LOS ANGELES — In perhaps the biggest game of the season to date, the Saints came up short again. The 30-22 score will tell you and suggest that New Orleans was in it until the very end, but that simply wasn’t the case. Things went haywire for Dennis Allen’s defense, and momentum really shifted towards the end of the half after it looked like New Orleans got it back. The ‘not quitting and giving up’ mantra just doesn’t cut it when you’re in Week 16. Here’s a good bit of things we learned about the team after Thursday Night Football.
What We Learned From the Saints In Week 16
THE SAINTS WEREN’T READY TO PLAY THIS GAME
The proof is in the result. The focus and talk all week was getting the bodies right to be ready for this game, and New Orleans couldn’t do it. The Saints had a chance to get some momentum and failed to deliver. That was a big turning point. The defense got cooked, and that’s putting it generously. The tackling was bad and they couldn’t stop the Rams receivers. I mean, that’s just a small portion of what went wrong, but it was on both sides of the ball.
You can say it was a short week and they had to make a West Coast trip, but anyone can make an excuse for such a lackluster performance. It doesn’t mean they’re right.
THE SAINTS CAN’T BEAT A GOOD TEAM
This was a major chance to show that you could compete and be a contender, and the Saints blew it. It almost reinforced who this team is. If you wanted any confirmation or affirmation, you got it on Thursday night. The victories have come against opponents that just aren’t that good, but the losses are against teams that are better. Even if they did somehow win the division, would they even put up a good fight in the Wild Card round?
THE RAMS DID WHATEVER THEY WANT ON OFFENSE
Kyren Williams. Puka Nakua. Matthew Stafford. Damarcus Robinson. It honestly didn’t matter who it was, the Rams offense had their way. Sean McVay’s offense finished with 458 total yards of offense and he obviously won the chess match against Dennis Allen. Alontae Taylor ended up getting benched, but that was just a byproduct of everything that went wrong. The New Orleans defense got worked in one of the biggest games they needed to show up.
SAINTS CANNOT CONTROL THEIR DESTINY
The stakes were high for the Saints, and they failed to deliver. Unfortunately, that means New Orleans is going to have to see what happens in other games and honestly hope on others to take care of business they should have. I pointed out that this was going to be a ‘Best of Three’ series for them, but now they’re going to have to really hope that the Jaguars can knock off the Bucs. You know how this story ends.
CHRIS OLAVE WAS THE TEAM’S BEST PLAYER
Chris Olave’s ankle injury was clearly bothering him during the game based on some of his reactions after plays. He came off earlier in the game, but ended up toughing things out to try to give his team a chance. In turn, he finished with 9 catches for 123 yards on 13 targets. New Orleans couldn’t get a ground game going, and Olave was a thorn in the Rams side for a lot of the game.