The Los Angeles Rams picked up an impressive 26-20 win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 12. That said, there are some things to keep an eye on as the Rams make their run for the playoffs. Here are four belated thoughts on the Rams’ victory:
The receivers stepped up
By far the Rams’ most consistent and productive receiver is Robert Woods. Unfortunately, he is out with an injury for the next couple of weeks. His injury led fans to ask who will step up. The truth is a few players did, including Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds. Kupp earned his paycheck against the Saints with eight receptions for 116 yards. Watkins added four receptions, but they were explosive plays that accumulated to 82 yards. Reynolds proved himself as the red zone presence the Rams were hoping he’d become when they drafted him.
The Rams showed glimpses of what the offense is capable of doing. Todd Gurley wasn’t overused, and having more threats on the team will increase production in all aspects of the offense. Hopefully, all of the Rams’ playmakers can remain consistent (and healthy), so the urgency for Woods to return diminishes.
Targeting a banged up Saints defense
Injuries to the Saints’ secondary led to the Rams receiving corps’ success. Both Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley sat with injuries, and the game was still only a six-point difference. Not taking anything away from the receivers’ performance, but this did factor at least a little bit. It’s something to look out for as the Rams move ahead in their schedule.
The defense surrendered too many big plays down the stretch
It only took 42 seconds for the Saints to drive the ball 75 yards downfield to earn a touchdown late in the game. The defense simply was not ready. Admittedly, the Rams defense slowed an elite offense for much of the day, but that’s no excuse. They went into a prevent defense, which is meant to keep the ball in front of the secondary. However, the Rams failed to keep the Saints away from the sidelines, allowing New Orleans to stop the clock. The team must improve in that area.
Rams defense was banged up as well
The Rams were without the services of Nickell Robey-Coleman. Trumaine Johnson also played through some bumps and bruises too. However, Connor Barwin’s injury possibly hurt the Rams the most. It appears that he will miss the the next couple of weeks with a broken arm, which would be a huge blow to the pass rush.
Despite the flaws, Rams still limited Drew Brees to 246 yards. The defense containted the Saints for most of the game, which is no easy task. If the Rams can stay healthy, their defense will remain a strength heading into the last month of the season.