Key III: Rams were able to shut down Saints rushing attack
While the LA Rams may have allowed 22 points, 15 of which were unanswered scores in the final quarter of play, the Rams defense is not as hapless as some may contend. In all honesty, the Rams defense clearly wanted to force the Saints offense to become one-dimensional, and they were very successful at doing so.
The Saints were only able to generate 35 rushing yards on 16 carries, an average of only 2.2 yards per run. Compare that to a pregame season average of 103.2 yards per game, and an average of 3.7 yards per run. The Rams defense shut down RB Alvin Kamara and QB Taysom Hill completely.
At the end of Thursday Night Football, Saints RB Alvin Kamara rushed nine times for a total of just 19 yards. That was his lowest game total of the 2023 NFL season. Likewise, Saints backup and dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill rushed two times for only two yards. That was his lowest multiple carries performance of the 2023 NFL season as well.
That's all thanks to LA Rams DL Coach Eric Henderson. He is hugely underestimated even by fans who love his contribution for the Rams this season.
Rams defense stopped the Saints most dangerous weapons
Some fans want the Rams defense to stop every opposing offensive play. But, is that a realistic expectation? The LA Rams defense abandoned all veterans who are not named Aaron Donald. And yet, this young defense was good enough to shut down a Saints ground assault in a vital game.
Even after the Rams held the New Orleans Saints offense to just 35 rushing yards, they continue to average over 126 rushing yards per game. That is enough to place the Saints offense as the ninth-best rushing offense in the NFL. Now, imagine just how ugly the Rams Week 16 might have gone had the Rams not destroyed the Saints ability to run with the football?
The Rams defense simply does not get enough credit here. Yes, the Rams defense gave up three passing touchdowns. But two of the three scores were allowed after the Rams had built more than a three touchdown lead. One of the touchdowns was completely set up by a busted Rams special team's play.
The Saints offense averages 22.1 points per game, and the Rams defense held them to 22 points. If you are disappointed with the Rams defense, perhaps your expectations were set too high? Or even you focused on the minutiae rather than what the Rams really wanted to do on defense?