The Los Angeles Rams (1-0) will host the New Orleans Saints (1-0) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in their home-game opener on Saturday, Sept. 15. The Rams are coming off a 30-27 road victory in their season opener against the Carolina Panthers (0-2). They hope to build a winning streak in their rematch with the Saints.
New Orleans is seeking revenge for their NFC Championship loss in January, ultimately putting the Rams in Super Bowl LVIII against the New England Patriots. The Saints loss resulted in what became one of the most talked about controversial “no-calls” in sports history. On a third-and-ten at the Rams’ 13-yard line, Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw an incomplete pass to receiver Tommylee Lewis. During the play, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Lewis, breaking up a pass, but committing what should have been a defensive pass-interference penalty. This eventually led to an overtime game-winning field goal. Saints fans never forgave the referees or the Rams.
Now, the rematch is set and the Rams are ready to prove if they are worthy of that win. The Saints are also determined to prove they were the better team. Both teams are evenly matched and had close season openers, although the Houston Texans (0-1) had the lead over the Saints 14-3 going into the half. By the end of the fourth quarter, the Saints brought the score within one point, 28-27. A game-winning 58-yard field goal by kicker Wil Lutz saved the day. The Saints won 30-28 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Rams had a 21-10 lead over the Panthers toward the end of the third quarter, the biggest lead in the game. They never fell behind throughout the game.
Listed below are how the Rams and the Saints match up statistically after Game 1 of the regular season:
QB Jared Goff – 23 completions on 39 attempts for 186 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception
RB Malcom Brown – 11 carries for 53 yards, 2 touchdowns
RB Todd Gurley – 14 carries for 97 yards
WR Robert Woods – 8 receptions for 70 yards
WR Cooper Kupp – 7 receptions for 46 yards
WR Brandin Cooks – 2 receptions for 39 yards
TE Tyler Higbee – 4 receptions for 20 yards, 1 touchdown
LB Cory Littleton – 14 total tackles, 8 solo tackles, 2 passes deflected, 1 interception
S John Johnson, III – 11 total tackles, 6 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss
LB Donte Fowler, Jr – 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss
LB Clay Matthews – 3 total tackles, 1 sack
K Greg Zuerlein – 3/3 on extra points, 3/4 on field goals (long of 56)
QB Drew Brees – 32 completions on 43 attempts for 370 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
RB Alvin Kamara – 13 carries for 97 yards
RB Latavius Murray – 6 carries for 43 yards, 1 touchdown
WR Michael Thomas – 10 receptions for 123 yards
WR Ted Ginn, Jr. – 7 receptions for 101 yards
WR Tre’Quan Smith – 2 receptions for 26 yards, 1 touchdown
QB/RB/WR Taysom Hill – 1 reception for 9 yards, 1 touchdown
S Vonn Bell – 7 total tackles (5 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss), 1 quarterback hit
LB Alex Anzalone – 5 solo tackles (1 tackle for loss), 1 sack, 1 quarterback hit
DE Cameron Jordan – 5 total tackles (1 tackle for loss), 1 sack
CB P.J. Williams – 4 total tackles (1 tackle for loss), 1 sack
DE Trey Hendrickson – 3 total tackles, 2 sacks
S Marcus Williams – 2 total tackles, 2 quarterback hits, 1 interception
K Wil Lutz – 3/3 on extra points, 3 / 4 on field goals (long of 58)
On paper, Brees’ 105.8 passer rating far exceeds the 69.0 passer rating of Goff. The Saints defense had six quarterback sacks and one interception. They also have a strong receiving corps and solid running game. The Rams show an equally strong running game, a loaded and reliable receiving corps and a versatile defensive backfield.
One Saints X-factor the Rams need to watch is Taysom Hill. He has the ability to play all over the offensive side of the ball, scoring one touchdown in last Sunday’s matchup. Kamara’s speedy running ability will be a challenge as well.
The Rams will need to continue to utilize the strength of the linebacking corps and Goff will need to execute better than Week 1. Look for a great battle on the gridiron with these two teams.