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Saints Fall to the Rams 26-23 in Overtime of NFC Championship Game

The Saints were one game away from Super Bowl LIII, but fell to the Rams 26-23 in a game marred by a hugely controversial non-call

NFC Championship - Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints
Where’s the flag?
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

For just the second time in franchise history, the New Orleans Saints were hosting an NFC Championship game on Sunday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Standing in their way to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, a rugged Los Angeles Rams team that just a week ago, dismantled a very good Dallas Cowboys team.

The Saints came out of the gate firing on all cylinders offensively, getting to the red zone on their first three possessions, and scoring 13 points. the only downside was the 1-for-3 touchdown scoring in the red zone at that point. New Orleans led 13-0 after the end of the first quarter.

The Rams however would respond and make the second quarter theirs, scoring 10 points to the Saints’ 0 in the frame. At halftime, the NFC Championship game saw the Saints enjoy a tenuous 13-10 lead, with Los Angeles slated to receive the second half kickoff.

In the second half, the Saints would start the way they began the game, stopping the Rams on their first possession, then driving 71 yards for a touchdown from Drew Brees to Taysom Hill to go up 20-10. The Rams would not be denied on their second drive of the half, with Goff driving LA 75 yards to pay dirt on a short pass to tight end Tyler Higbee. The Rams at that point, trailed 20-17.

The Rams would eventually tie the game at 20, but the back and forth would continue with New Orleans going up 23-20 on a drive where Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis was clearly interfered with in the Rams’ red zone but the referees kept the flag in their pocket.

The Rams would find new life and tie the game at 23, sending it to overtime. In overtime, the Saints would get the ball first, but a hit on Brees by Dante Fowler Jr. would lead to an interception that the Rams would convert in a 57-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein, giving the Rams a 26-23 win and giving Los Angeles a berth to Super Bowl LIII.

The Saints had a marvelous season that unfortunately comes to a bitter end. But the team gave its all and we should be proud of them.



Here is how the game unfolded:

1st HALF


1st Quarter

Rams win the toss and defer to the second half and after a touchback, Saints take over at their 25-yard line. On the first play of the game, Brees is protected well but finds no one to throw to. Not an interception!!! Saints face 3rd-and-8 on the third play of the game and converts on a pass to Ted Ginn Jr. On the next play, Mark Ingram gains nine yards a becomes the Saints all-time leader in rushing yards for regular an postseason combined. Brees finds Alvin Kamara on 3rd-and-3 into Rams’ territory and then again to the edge of the red zone.

On 3rd-and-7 from the Rams’ 19-yard line, Brees goes to tight end Dan Arnold in the end zone, but Arnold drops the pass. Wil Lutz converts a 37-yard field goal to give the Saints a 3-0 lead.

Rams start from their 10-yard line after a penalty on the kickoff. Rams face a 3rd-and-7 on the third play of their drive and a Jared Goff pass intended for Todd Gurley is intercepted by Demario Davis at the Rams’ 16-yard line.

Saints take over at the Rams’ 16-yard line but cannot find a first down. Wil Lutz converts a 28-yard field goal. to take a 6-0 lead.

Rams take the ball at their own 25-yard line after a touchback on the kickoff. On 3rd-and-8 on the third play of the drive, the Rams miss on a pass and go three-and-out and have to punt.

Saints take over at their own 32-yard line. On the first play, Drew Brees finds Josh Hill for a 24-yard screen pass into Rams’ territory. On the play, Hill gets hurt from a helmet-to-helmet hit and is evaluted for a concussion.

Drew Brees finds Michael thomas down to the Rams’ 18-yard line. On 3rd-and-4 the Saints fail to convert once again. On 4th-and-2 from the Rams’ 10-yard line, the Saints draw the rams offside and gain a first down the easy way. Drew Brees finds Garrett Griffin for a touchdown, giving the Saints a 13-0 lead after the PAT.

Rams start at their own 25-yard line after the kickoff touchback. On 2nd-and-10, the Rams have to call a timeout due to miscommunication. The power of crowd noise! The Rams face a 3rd-and-5 at their own 30-yard line as the quarter ends.


2nd Quarter

Jared Goff’s pass to Robert Woods on 3rd-and-5 gains just one yard and Los Angeles has to punt again. The Rams fake it and get a first down at their own 42-yard line.

Rams get into Saints’ territory on runs by Jared Goff and C.J. Anderson. the Rams stall at the Saints’ 18-yard line and line up to kick a field goal: Greg Zuerlein converts a 36-yard field goal to bring the Rams within 10 points, trailing 13-3.

Saints take over at their 25-yard line after the kickoff touchback. On 3rd-and-5 a Brees’ pass to Alvin Kamara falls incomplete and the Saints have to punt for the first time of the game.

Thomas Morstead booms a 49-yard punt to the Rams’ 22-yard line. Los Angeles gains a first down, but stall on 3rd-and-4 from their 40-yard line. Rams punt and Saints get the ball at their 17-yard line.

Saints find a first down on 3rd-and-2 from their own 25-yard line and convert, but Brees gets sacked by Nadmukong Suh on the very next play and his sacked again on the one after that. On 3rd-and-17, Saints gain just three yards and have to punt as the two-minute warning hits.

Rams take over at their own 19-yard line with 1:52 on the clock. On 3rd-and-10 Jared Goff finds Brandin Cooks into Saints’ territory for a 17 yards. Goff finds Cooks to the Saints’ 6-yard line and Todd Gurley runs into the end zone for a touchdown. The Rams make the PAT and now trail 13-10.

Saints return the kickoff to their 20-yard line and take a knee to go into halftime with a 13-10 lead.


2nd HALF

3rd Quarter

Rams take over at their 25-yard line after the kickoff touchback. On the third play of the drive, the Rams face a 3rd-and-14 and Jared Goff is hit and his pass falls incomplete. Rams go three-and-out and punt.

Saints take over at their 29-yard line and start with a good 6-yard run by Mark Ingram. Brees then finds Alvin Kamara for two passes that take the Saints into Rams’ territory. Saints run the ball on consecutive plays with Kamara and Ingram to get to the Rams’ 26-yard line. Saints get into the red zone on a pass to Alvin Kamara, then get to the Rams’ 2-yard line on a run by Ingram. Drew Brees finds Taysom Hill for a 2-yard touchdown reception, after the PAT the Saints lead 20-10.

Rams take over at their own 25-yard line after the kickoff touchback. Los Angeles starts moving the ball with success on the arm of Jared Goff. Goff finds Brandin Cooks for 25 yards deep into Saints’ territory. Rams get to first-and-goal at the Saints’ one-yard line. Jared Goff finds his tight end Tyler Higbee wide open in the end zone for a touchdown. Los Angeles now trails 20-17.

Saints take over at their 25-yard line with 3:05 left in the quarter. On the first play, Brees finds Tre’Quan Smith for a first down pass. Saints get to midfield on a nifty six-yard run by Mark Ingram. Saints face a 3rd-and-7 from Los Angeles’ 47-yard line as the quarter ends.


4th Quarter

Saints cannot convert and punt the ball on a contested play where Ted Ginn Jr. appeared to get held.

Rams take over at their 13-yard line. On the second play, Cam Jordan sacks Jared Goff for an 8-yard loss, the first sack for the Saints in the game. Rams play conservative and run the ball on 3rd-and-15. Rams punt from their 12-yard line and a 15-yard penalty gives the Saints the ball into Rams territory.

Saints take over at LA’s 46-yard line. A penalty on Terron Armstead sets the Saints back into their own side of the field. On 3rd-and-17, Brees’ pass is behind Teg Ginn Jr. and the Saints squander a beautiful opportunity and punt.

Rams take over at their 9-yard line. On 3rd-and-3, Goff finds Gerald Everett for 39 yards into Saints’ territory. Goff then finds Josh Reynolds for a 33-yard pass into the Saints’ red zone. On 3rd-and-goal from the Saints’ 2-yard line, C.J. Anderson is just short. Greg Zuerlein makes a 24-yard field goal to tie the game at 20. Saints are fortunate to escape this drive tied at 20.

Saints take over at their 30-yard line after a return by Alvin Kamara. On 3rd-and-2 on the third play, Brees finds Alvin Kamara for 8 yards and a first down. Drew Brees finds Ted Ginn Jr. for a 43-yard pass to the Rams’ 13-yard line as the two-minute warning hits.

Saints run an incomplete pass on first down to Michael Thomas, allowing the Rams to keep their two timeouts. Saints throw again on third down and no flag is called . Wil Lutz makes a 31-yard field goal to take a 23-20 lead with 1:41 left in the game.

Rams take over at their 25-yard line after the touchback and move towards midfield and into Saints’ territory. The Rams use their final timeout with 44 seconds left. Rams stall at the Saints’ 30-yard line and have to kick a field goal. Greg Zuerlein makes a 48-yard field goal to tie the game a 23 with 15 seconds left on the clock.

Saints return the kickoff to their own 29-yard line, take a knee and we are going to overtime.


Saints win the toss and obviously elect to take the ball. Alvin Kamara returns the kickoff to the 26-yard line. A pass interference on the Rams takes the ball to the Saints’ 40-yard line. Two plays later, Drew Brees is hit and intercepted by John Johnson at the Rams’ 46-yard line.

Rams get into Saints’ territory in one play. On 3rd-and-7 from the Saints’ 39-yard line, the Rams stall and elect to go for the field goal. Greg Zuerlein attempts a 57-yard field goal and makes the kick. The Rams beat the Saints 26-23 aare bound for Super Bowl LIII.

The Saints’ season ends on a bitter note in a game that they had many chances to ice. It was a great season nonetheless Who Dats, so hold your heads up high, you have a great team!


Were the Saints robbed of a berth to Super Bowl LIII on the non-call to Tommylee Lewis?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Did you see the play? Of course they were!
    (950 votes)
  • 21%
    Yes, but they had a chance to ice it on that drive and didn’t
    (502 votes)
  • 36%
    No, the game comes down to more plays than that
    (857 votes)
  • 2%
    I need about 300 burgers to drown my sorrow
    (62 votes)
2371 votes total Vote Now