There was so much and hype and potential for this game and rightfully so. The Saints and Rams clashed in Los Angeles in a early season rematch of the NFC Championship Game. Unfortunately for the Who Dat Nation, the outcome was not what they hoped as the team lost 27-9 in disappointing fashion. The main positive from this loss is that it is early in the season and plenty of time to make up for it. Let us look into the key moments that played a big part in the Saints defeat.
Our Worst Nightmare
The Who Dat Nation’s worst fear came to fruition during the first quarter. Drew Brees collided his throwing hand with Aaron Donald on a third down play. He was not even able to grip a football and was out for the rest of the game. Teddy Bridgewater came in and the offense just was not the same the rest of the game. If there was any game for an injury, this would be ideal compared to late in the year. But this was a big factor later in the game.
Refs Blew It Part 3
The Rams were in the red zone looking to score a touchdown with less than four minutes in the first half. The Saints defense needed a stop and they did just that on a big third down. They sacked Jared Goff and forced him to fumble which was picked up by Cam Jordan and returned all the way for a touchdown. But of course, the referees blew the play dead calling it incomplete. Yet another defining moment in a game that has hurt the Saints for the third straight time. At this point, the NFL needs to make some changes because the game is losing integrity on a weekly basis.
The Rams were yet again driving down the field inside Saints’ territory with the score tied at 6. They were faced with a 2nd and 20 after two false start penalties. This was the best time for the Saints defense to make a big stop and force at least a field goal attempt. However, Dennis Allen decides to call zone coverage on this play and it comes back to haunt them. Robert Woods takes a short screen pass and makes it a 3rd and 1 and eventually leads to a Todd Gurley touchdown run. In that situation, you cannot play zone knowing how crafty Sean McVay calls the offense.
The Saints offense could not get rolling with Bridgewater in the game. The contest was still within reach at 20-9 with around 10 minutes left. The defense had been pretty solid, constantly getting pressure and solid in coverage. Enter Cooper Kupp, ultimately the Rams’ best receiver. Facing a 3rd and 2, he beats Marshon Lattimore on a quick slant and had us flashing back to Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Quake”. The poor tackling was only matched by Kupp’s ability to break tackles and underrated speed. He was taken down at the 1-yard line and Goff would sneak in afterwards to seal the victory.
We cannot be upset over a loss that had so many things go wrong. Brees’ injury is unfortunate but that is part of the game. Bridgewater never caught a rhythm and it showed on every possession. The defense, aside from several big plays, were constantly getting to Goff and making plays when it mattered. It is only Week 2 and there is plenty of football to be played. Remember, it is not how you start the season but how you finish it.