N.F.L. Playoffs Live: Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints Updates and Analysis


Click right here to refresh for dwell updates from the Rams vs. Saints by Zach Schonbrun and Scott Cacciola, who’s reporting from New Orleans.

You simply knew the Saints have been going to attempt to take a shot downfield sooner or later. They’ve been thriving on their normal mixture of beneath passes and artistic screens, however, with time ticking right down to the two-minute warning, Brees lastly uncorked a bomb to Ted Ginn Jr., who outleaped the security Lamarcus Joyner for the ball 43 yards downfield. The Saints are actually within the crimson zone with three timeouts and lower than two minutes left.

— Zach Schonbrun

After trailing 13-Zero, the Rams have climbed again to tie it with nearly 5 minutes remaining. After beginning the drive on their very own 9-yard line, Goff drove his crew all the best way down the sector, and a rush by C.J. Anderson was stopped on the 1-yard line. Rams Coach Sean McVay likes to be aggressive, however going for it on fourth down and passing up the prospect to tie was a bit too dangerous even for him. So after a discipline aim, we’re all even.

— Zach Schonbrun

That was an enormous collection for the Saints protection, which compelled the Rams to punt from their very own 12-yard line — and simply when the Rams seemed to be seizing momentum (once more). Add in a private foul in opposition to the Rams on the punt, and the Saints will take over on the Rams’ 46.

— Scott Cacciola

Rams proceed to gash the Saints for giant yardage performs, simply as they did in opposition to the Dallas Cowboys final week. Brandin Cooks now has 100 yards receiving after a 25-yard catch and run. An finish round by Josh Reynolds then went for 16 yards all the best way to the 1-yard line, establishing a landing cross to Tyler Higbee to make it 20-17. After the rating, Higbee instantly put his finger to his lips. Shhhhhhhh. (Don’t assume the Saints followers will pay attention, although).

— Zach Schonbrun

So a lot for the Rams’ momentum. After they went three-and-out on their opening collection of the second half, the Saints took over and marched down the sector. Their 12-play, 71-yard drive culminated in a 2-yard landing cross from Brees to Taysom Hill, the crew’s third-string quarterback. (!) But actually, that drive was all about Alvin Kamara, the Saints’ do-everything tailback. Kamara caught 4 passes for 34 yards and ran as soon as for six yards, sparking New Orleans — and the group is as soon as once more in a tizzy.

— Scott Cacciola

Don’t depend the Rams out but. They turned up the defensive stress on Brees, sacking him on consecutive performs. Then two huge throws by Jared Goff to Brandin Cooks — together with a stupendous 31-yard completion to the 6-yard line — have put the Rams proper again in it. A landing run by Gurley (bear in mind him?) makes it a 13-10 sport at halftime.

— Zach Schonbrun

That collection was the absolute best sequence of occasions for the Rams. Not solely did Gurley become involved with the landing run — welcome again, Todd — however the Rams additionally completely silenced the group earlier than halftime. And do not forget: The Rams will get the ball to start out the second half.

— Scott Cacciola

Something to observe: The Rams have gone away from Todd Gurley, their All-Pro working again, since that early cross that wound up being an interception slipped by way of his palms. C.J. Anderson, signed late within the common season when Gurley was sidelined with a knee damage, has been getting the majority of the carries in his place. Anderson and Gurley have been each terrific final weekend within the Rams’ divisional-round victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

— Scott Cacciola

Special groups are already an element on this sport, which options two of the most effective and most artistic models within the league.

On the Rams’ final drive, Coach Sean McVay made the gutsy name to faux the punt and throw a cross on 4th and 5, which lastly gave the Rams some offensive momentum. (The outcome was a discipline aim to get on the board, 13-Three).

On the opposite aspect, the Saints’ particular groups have been essentially the most environment friendly within the N.F.L. this season, led by the well-respected Mike Westhoff. And they like to make use of Taysom Hill in revolutionary methods.

— Zach Schonbrun

If there’s one phrase to sum this sport up thus far, it is likely to be noise. It is so loud inside this constructing. And simply to provide Saints followers a pleasant nudge, the sport operations division right here retains flashing an enormous “MAKE NOISE” signal on the Jumbotron, with flames licking all of the letters. Noise, after all, is a part of the technique. Veterans within the press field who’ve been to many sports activities occasions right here on the Superdome are saying that is the loudest they’ve heard it — and the noise is clearly affecting the Rams. Jared Goff had the expertise of taking part in in opposition to the Saints right here earlier this season, however suffice it to say the ambiance was barely extra muted again in November than it’s as we speak.

— Scott Cacciola

Fifteen. That’s the whole yardage for the Rams within the first quarter, their lowest whole for 1 / 4 this season. That doesn’t embrace a single first down. And they’re going through one other third down when the second quarter begins. More alarming: The crowd noise on the Superdome prompted the Rams to commit a false begin AFTER that they had simply known as a timeout … due to the group noise.

— Zach Schonbrun

It’s beginning to seem like a nightmarish begin for the Rams in New Orleans.

In the crimson zone for a 3rd time already within the first quarter, the Saints introduced their do-everything backup quarterback Taysom Hill in on third down however couldn’t convert the run-pass possibility play. No matter: New Orleans introduced Brees again onto the sector on 4th and 2 from the 10-yard line, and he obtained the Rams to leap offside.

On the following play, two Rams defenders bumped into one another, and Brees discovered Garrett Griffin broad open ultimately zone. 13-Zero New Orleans.

Los Angeles seems fully out of kinds on protection. But the Saints have that impact on quite a lot of groups.

— Zach Schonbrun

It’s in all probability value noting the colossal distinction in time of possession right here thus far: While the Rams have had the ball for a grand whole of three minutes 9 seconds, the Saints have had it for 10:16. The Rams’ protection is already working arduous, and in all probability did nicely to restrict the Saints to 2 discipline targets on their first two collection. Goff and his offense might do the protection an enormous favor by conserving the ball right here for greater than one other three-and-out.

— Scott Cacciola

On the N.F.L.’s radio broadcast, they’re reporting that Rams quarterback Jared Goff was having issues with the audio inside his helmet, that means he could not hear Coach Sean McVay. The Rams are hoping that the problem is resolved.

Oh boy. New Orleans forces a turnover as a dropped cross by Todd Gurley goes proper into the arms of Saints linebacker Demario Davis on the Rams’ personal 16-yard line. It was L.A.’s first turnover in three video games, and it offers New Orleans an opportunity to take a commanding early begin.

— Zach Schonbrun

It didn’t take lengthy for Drew Brees to make somewhat historical past. With his third completion of the Saints’ opening drive, he handed the nice Dan Marino for sixth on the all-time postseason completions listing with 385. Incidentally, the Rams made an uncommon resolution to defer after profitable the coin toss, giving the Saints the ball to start out — a small gamble when Brees is the opposing quarterback and this crowd is fired up. (The children may consult with the Superdome as “lit.”) All issues thought of the Rams have been lucky to get off the sector after giving up only a discipline aim.

— Scott Cacciola

The final time the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints met, they combined for 80 points and 970 yards of offense, and the Saints ended the Rams’ dreams of going undefeated the entire season.

Here is what to know now:

  • The winner gets to go to the Super Bowl, to face the winner of the AF.C. championship game. That matchup features the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots (6:40 p.m. Eastern, CBS). Click here for our preview of that game.

  • The Rams have added two critical pieces: Aqib Talib and C.J. Anderson. Talib has noticeably improved the secondary, and Anderson has shown to be a valuable running option beside Todd Gurley.

  • Saints quarterback Drew Brees ended the season with 74,437 passing yards, after breaking Peyton Manning’s record early in the season. Click here for a timeline charting how offense took over the N.F.L.



Source link Nytimes.com

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