The Rams were on the losing end of a matchup with a NFC division leader last Sunday, but things went better back at home against the Saints.
Jared Goff picked on a New Orleans secondary that was without its top two cornerbacks by throwing for 354 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 26-20 win. That puts an end to the Saints’ eight-game winning streak and leaves them with an 8-3 record heading into next Sunday’s game against the Panthers, who are also 8-3 after beating the Jets on Sunday.
The Rams are 8-3 as well after bouncing back from a loss to the Vikings with a strong performance against the Saints. They opened the game with an impressive touchdown drive and kept moving the ball all game against a New Orleans defense that showed the most mettle when they got close to their own end zone. That meant the Rams had to settle for field goals in the second half, but that was good enough to build a 13-point lead that withstood a late Saints touchdown when Sammy Watkins fielded an onside kick.
Watkins scored that first touchdown and had 82 receiving yards, which was second on the team behind Cooper Kupp. Kupp caught eight passes for 116 yards and Todd Gurley put up 128 yards from scrimmage as the Rams returned to the balanced attack they have ridden to the top of the NFC West. Their defense did a good job of keeping the Saints in check, although Alvin Kamara continued his marvelous rookie season with 188 total yards and both New Orleans touchdowns.
The Saints hurt themselves with seven penalties for 112 yards, including a costly pass interference on cornerback P.J. Williams on Watkins in the fourth quarter. They’ll need to play cleaner against the Panthers next Sunday at home if they are going to return to sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
Goff and company will head to Arizona in hopes of taking a two-game winning into a home date with the Eagles and trip to Seattle that will provide them with further opportunities to cement their spot at the top of the conference.