The Rams came back from a 21-point deficit, but they failed to control New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and suffered their first loss, 45-35. Here’s what we learned from the game between NFC front-runners:
The Rams are not invincible
They demonstrated in victories over the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks that they could win despite giving up more than 30 points.
But that formula did not work against the Saints, a team capable of matching the Rams’ firepower on offense.
The Rams have a dynamic play-calling coach and multiple playmakers.
But so do the Saints.
And one of them is Drew Brees.
Marcus Peters is struggling
Peters acknowledged that he is not playing well.
The Saints went after the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, with Saints coach Sean Payton saying they got the matchup they wanted on Brees’ clinching touchdown pass to Michael Thomas.
Peters had 19 interceptions in three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.
He has only one in nine games, and has given up multiple big plays.
Sometimes it pays to play conservative
It’s easy to second-guess an unorthodox play-call does not work — and to hail the play-caller as a genius if the gamble pays off.
Coach Sean McVay’s decision not to attempt a short field goal, and to instead have holder Johnny Hekker try to run for a first down, proved to be an early turning point that spurred a 21-point flurry by the Saints.
McVay said the Rams would remain aggressive and that the coaching staff had confidence in players to come through.
But sometimes it’s better to just take the points.
Jared Goff continues to grow
Brees was magnificent, but Rams quarterback Jared Goff coolly brought his team back from a 21-point deficit in one of the NFL’s loudest stadiums.
Goff was not without error. He had a pass intercepted late in the first half that led to a touchdown.
But the third-year pro was not rattled.
In a best-case scenario, it perhaps prepped Goff for the challenge awaiting if the Rams and Saints meet again in the playoffs.
Dante Fowler can contribute
The Rams’ new edge rusher showed that he was more than a situational player.
Fowler, acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars in a trade-deadline deal, played 44 of 71 defensive snaps.