Rams 27, Saints 9

Saints vs. Rams: The good, bad & ugly

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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:

The Good

-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.

The Bad

-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.

The Ugly

-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.

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship good, bad and ugly

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The NFL Conference Championship Weekend is their Final Four. You don't get the games played in the same place, but there is a buzz in both stadiums because each team knows theyarethisclose to a Super Bowl. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the real deal. We gawk at his arm strength and ability to make throws in spaces and from angles that'll challenge physics. But his athleticism and escapability are underrated. Prime example was his 27-yard touchdown run right before halftime. Not only did he evade the rush and scramble to the outside, but he tightroped along the sideline, cut back inside, then carried a couple defenders across the goalline. He led the Chiefs in rushing yards with 56.

-49ers running back Raheem Mostert has played on five different teams in his five year career. In his second stint with the 49ers, he's turned himself into an valuable piece of that offense. Although they use a stable of backs, it was Mostert who set a new team postseason rushing record with 196 yards and there was still almost 20 minutes of football left to play!

-We will have a great matchup of coaches in the Super Bowl. Head Coaches/Playcallers: Chiefs' Andy Reid vs 49er's Kyle Shanahan; defensive coordinators: Chiefs' Steve Spagnuolo vs 49er's Robert Saleh. The meeting of the minds with two weeks to prepare should give us a good game. Key word: should. Please guys, no blowouts.

The Bad

-Derrick Henry was dubbed "King Henry" after his recent rushing performances. He was unceremoniously removed from his throne by the Chiefs' defense. 69 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown with a long run of 13 backed up the tough talk from Chiefs' defensive end Frank Clark who said earlier in the week leading up to the game that Henry wasn't hard to tackle.

-Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked a little off. He missed a few key throws, including an interception that ended any hope they had of coming back because it led to the 49ers having a short field and going up by four scores instead of the Packers being down by two scores. It was a minute before halftime, but the way the 49ers were running the ball, that pick was a backbreaker.

-The NFL fined Chiefs' offensive lineman Eric Fisher $14,037 for an unsportsmanlike conduct for his double-fist beer touchdown celebration during last week's win over the Texans. I thought they turned the corner when they started allowing more touchdown celebrations. So let me get this straight: you can choreograph a dance routine with the whole team, but can't pretend to chug beer from a league sponsor? Talk about hypocrisy.

The Ugly

-With the score 28-17 Chiefs with 7:44 left in the game, 3rd&6 on the Chiefs' 40-yard line. Titans' corner Tramaine Brock Sr. fell down and was called for a holding penalty on Sammy Watkins as he was falling. The worst part of that play: Watkins broke open and Mahomes found him for a 60-yard touchdown. Later when they were down by 11 with 3:59 left, Brock was called for a 41-yard pass interference on 3rd&10 with the Chiefs on their own 19-yard line. Those plays sealed the deal for the Titans.

-49ers running back Tevin Coleman was carted off the field in the 2nd quarter with an injury to his right elbow. An arm injury must be pretty damn bad if you're carted off. Thoughts and prayers to the running back I thought the Texans should've signed. Major props to him wanting to come back to the sidelines to be with his teammates wearing a sling.

-The 49ers outrushed the Packers 185 to 51...IN THE FIRST HALF! They were up 27-0 and had "only" passed for 40 yards. That's all they needed since the Packers couldn't stop the run. Mind you, they ran the ball 22 times to get the 185 yards. Packers defense looked like wet brown grocery bags trying to hold two gallons of milk.

And then there were two. Through all the strife and struggle, we have our Super Bowl 54 will be a matchup of arguably the best on their respective sides of the ball: 49ers and their defense vs the Chiefs high octane offense. However, don't sleep on the 49ers' ability to score, or how well the Chiefs' defense has been playing as of late. Ultimately, I have the sads. We only have one meaningful football game left. Hopefully the 49ers and Chiefs give us something to talk about. I won't mind seeing a 24-21 or 31-27 game. As long as we don't get a multiple score blowout, I'm good. Props to the Titans and Packers for putting up a good fight. It just wasn't good enough. From 32 to two. And there will only be one.

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