The matchup of the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams pit the two best teams in the NFC against one another. At home, the Saints found a way to hold off the Rams comeback attempt and knock off the previously undefeated Rams 45-35.
Both teams knew the implications this game could have in the future. This matchup very well could determine who gets home field advantage in the NFC playoffs.
“When you talk about playoff implications when you see that’s the undefeated team, that’s the team who leads the NFC. Obviously, that’s a big win,” said Bress
With such a high scoring affair there were plenty of standout performances to discuss. Saints offensive stars in Drew Bress, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas all had huge games. Meanwhile, despite giving up 35 points, the defense made crucial plays that helped New Orleans win this game.
Here are the top three performers from the Saints who led them to victory.
After being unrecognized for his high productivity, Thomas dominated Sunday versus the Rams. With a premier cornerback in Marcus Peters being the primary defender, Thomas proceeded to have a record day in receiving yards. Thomas’ 211 receiving yards set a new Saints franchise record.
Also, to the 211 yards, Thomas added 12 receptions and a touchdown. Thomas touchdown came at the most crucial time in the ballgame. A 72-yard touchdown score that put the Saints up 45-35 and essentially won the game for the Saints.
Thomas is one of the rare wide receivers who is not considered a diva. Had planned a touchdown celebration after he scored on Sunday.
This touchdown celebration from Thomas was a tribute to former Saints receiver Joe Horn.
Brees finds Michael Thomas for the dagger! #LARvsNO pic.twitter.com/yhayoE2tEz
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 5, 2018
Now Thomas ranks number two in receptions and number four in receiving yards. Thomas is currently the best wide receiver Brees has ever had.
Coming into this game, three MVP candidates would be playing. Drew Brees, Todd Gurley, and Jared Goff are all candidates for MVP midway through the season. Out of the three, Brees was the one who outperformed the rest.
On the day Brees produced a stat line of 346 passing yards, four touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of 137. Accomplishing these type of stats against a defense that is loaded with stars at each level, is very impressive.
Brees led the Saints offense to 35 points in the first half and 45 points overall. Also, the Saints were only forced to punt the ball twice the whole game. This was a significant bounce-back game for Brees who was held to 120 passing yards last week in the Saints win over Minnesota.
New Orleans Defense
Now, when a defense allows 35 points, typically they wouldn’t be apart of the standout performers from that game. However, New Orleans’ defense made big plays when they needed to and got their high-powered offense back the ball.
Early second quarter the Saints defense managed to give up no points, after a Mark Ingram fumble that placed the Rams offense in the red zone. After the Saints took a 28-14 lead late in the 2nd quarter, linebacker Alex Anzalone made an interception which led to a Saints touchdown right before halftime.
Take a look at Anzalone’s reaching back to intercept Goff’s pass:
Alex Anzalone snatches Goff's pass out of the air for a huge INT! #LARvsNO pic.twitter.com/AZ25jw6KnN
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 4, 2018
Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Saints defense held the Rams scoreless the remainder of the game after they tied the game 35. In a game with very few defensive stops, the Saints defense stops in crucial moments were the turning point in this game.
I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!