When I sat down and looked at the numbers from Sunday’s game, one thing really stood out to me: they were very similar. Sam Bradford threw for 231 yards, and Drew Brees threw for 221. The Rams rushed for 136 yards on 24 carries as a team, and the Saints rushed for 132 yards on 29 carries. Both teams turned the ball over three times, and both quarterback were intercepted twice. So, if the numbers are so similar, or even if favor of the Rams, how did we lose 31-13? For the answer to that, let’s look at my keys to the game.
Ivory Hunting – I felt like the Rams did a good job against the New Orleans running game for the most part, although they did go over the 100-yard mark as a team. Chris Ivory got just 47 yards, and he was the team’s leading rusher, so that’s not too bad. It wasn’t perfect, but I was pleased other than a few big plays.
The next three keys are the reason the Rams lost this game pretty convincingly.
No Room For Error – This one pretty much speaks for itself. The Rams needed to play as close to a perfect game as possible, and they played one of their worst games of the season. They made costly mistakes in the red zone, ad they couldn’t manage to pick up a huge stop when they needed it.
Turnover Battle – Going along with the previous key, you can’t turn the ball over three times and expect to beat the Saints. I know that the “turnover battle” was even at 3, but it wasn’t really even. The Rams had two red zone turnovers, and a fumble that stopped the momentum after a big run. The Rams gave up a Pick-6 to go down 21-6 when it looked like they were going to get into the end zone to make it 14-13. That play was the game, which leads me to…
Believe – This is the one that most disappoints me. For the first time this season, Sam Bradford looked like a rookie. In the biggest test of the season, he made a few crucial mistakes. I’m not putting this one on him, because we wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we are without him, but he did make the mistakes. He was under pressure all day, which I hope has more to do with the turnovers than anything, but he still threw the passes. The good news is that he will get another chance this week at home, and I have a feeling things will be different.