NEW ORLEANS — In what many believed to be a season-deciding game, the New Orleans Saints dominated the second half to defeat the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams, 27-20.
While the Saints' offense didn't put up earth shattering numbers, the unit was effective throughout the entirety of the game, especially the second half.
The Saints opened the scoring with a Wil Lutz field goal in the first quarter, which was answered by Matt Stafford finding Tutu Atwell for a 62-yard touchdown that gave the Rams a 7-3 lead.
The Saints responded with an 8-yard Juwan Johnson touchdown midway through the second quarter, allowing them to jump out to a 10-7 lead. However, Stafford was able to locate Allen Robinson from six yards out to give the Rams a 14-10 lead just before halftime.
The Saints were able to close the door on the Rams in the second half, holding them out of the end zone and outscoring the defending champs 17-6 after halftime.
The Saints also played a uniquely clean game, only committing two penalties all game. Neither team committed any turnovers. Defensively, the Saints held the Rams to a very pedestrian 5-14 on third down.
Quarterback Andy Dalton had his best performance of the season, completing 21 of 25 pass attempts for 260 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Rookie wide receiver Chris Olave caught five passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, including a 53-yard bomb in the third quarter that proved to be a momentum shifting play.
Rams quarterback Matt Stafford sustained a concussion in the third quarter, paving the way for second-year backup Bryce Perkins to steer the Rams offense for the last quarter and a half. Stafford left the game having completed 11 of 18 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Perkins completed 5 of 10 passes for 64 yards, and had 39 rushing yards on five carries.
The win now puts the Saints at 4-7 on the season, still very much alive in the depleted NFC South. They will be back on the road again next week, as they visit the talented San Francisco 49ers next Sunday, November 27.
The Rams season continues to be a far-cry from where it was last season, as they've now lost four in a row and six of their last seven games. They will face the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday afternoon.