Drew Brees, Saints Hold off Jared Goff, Rams' Comeback to Win 45-35

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2018

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) scores on a touchdown carry ahead of Los Angeles Rams free safety Lamarcus Joyner (20) and inside linebacker Cory Littleton (58) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

There are no more undefeated teams in the NFL after the New Orleans Saints earned a 45-35 upset win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

The Saints couldn't maintain their 35-17 halftime lead, but a 72-yard Michael Thomas touchdown in the fourth quarter helped secure their seventh straight win, which is now the longest active streak in the NFL.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Hit the burners then brought out a burner 🔥 (via @saints) https://t.co/aFtKmwCt8F

Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes to help his team grab the inside track on the No. 1 seed in the NFC after beating the top contenders in the conference.

Jared Goff had three touchdown passes, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Rams' first loss of the season, as they fell to 8-1 on the year. 


Alvin Kamara Is Biggest Offensive Mismatch in NFL

Anyone who plays fantasy football knows what kind of numbers Alvin Kamara can put up at his best, and the numbers Sunday were as good as ever with 82 rushing yards, 34 receiving yards and three total touchdowns.

He is still almost underrated with his ability to create big plays by himself, however, especially with the way he scored his first two touchdowns:


.@A_kamara6 makes this look so easy. @Saints strike first in New Orleans! 📺: FOX #GoSaints #SaluteToService https://t.co/ch9iYcYpSG


Another one for @A_kamara6!! 📺: FOX #GoSaints #SaluteToService https://t.co/TuwnvUWVka

Although the third score came on an easy one-yard run up the middle, these other two were plays few others could replicate. He shows patience and athleticism as a runner as well as excellent hands and route running as a receiver.

He turned heads throughout the game regardless of where he lined up:

mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL

Kamara is amazing at making something out of nothing.

Scott Kacsmar @FO_ScottKacsmar

Kamara is a generational talent.

Lawrence Tynes @lt4kicks

Kamara is a top 5 WR in the NFL

Brees was at his best and Thomas dominated with 12 catches for 211 yards and a score, but the offensive success was largely thanks to Kamara.

He has seen his usage drop a bit over the past three games since Mark Ingram II returned to the lineup, averaging a mediocre 63.3 yards from scrimmage per game.

He got his touches in this one, though, and he showed the type of impact he can make against an elite opponent. The second-year player must continue to see at least 20 looks every week if the Saints are going to live up to expectations.


Rams Defensive Struggles Are Major Concern for Super Bowl Contender

It's a problem any time the defense gives up 45 points, even when facing a red-hot offense at home led by a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

The Saints were able to easily move the ball down the field in the first half and then came through with big plays in the second exactly when they were needed. The secondary struggled mightily, including the highly touted Marcus Peters at cornerback.

While this could be excusable as one disappointing performance, the truth is the Rams have had problems all year long defensively.

Los Angeles has looked better by the numbers this season, ranking sixth in the NFL in points allowed per game entering the day. However, much of this success was against teams that were in the bottom 10 in scoring coming into Week 9.

The unit allowed just 23 combined points in easy wins over the Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, but every other team has scored at least 20 points this season, with three now reaching 30.

It's clear the defense is worse than many believe:

Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless

The Saints just hung 35 in the first half on the 8-0 Rams D. This is why I picked the Saints to win the NFC and why I'm still not sold on the Rams.

Aaron Donald is obviously a game-changer in the middle of the defensive line, and he still made an impact with four quarterback hits. The problem is the rest of the players failed to step up against a quality opponent, and they gave the offense no chance to win.

A healthy Aqib Talib could help, but it's still not enough to turn things around after the recent struggles.

Even at 8-1 on the season, the Rams won't be a real Super Bowl threat until improvements come on the defensive end.


Jared Goff Has No More Question Marks After Consecutive Comeback Efforts

Although he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, Jared Goff hasn't been treated as an elite quarterback over the past two seasons. He has put up big numbers, but these were considered the result of a great coaching staff and talent around him.

Head coach Sean McVay certainly helps, as does Todd Gurley in the backfield and a talented receiving corps, but Goff deserves recognition after his performances in the last two games.

The quarterback led the Rams to a win over the Green Bay Packers last week after trailing by double digits, throwing three touchdown passes with no interceptions in the victory.

He was just as good against the Saints, keeping his composure after an 18-point deficit at halftime.

Even as his teammates made strong plays after the catch, Goff still showed his own talent on several impressive passes that few others could replicate:

Steve Wyche @wyche89

Jared Goff can throw the hell out of the deep ball.

We already knew the third-year player can succeed when everything is going well, but his inexperience in challenge situations created a major question mark for the Rams going forward. He only had a single fourth-quarter comeback last season during his 11-4 run as a starter and hadn't done much more this year.

Although he wasn't able to close things out against the Saints, his effort in coming back in this game and against the Packers showed he will be a major threat for the rest of the season and in the playoffs.


What's Next?

The Rams continue their toughest stretch of the season with a pair of home games against the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs. The Saints will go on the road to face the Cincinnati Bengals, which had a bye in Week 9.