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Saints race past the Rams
The entirety of the football universe had its eyes on the state of Louisiana this past weekend as not one but two major clashes took place. Saturday saw the evil empire of college football, the Alabama Crimson Tide, enter Death Valley and easily do what ‘Bama always does — win, by a lot. But the city of New Orleans is still buzzing with happiness as the Saints took care of the L.A. Rams in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. What a weekend, indeed.
Saints 45 Rams 35
You couldn’t hardly paint a prettier picture at the halfway point of the NFL season for the New Orleans Saints (7-1). The team is officially the top dog in the NFC ranks after a wild 45-35 shootout win against the L.A. Rams (8-1).
The Saints are essentially one defensive stand against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from being undefeated themselves and own victories over the division leaders in the NFC East and NFC West. The Saints knocking the undefeated L.A. Rams back to reality put New Orleans in the number one spot in the NFC and they now join the Kansas City Chiefs in the “best in the entire NFL” conversation. Oh, and if your co-worker is still complaining about Michael Thomas’ homage to Joe Horn tell them to please join Who Dat Nation in celebrating the biggest Saints victory of the year and do not invite them to your Christmas party. Life’s just too short.
It was the typical Saints game that you’ve come to know so well. The Saints were absolutely unstoppable in the first half, going five-for-five in the red zone and were about to blow the barn doors off the game. Then, at the end of the half, some conservative defensive play calling led to an easy field goal for the Rams and the entire city got a little queasy. The Saints were up 35-17 going into the locker rooms but you just knew what was going to happen next, didn’t you?
The script was followed to the letter in the second half.
The third quarter was all about the Saints offense not stringing first downs together and even passing to Dan Arnold on critical downs. On the flip side, L.A. Rams quarterback, Jared Goff showed the Superdome faithful why the Rams walked into the day as the only unbeaten team in the league. The Rams offense started making the New Orleans defense look foolish and, lo and behold, with almost 10 minutes left in the game Cooper Kupp was running down the sideline all alone and after the two point conversion it was all tied up at 35.
A movie couldn’t have been better written.
At that point in the movie I assume someone yells, “That’s enough! We’re going to win this game right now!” Or something to that effect. Either way, the Saints offense snapped out of its second half haze. They did just enough and on the strength of a 17-yard scamper by Alvin Kamara and Drew Brees connecting with Michael Thomas for another 18 yards, Wil Lutz (who is having an outstanding season) drained one from 54 yards for the 38-35 lead. The Saints would never trail again.
The defense took it from there, forcing the Rams to go three and out and that’s when “it” happened. Brees saw confusion in the Rams defensive backfield’s eyes and Thomas made them pay, getting behind L.A.’s Marcus Peters and running away with the 45-35 victory and into the Saints record books (211 yards receiving in a single game).
OK fine. Since it is 2018 and everyone desperately looks for something to complain about on the internet, I freely admit that it was not a smart play on Thomas’ part and it would be horrifying if he performed that gag with the Saints only leading by a touchdown or less. But, the Saints were up by 10 points and I was laughing because I knew this game was over. Yes, there was still a substantial amount of time on the clock but come on y’all. This is a game.
If it’s really that big of a problem then I guess you won’t be watching any more games, right? Well, if you have a change of heart, you can see the New Orleans Saints and that troublemakin’ ne’er-do-well Michael Thomas take on the Bengals in Cincinnati Nov. 11 at noon.
For the rest of you – WHO DAT!
Alabama 29 LSU 0(uch)
The first indication I had that Alabama (9-0) was going to beat the LSU Tigers (7-2) was when the game started. That’s it.
It seems, that’s just all the Crimson Tide needs this year. Game starts, Alabama runs wild, game ends. It would be no different in Death Valley as Alabama easily handled the LSU Tigers and knocked all of that shine off of Joe Burrow at the same time.
Props to LSU, though. Previously, no team had held the Crimson Tide under 39 this season and about half way into the second quarter the Tigers were only trailing 9-0. Unfortunately, the Tigers offense could pose no real threat and when Alabama went up 16-0 with a minute to go in the first half, the writing was on the purple wall.
Alabama would end up with 281 yards rushing compared to LSU’s 20. Yep.
Take heart, Baton Rouge! This is a rock solid team that has a legit shot at ending the regular season at 10-2. The Tigers will take out their anger on Arkansas Nov. 10 at noon in Fayetteville.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Port Orleans Brewing’s “Gleason” IPA
Playlist Recommendation: Joe Horn’s “CELL-ebration”
Around the Way
Joe Horn, former Saints wide receiver and cell phone user, weighed in on Michael Thomas’ reenactment. According to nola.com’s Jeff Duncan, Horn said, “When I saw him bring out that cellphone, I teared up.”
“That’s something that some kids don’t do, to pay homage to an old soul. For him to do it on a national stage took a lot of courage. I’m humbled.”