Well I did not see this one coming. Coming off a blowout loss to Dallas and with New Orleans coming off a massacre of Indy, the Rams came to play on Sunday and toppled the Saints 24-14. Perhaps even more surprising was the game was much farther apart than the score indicates. St. Louis never lost control of this game, as they shut down the Saints throughout the first 3 quarters. It was 24-0 before the Saints got on the board with just over a minute left in the third on a Vilma fumble recovery in the end zone. It got as close as 10 with 10 minutes to play before the comeback attempt was completely crushed on a 27 yard INT return for a score by Darian Stewart.
Stephen Jackson put the team on his shoulders in this one with Bradford missing the game. He finished with 159 yards with 2 scores, adding another 32 yards receiving. The Saints simply had no answer for him. AJ Feeley did his best job as a game manager, keeping the turnovers to a minimum (no INTs, one fumble lost) and even added a TD to newly acquired Brandon Lloyd. The new wideout has clearly supplanted himself as the number one target in the passing game as yet again he led the team in targets (13) and doubled the amount of targets as any other receiver. He was able to haul in 6 catches for 53 yards and the one score.
The defense was the most effective it has been all year, surprisingly against the high powered Saints who put up 63 points just a week ago. Drew Brees added much of his 263 yards in the 4th quarter when the Rams were nursing a large lead. His only TD pass came with just a few seconds left and the game clearly out of hand. The Rams D accumulated 6 sacks to go along with 2 picks while stuffing the run all day long. New Orleans managed only 56 yards on the ground. The standout player on defense easily was Chris Long who had 3 sacks on the day. He had 3 sacks on the season going into this game. Drew Brees was running for his life most of the day which widely attributed to his ineffective play.
The Rams certainly played closer to what fans had hoped for earlier in the season. They now stand at 1-6, and tied for third in the AFC West. Sam Bradford currently stands at Questionable to play next week, but looks like a fairly good bet to suit up and play. They will have a chance to better there stance in the standings as they face Arizona next week who just lost a tough one at Baltimore. If it weren’t for San Francisco sitting at a surprising 6-1, St Louis would actually have a decent shot to still compete in this division. The schedule gets a lot easier now, so the wins could keep on coming.