, said on the Fox broadcast that they should let the play go on when it's that close of a call.
-Players seemed to have lost their juice after the Brees injury. Penalties, missed tackles. Hell, even Michael Thomas dropped a key 3rd down catch. No matter what happens, you must remained focused. I'm not saying they gave up, but they didn't seem to play with the same. Maybe they were mind-bleeped by the fact that their Hall of Fame quarterback wasn't coming back. Something seemed a little off.
The Brees injury was a game changer, literally. The blown call by the refs was too, but Sean Payton compounded it by going for it on 4th down and not converting instead of punting. Watching this Saints team moving forward will be interesting to say the least. How much, if any, time will Brees miss? Will Bridgewater be able to lead them to the playoffs if Brees is out for an extended period of time? Or will this team be destined for a top draft pick? Maybe a new franchise quarterback is on the horizon? Too many questions. Not enough answers.