Key V: Rams were able to run out the clock
The LA Rams offense got the football with an eight-point lead and nearly 4:00 minutes remaining on the clock. While there were many key moments in Week 16, how can we turn a blind eye to the fact that the New Orleans Saints, having scored 15 unanswered points in this one, had all the momentum?
From the moment that the Rams fielded an onside kick attempt by the New Orleans kicking unit, the Rams had to kill the clock. If you have followed the Rams in the past, the inability to finish off the game by running out the clock has been a glaring weakness to this team, and never more so than the 2022 NFL season.
Rams offense did not put the defense back onto the field
If you disagree, consider this: The LA Rams lead had fallen from a 30-7 rout to a 30-14 closely contested game. After the Rams offense was stopped at their own 27 yard line, the Saints managed to partially block an Ethan Evans punt, which allowed their offense to take over at the Rams 35-yard line. Two plays and 40 seconds later, the Saints scored a third touchdown as well as a two-point conversion to pull to within one score with plenty of time remaining on the clock (3:53).
The subsequent onside kick was not fielded cleanly by Rams WR Puka Nacua, but he recovered in time to maintain possession as the Rams offense took the field with the football on the Saints 44-yard line and 3:53 remaining on the game clock.
The LA Rams offense ran the football four times, and were helped out by a neutral zone infraction by the Saints eager defensive line. The Rams rushed when they needed to run most by advancing the football five, nine, three, and two yards. That kept the Rams offense in possession of the football for the final minutes on the clock, sealing a win at the Saints 25-yard line.