Adam Forsythe / September 16, 2019
Oh boy. That was one of the roughest Saints’ games I think we’ve seen in a long time. Sloppy play, injuries, and of course poor officiating plagued the Saints which put them into situations that they were unable to overcome. Let’s go ahead and breakdown the key points in the game and see how the Saints could rebound from such a rough outing.
The Saints started off the game on the wrong foot as tight end Jared Cook was unable to haul in a Drew Brees pass which ultimately was intercepted by Rams’ safety John Johnson III. Cook nearly caught the ball but seemingly handed the ball off to Johnson as they battled to the ground.
Thankfully, the Saints’ defense was able to stand strong in the red zone, holding the Rams to only 3 points. On the next drive, every Saints’ fan’s nightmare scenario occurred.
Faced with a 3rd and 8 on the NO 46-yard line, Brees attempted a pass to Cook over the middle of the field, which fell incomplete. As Brees’ completed his throwing motion, his right hand hit the hand of Rams’ defensive tackle, Aaron Donald. Brees left the field with the rest of the team after the failed 3rd-down attempt, and he went to get his right hand wrapped up. This right-hand injury sidelined Brees for the remainder of the game.
Despite losing Brees, the defense continued to play well, especially the defensive front. The Saints held the Rams to punts on their next two drives. Unfortunately, the loss of their star quarterback drained the energy from the Saints’ offense. They were forced to punt on their first drive without Brees but they were able to muster a field goal on the following series.
With the game tied at three, the Saints’ defense knew they needed to make a game-changing play to help their offense, and that’s exactly what they did. The Rams found themselves in a 3rd down and seven situation on the NO 11-yard line. Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff dropped back for a pass but was quickly hit by Saints’ defensive end Trey Hendrickson. The ball was knocked out of Goff’s hand and the Saints’ best defender, Cameron Jordan, picked up the ball and ran it in for an 87-yard Saints’ touchdown. However, horrendous officiating once again struck the Saints as the referee blew the play dead, calling the play an incomplete pass. The Saints challenged the play and it was reversed, but since the play was blown dead, the touchdown did not count and the Saints got the ball at the spot of the fumble recovery.
After all the issues regarding the fumble recovery and the missed call from the referees, the Saints were unable to get anything going on offense as they were stopped on a fourth-down attempt. The Rams were able to add a field goal to their score just before half time. The Saints headed to the locker room down 6-3.
When the Saints returned to the field after halftime, it seemed as though they still had a shot to win the game. The defense stopped the Rams on their first drive of the third quarter and the Saints were able to score a field goal, tying the game up at six. However, the game quickly got out of hand not long after.
Jared Goff and the Rams carved through the Saints’ defense as their next drive resulted in a touchdown run from Todd Gurley II. The Saints still couldn’t get anything going on offense as they punted the ball back to the Rams who were able to put another touchdown on the board.
Unfortunately, the offense struggles continued for the Saints as they were only able to score a field goal on their next drive. Then the Rams continued the onslaught by scoring yet another touchdown. With the score now 27-9, the game was over.
The Saints are now 1-1 on the season, which has them tied with the Falcons and Buccaneers for top place in the NFC South.
Injuries were the Saints’ worst enemy throughout the game (other than the referees). Losing Drew Brees so early on in the game was demoralizing but it certainly didn’t help that the team also lost offensive guard Andrus Peat and wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith to injury in the second half. The Saints have a very tough schedule ahead as they face off against the Seahawks and the Cowboys for their next two games. They’ll be looking to bounce back quickly as they hope backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater can lead them to victories during this tough stretch without Brees.
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