The tone of the game seemed to be set when St. Louis intercepted the ball on each of the first two New Orleans possessions, and followed the second Rams touchdown with a successful onside kick... all in the first quarter. Feeling the pressure of the score, and the Rams defense, Drew Brees had trouble moving the ball. And on defense, the Saints consistently gave up big plays and had trouble making stops and getting off the field.
New Orleans seemed to get a spark of life late in the fourth quarter, following a touchdown with a successful onside kick recovery. But it was too little, too late. Especially with the Panthers trying to take the division lead, this was an ugly and disappointing game for the Saints. About as ugly as it gets. Here's a quick recap.
The Turning Point
had an interception returned for a touchdown on his first throw of the game. The subsequent interception stole a touchdown from the Saints on their next drive, and led to a second St. Louis touchdown. With the Rams up 14-0, they added a successful onside kick to keep the New Orleans offense on the sideline and drained of energy while St. Louis drove down the field and scored a third time.
Not much to feel positive about after this game, unless you believe that the Seattle-esque loss will energize the Saints for a second Panthers beatdown next weekend. The Saints did recover an onside kick in the second half, when they seemed to be mounting a comeback, but they were unable to fully recover from the 24-3 halftime deficit.
You mean aside from the ass kicking the they just took? Just about everything. Offense. Defense. Special teams. Hard to even know where to start. Drew gave up the ball repeatedly. The defense was off and on all game, only forcing punts on four drives, while allowing the Rams to score on five. Even when Garrett Hartley seemed to be on point for the game, he had two relatively easy field goals deflected by the Rams.
St. Louis always seems to have our number, regardless of how good of a season either team is having, and today's game didn't do anything to change that. To top it off: the Panthers, 49ers, and Seahawks all won their games on Sunday afternoon. In order to win the NFC South, the Saints must defeat the Panthers in Charlotte next weekend.
Saints Who Starred
Darren Sproles, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas
Saints Who Struggled
Charles Brown, who consistently had trouble protecting Drew Brees without getting called for penalties, and was eventually benched. Drew Brees, who put the Saints in a hole with interceptions on his first two possessions, and gave up a fumble on his first possession of the second half. The Saints defense, who failed to tally a single sack, interception, or forced fumble. Special teams, which allowed the Rams to block two field goals, and failed to gain a single return yard on punts or kickoffs.
Crazy Stat of the Game
The Saints had zero return yards from punts or kickoffs.
The Saints must prepare for another road game next weekend, for a rematch against the Carolina Panthers (10-4), whose win against the New York Jets (6-8) just tied things up in the division race. New Orleans must defeat the Panthers a second time next week, in order to win the NFC South division.
With the loss tonight, the Saints have little-to-no chance of getting the NFC's No. 1 seed overall. Which means the game in North Carolina is now even more important than ever, as New Orleans needs to win the division and at least grab the No. 2 seed to avoid a lowly Wild Card.
|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS|
|ST. LOUIS RAMS|