Rams tape review: Offense gets going early, but can’t stop the Saints from piling it on

The Rams suffered a big loss to the Saints, 49-21, on Sunday in New Orleans, but their offense showed signs of life even as the defense got picked apart by Drew Brees.

Each week we take a look at the tape to see what worked, what didn’t and what you might have missed. 

What: Rams QB Jared Goff’s first career touchdown pass goes to WR Tavon Austin

Down: Third and nine

Time: 12:14 left in the first quarter

Here there is a lot of movement before the play; heck, there’s even some movement as the play begins by running back Benny Cunningham (23), but the officials missed it allowing quarterback Jared Goff to throw his first career touchdown pass. 

Receiver Tavon Austin (11) runs the out route against cornerback B.W. Webb (28) out of a trips formation to the left side with the slot and outside receiver both running shot patterns closer to the line of scrimmage, opening up the field for Austin.

What: Rams LT Rodger Saffold gets out and runs to make a block for RB Todd Gurley

Down: First and 10

Time: 2:39 left in the first quarter

Rodger Saffold (76) made his first start of the season at left tackle for Greg Robinson, who was inactive, on Sunday and immediately had an impact on the running game. Here you can see Saffold get out and throw a big block on Saints linebacker Craig Robertson (52), which gives running back Todd Gurley (30) a bit more time to pick up nine yards on the early carry.

Saffold suffered an injury in the second quarter and would not return so it’s hard to know if he would have been able to help keep the Rams’ run game going in the second half when it all but disappeared.

What: Saints’ use motion to confuse Rams on Drew Brees’ three-yard touchdown throw

Down: Third and three

Time: 3:06 left in first quarter

Saints quarterback Drew Brees repeatedly attacked the middle of the Rams’ defense on this scoring drive. Here the motion by receiver Brandin Cooks (10) is enough to pull middle linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) out of position as well as cornerback E.J. Gaines (33).

Both players are left defending open grass as receiver Brandon Coleman (16) cuts between the defenders leaving Trumaine Johnson (22) behind him. 

What: Saints RB Mark Ingram hits a hole, runs the seam 61 yards

Down: First and 10

Time: 15:00 left in the third quarter

The Saints get good blocking on this play from their entire offensive line and fullback John Kuhn (29). Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) had to deal with a double team most of the game. But here, Saints left guard Andrus Peat (75) throws a chip on Donald, who is being taken straight up by left tackle Terron Armstead (72), before bouncing back to the middle to put a shot on Ogletree to keep him from tackling Mark Ingram behind the line. 

Then, as Mark Barron (26) comes in to plug the running lane, Kuhn gets good position on the linebacker/safety and keeps him out of the way with his outside shoulder. From there, this play is all Ingram who finds a seam and runs 61 yards.

What: Goff is picked off by Saints S Kenny Vacarro

Down: Second and 10

Time: 11:38 left in the third quarter

This is Goff’s first career interception. On this play he targets Lance Kendricks (88) immediately and throws to him in what is essentially double coverage as he’s runs between the zone defense of linebacker Craig Robertson (52) and safety Kenny Vaccaro (32), who jumps the route and rips the ball away from Kendricks. 

Had Goff been able to get to the left side of the field with his reads before throwing at Kendricks he might have had deep shot at an open Mike Thomas (13), who was breaking past the corner on the outside.


Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme