The Los Angeles Rams traveled to the New Orleans Saints Sunday in what was virtually a must-win game if the Rams want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Rams knew that they would have to score points to keep up with Drew Brees and the Saint high-powered offense, but in the end the Saints offense proved to be too much as they dominated to the tune of a 49-21 victory.
Jared Goff in his second career start got the Rams struggling offense off to a good start. It took them just six plays to go 75 yards on their opening drive, and Goff connected with Tavon Austin on a 24-yard touchdown strike to put Los Angeles up 7-0.
New Orleans answered late in the fourth quarter though as Brees found Brandon Coleman from three yards out to tie the game at seven.
After a Rams punt, the Los Angeles defense made one of their only plays of the day as they stripped Brees on the first play of the ensuing drive, setting their offense up with a red zone opportunity.
Goff took advantage of that opportunity, finding Kenny Britt for his second touchdown of the day to put the Rams ahead 14-7.
It did not take the Saints long to respond though as Mark Ingram scored to tie the game, and then after a strip-sack of Goff, Brees scored on a quarterback sneak to give New Orleans their first lead of the game at 21-14.
The Rams were forced to punt on their next drive which led to another Brees touchdown, this time to rookie wideout Michael Thomas giving New Orleans a 14-point lead.
Just before halftime the Rams responded though as Goff threw his third touchdown of the first half, finding tight end Lance Kendricks from 15 yards out to cut the deficit to a respectable 28-21 at the half.
Ingram took the first play of the second half for 61 yards though, and two plays later Brees found him for a 21-yard touchdown on a screen pass to put the Saints lead back up to 14.
It was all Saints from their as Goff threw his first career interception on the ensuing drive, and the Rams offense could not muster any offense for the rest of the game.
On the other hand, the Saints were able to score two more touchdowns, one on a trick play in which wide receiver Willie Snead found running back Tim Hightower for a 50-yard touchdown pass to complete the 49-21 victory.
Goff had a much better game than in his debut as he completed 20-of-32 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns to go along with the interception and a fumble.
Rams running back Todd Gurley once again struggled to find holes as he rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries with his longest run of the day being 13 yards.
Brees threw for 310 yards and had five total touchdowns, while Thomas had nine catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
Ingram, who was in danger of missing the game with a concussion, rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while adding a 21-yard touchdown reception.
The loss dropped the Rams to 4-7 on the season, and things don’t get easier for the Rans as next week they travel to the New England Patriots for a 10 a.m. Pacific time game.