The Saints thrashed the Rams 49-21 in New Orleans on Sunday in a strong performance by their offense against a defense coached by Gregg Williams.
Williams was once the Saints’ defensive coordinator, of course, and his time with the team ended after the league handed out suspensions to Williams, coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis and others as a result of its investigation into allegations that the Saints defense had a bounty system under Williams. Williams reportedly cooperated with the investigation. Suspensions for players were eventually overturned on appeal, but Payton missed an entire season.
Sunday was the first time that the Saints faced Williams since he left the team and watching Payton pump his fist on the sideline after big plays made some wonder if the opposition meant he was getting a little more satisfaction than normal. Payton said he was “a little excited” because it was an important game, but tackle Zach Strief and safety Kenny Vaccaro addressed the Williams angle.
“It does, it means something. There’s more there. So good for Coach,” Strief said, via ESPN.com.
Vaccaro said “we all know why” Payton was so fired up during the game, which was an important win for the Saints aside from any extracurricular fun it might have provided. The Saints could use a win every week the rest of the way if they’re going to have a chance at the playoffs and they got a big one on Sunday.