What we learned in the Rams' 49-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints

Jared Goff is making progress

It wasn’t all great, but the No. 1 pick in the draft got to show more of his skills and made some impressive plays.

Goff completed 20 of 32 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns, with an interception and a fumble. His longest completion covered 31 yards.

Goff looked sharp on the first possession and threw a terrific pass to Tavon Austin for a touchdown. Credit Austin as well for a nice catch.

Goff’s short strike to Kenny Britt for a touchdown after a Drew Brees fumble was a nice play. No wasted time.

And Goff calmly executed a two-minute drill at the end of the first half, finishing it with a touchdown pass to Lance Kendricks.

Goff also did not crumble in the aftermath of the turnovers.

It’s OK to bench — but probably not wise to deactivate — underperforming players

Jeff Fisher obviously wanted to send a message and/or give Greg Robinson a break after several mistake-prone games.

So go ahead and start veteran Rodger Saffold at left tackle and keep Robinson on the bench.

But when Saffold left the game because of a hand injury, Robinson should have been available to come in and protect Jared Goff. He wasn’t because he was inactive.

You can talk about the “next-man-up” philosophy, but if Goff had been seriously injured on a blindside hit because of a mistake by the inexperienced Andrew Donnal, that would qualify as a disaster.

The pass defense is under siege

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his receivers demolished the Rams in the final six minutes of the previous week’s game.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees did not wait until the final minutes.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald and end Robert Quinn sacked Brees, but he and his receivers otherwise exploited Rams cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines and Lamarcus Joyner and safeties T.J. McDonald, Maurice Alexander and Cody Davis.

Linebackers Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree also took their lumps in pass coverage.

The Rams gave up five pass plays of 30 yards or longer.

Future hall of fame quarterbacks don’t flinch

Brees lost a fumble that led to a Rams touchdown.

No problem.

He passed for four touchdowns for the 30th time in his career and also rushed/leaped for one.

Up next: Tom Brady. 

Lance Kendricks can shake off mistakes

Kendricks was called for a crucial penalty late in game of the previous week’s loss against Miami.

The veteran tight end came back with a solid performance against the Saints, catching four passes for 51 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown.

Kendricks has 41 catches for 420 yards and two touchdowns.

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