Here are six things we learned from the Rams’ 27-9 victory over the New Orleans Saints:
Safety John Johnson is a playmaker, especially against the Saints
Johnson’s interception of Drew Brees’ second pass was the latest example of why Johnson is regarded as a rising star.
Johnson, a third-year pro, and veteran safety Eric Weddle hit Jared Cook as the Saints tight end attempted to catch a pass. Johnson came up with the ball despite having fallen to the turf.
He made six tackles, one for a loss.
Last season, Johnson intercepted a fluttering Brees pass in overtime of the NFC championship game to set up a game-winning field goal.
Aaron Donald appears much happier after he makes plays
Donald was frustrated after the season-opening victory over the Carolina Panthers because he thought he should have played better.
On Sunday, he made the game’s key play when he hit Brees’ hand and forced the future Hall of Famer to leave because of a thumb injury.
But the two-time NFL defensive player of the year has an influence on the game beyond his measurable statistics.
With so much attention on Donald, other pass rushers are making plays.
Don’t sleep on Michael Brockers
The Rams have plenty of high-profile pass rushers, including Donald, Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews, who has two sacks in two games.
Brockers, a seven-year veteran defensive lineman, does not get to quarterback as often as they do.
But he still can make impactful plays, as he did when he followed a sack by Matthews with one of his own. Brockers also helped stop Saints running back Alvin Kamara on a fourth-and-one play.
Brockers has 21 career sacks.
Brandin Cooks has an extra gear of speed
Cooks showed his acceleration late in a route that resulted in a 57-yard completion.
Quarterback Jared Goff, without play action, dropped back and arced a pass down the field. It initially appeared that it might be overthrown, but Cooks ran under the ball, kept his concentration and held on to it despite tight coverage.
Cooks also made a tough catch for a two-yard touchdown.
Rookie safety Taylor Rapp can play
Rapp, a second-round draft pick from Washington, impressed in the season opener and built on that performance against the Saints.
He played 40 snaps on defense, 15 on special teams.
Rapp made six tackles and broke up a pass.
Special teams corrected mistakes
A week after the punt and punt-return units made several mistakes against the Panthers, there were no major problems against the Saints.
JoJo Natson’s 32-yard return in the third quarter set up a touchdown that gave the Rams a 20-6 lead.
Johnny Hekker averaged 49.8 yards for four kicks