After winning two straight games and getting back to .500 on the season, the New Orleans Saints had a primetime opportunity to go on the road and pick up a win before Christmas against a surging Los Angeles Rams team. However, that wasn’t the case as the Saints fell 30-22, but had to score 15 straight points to make it that close.
Let’s talk about where the game went wrong:
In the second quarter, the Saints had a three-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a beautiful ball from Derek Carr to Rashid Shaheed to put the Saints on the scoreboard at 10-7. On the ensuing Rams possession, the Black and Gold defense forced a quick three and out in just 50 seconds to get the ball right back to Carr and the offense. New Orleans then picked up 23 yards in two plays to get into Rams territory. However, the drive stalled, and the Saints turned it over on downs rather than pinning LA deep. Matthew Stafford then orchestrated the two-minute offense and took a 10-point advantage into the locker room.
If the Saints score on that possession or even punt on fourth down and keep the Rams from scoring, I think the second half goes much differently. Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but any thought of momentum that New Orleans had from that quick stop went out the window.
One big positive in this loss was the play of Chris Olave after missing the Giants game with an ankle issue. The second-year receiver out of Ohio State had a big stat line, catching nine passes on 13 targets for 123 yards. Olave’s performance was big to keep the Saints alive, especially late in the game, but falling behind 30-7 is never a recipe for success.
Now, the Black and Gold have to win out to have any shot of making the playoffs. Their final two contests include a road trip to Tampa to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday before hosting the Atlanta Falcons in the season finale.
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