Today's game was similar to one of the Rams' 2009 games. The Rams played a lot of teams competitively in 2009 (no, really), but they always lost convincingly due to turnovers, or big plays. It was always "If this didn't happen, and that didn't happen, then the game would've been close". That is exactly what today's game was like.
|RB Steven Jackson had a solid game despite his fumble.|
The defense was non-existent for the majority of the game, but they were particularly absent during the first two drives. New Orleans converted their first nine 3rd down conversions; and the Saints took a 14-0 lead after the first two drives. Both of those touchdowns were scored by Marquis Colston; the first came on a 5-yard pass, and the second came on a 17-yard pass. Not surprisingly, both of those touchdowns were on 3rd down.
The Saints were able to get that second touchdown after Rams' RB Steven Jackson broke free for a big gain, but fumbled the ball. And after the second touchdown, the Rams seemed to get back on track. After trailing 14-0, the Rams answered back with field-goals on their next two drives (the second drive was made possible by a Bradley Fletcher interception), and that made the score 14-6.
It really looked as if the Rams were about to get right back into the game. On the kick-off following the second field-goal, the Saints fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Rams in the Saints' red-zone. A New Orleans player was seriously injured on the kick-off, which may have screwed with the Rams' momentum (thankfully the player was able to move). The Rams not only failed to capitalize, but QB Sam Bradford threw an interception, which was returned for a touchdown, making the score 21-6 at halftime.
The Rams failed to enter the second half with the necessary intensity. The Saints' WR Lance Moore caught a 31-yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter, which made the score 28-6. That touchdown was the only score of the 3rd quarter.
The Rams defense gave up a field-goal for the first points of the 4th quarter, making it 31-6. The Rams then began to put together a fine drive. A 29-yard reception by WR Laurent Robinson brought the Rams into Saints' territory, and Steven Jackson runs of 14 and 19 yards took the ball into the red-zone. The drive was spoiled after Bradford threw his second interception of the game.
After another Saints' field-goal, the Rams finally put together a scoring drive. A 33-yard reception by Robinson put the Rams on the goal-line. Things seemed to be disastrous (yet again) after Roman Harper picked up a Jackson fumble, but the Rams challenged the fumble and the call was overturned. The Rams scored their first touchdown of the game on 4th and goal of that drive, which came on a quarterback sneak. That made the score 31-13. It remained that score for the rest of the game.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY
Steven Jackson: Jackson had the fumble in the 1st quarter that really hurt them, but he had a big game. Jackson broke 100 yards in the game, broke 1,000 yards in a season for the sixth season in a row, and he was also the second leading receiver.
Brandon Gibson: Gibson led the Rams in receiving today. With Danny Amendola being shut down as of late, Gibson has been the go-to guy.
2-1 on the Road-Trip: The Rams finished this dreaded road-trip 2-1. Everyone knew that this road trip was key to the season's outcome, and they did a solid job.
Sam Bradford: Two interception, including one in a key situation, resulted in a poor game for Bradford. Bradford also had a fumble.
The D-Line: Saying that the defensive-line didn't get pressure is an understatement. Brees had all day to score, and the line did not record a single sack (Eugene Sims got a sack with less than three minutes left in the game, but does that really count?). The unit as a whole should be ashamed.
The Defensive-Backs: Like I said in the Rams @ Saints Pre-Game article; the Rams' defensive-backs struggled against Denver and Atlanta, so it was almost a guarantee that they would struggle today. But "struggle" isn't exactly the right word. The Saints completely had their way with the secondary. They Rams' secondary did have two interceptions, but those picks did not compare to the overall futility of the unit today. Cornerback may be a bigger need than wide-receiver at this point, and that is saying a lot.
The "Pity" Tackle: The Rams were on the goal-line on 3rd down in the 4th quarter, attempting to score their first touchdown of the game. Steven Jackson fumbled the ball (the ruling was challenged and overturned) and the Saints' defensive-back Roman Harper picked it up and ran it back. Harper was being chased by only Bradford, so there was no reason he shouldn't have made it into the end-zone, but he slowed down and seemed to allow Bradford to push him out of bounds. The play was overturned, and Jackson was down... but still.
St. Louis Rams
New Orleans Saints