Rams 27, Saints 9

Saints vs. Rams: The good, bad & ugly

New Orleans Saints Twitter

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 Week 10

NFL Week 10: Good, bad and ugly

Phil Hoffman, Baltimore Ravens Team Website

Week 10 of the NFL brought us some good games. 11 of the 13 game splayed were decided by one possession (touchdown and two point conversion) or less. Good football and parity is what the league wants. Here's what I observed this week:

The Good

-Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the clear cut league MVP after his performance this past weekend against the Bengals.He was 15/17 for 223 yards and three touchdowns passing to go with his seven carries for 65 yards and a highlight reel-worthy touchdown rushing. The spin move he made on that touchdown run looked like a Madden glitch.

-Including Monday night's OT comeback, Seattle's Russell Wilson is tied for the most game wining drives since entering the league in 2012 with 28 (the Lions' Matthew Stafford also has 28). Here's yet another reason why Wilson is an MVP candidate this season. Look around him and notice he's not working with a whole lot of top notch talent.

-Cardinals wide receiver Christina Kirk had himself a game in their 30-27 loss to the Bucs. Kirk ended his day with six catches for 138 yards and three touchdowns, including a 69 yards touchdown catch that tied the game at 20 in the 3rd quarter. Kirk was a top recruit coming out of high school and did some good things at Texas A&M, but this was a perhaps his breakout performance in the NFL for the former 2nd round pick. Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray will need a him moving forward if the duo hopes to succeed.

The Bad

-Lions' wide receiver Kenny Golladay caught a pass near the end of their 20-13 loss to the Bears and tried to hurry things along by spotting the ball for the refs. Nothing uncommon about what he did...except he moved the ball up a few yards and the refs did nothing about it! Just another reason why officiating has been so terrible as of late.

-Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is having a bad year. Even after missing four games due to suspension, he's still leading the team in penalties. He singlehandedly killed their first possession of the second half with back to back penalties forcing them to punt. To his credit, he totally owned it when the media came in the locker room after the game.

-Panthers' running back Christian McCaffrey is an amazing talent at the running back position. However, he isn't a bruiser of a runner. He's more of a finese guy. So asking him to bang it inside from the 2-yard line with no timeouts left and the game on the line is not ideal. How about coming up with a more creative way to get him the ball in space? They went on to lose to the Packers 24-16. This and the failed two-point conversion on their previous touchdown were both baffling calls.

The Ugly

-The Rams will be without offensive lineman Rob Haverstein for a week and Brian Allen for the remainder of the season with injuries. Things are getting worse by the minute for the Rams who came into this season off a Super bowl appearance.

-The Chiefs lost their leading sacker Emmanuel Ogbah for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Losing to the Titans was one thing, but losing a talented pass rusher for the rest of the season as bad as their defense has been is icing on a poop cake.

-Former #2 overall pick Charles Rogers passed away at the age of 38 due to liver failure. Rogers' life was a tragic tale of a talented guy who wasn't ready for what his talent gave him in the way of fame and fortune. He was selected one pick ahead of Texans' all time great Andre Johnson as the two were said to be the best two receivers in the 2003 draft.

Week 10 of NFL action was capped off by a battle in the NFC West between the 49ers and the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. With only two games decided by more than one possession, we were trewated to another good weekend of football. The '72 Dolphins popped their champagne somewhere after the 49ers lost. Division races became a tad more clear. Some became more crowded. But overall, it was another good week of football. Weeks like this one are why people are hooked on football and can't get enough.

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