LA-NO grades: Brees picks apart Rams’ defense in win

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Saints' victory over the Rams.

| 7 months ago
(AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

(AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

LA-NO grades: Brees picks apart Rams’ defense in win

New Orleans Saints 49, Los Angeles Rams 21

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Saints’ 49-21 victory over the Rams.

New Orleans Saints

Quarterback grade: Drew Brees, 79.6 

Drew Brees picked the Rams’ defense apart

Drew Brees was operating like peak Drew Brees against the Rams. He was picking apart the stingy Rams’ defense with accurate and timely throws. If the throw aways, batted passes, spikes and passes where he was hit when he threw are removed from his passing numbers, then Drew Brees completed 28-of-31 “aimed” passes against the Rams. Brees was especially effective to the intermediate depth (between 10-19 yards downfield) as he completed five of seven passes and three of his touchdown passes.

Top offensive grades:

WR, Michael Thomas, 87.3
TE, Josh Hill, 85.1
FB, John Kuhn, 84.1
T, Zach Strief, 82.5
TE, Coby Fleener, 79.5 

Saints’ offense runs up the score on the Rams

The Saints appeared to be interested in running up the score on the Rams as they called for a trick play WR pass after they already had the game in hand. Michael Thomas caught nine of his 10 targets, provided the offense with 49 yards after the catch and two touchdowns. Drew Brees’ QB rating when throwing to Thomas was an eye-popping 151.3. The Saints’ tight ends were effective weapons for Brees. Josh Hill caught all six of his targets and generated 51 yards after the catch and Coby Fleener caught all four of his targets and generated 24 yards after the catch. RB Mark Ingram forced seven missed tackles and racked up 69 yards after contact on his 14 carries.

Top defensive grades:

DI, Cameron Jordan, 85.4
S, Kenny Vaccaro, 83.4
S, Vonn Bell, 82.9
DI, Nick Fairley, 82.0
S, Jarius Byrd, 81.5

Saints’ defense able to generate consistent pressure on the rookie Goff

As a whole the Saints’ defense was able to sack Jared Goff three times, hit him once and pressure him 17 times. Cameron Jordan continues to play at a very high level against the run and the pass. Jordan had 2 run stops and added one sack and five hurries on his 33 pass-rush snaps. Nick Fairley also played well in both phases as he had three run stops and 3 QB hurries on his 31 pass-rush snaps. Kenny Vaccaro provided four defensive stops in addition to an interception.

Los Angeles Rams

Quarterback grade: Jared Goff, 41.2

Goff throws three touchdowns but also turns the ball over twice

Rookie Jared Goff started his second game and had his ups and downs. He did look in command of the offense and was capable of changing plays and protections at the line of scrimmage and threw three nice touchdown passes. However, he also threw an interception where he misread the coverage. There is plenty for the Rams to be optimistic about as Goff’s arm seemed to bring some life to their offense. Goff connected on two of his three deep passes (targeted 20 yards or more downfield) including one for a TD. Goff was pressured on 18 of his 35 drop-backs and had a QB rating of 91.9 when he was under pressure. Goff does seem a bit miscast in the Rams’ offense as he excels in throwing well-placed throws to the deep and intermediate levels and he is playing in a shallow crossing route offense. The Rams would be wise to open their offense up a bit to feature Goff’s skill-set and also to invest in providing him with better protection in the offseason.

Top offensive grades:

TE, Lance Kendricks, 77.2
T, Andrew Donnal, 72.8
WR, Tavon Austin, 72.8
T, Rodger Saffold, 72.2
HB, Todd Gurley, 69.4

The Rams’ fell behind and became one-dimensional

Todd Gurley wasn’t able to become the featured part of the Rams’ offense against the Saints because the Rams found themselves behind on the scoreboard against a team that showed no signs of letting up. Gurley only provided 24 yards after contact and only forced one missed tackle. Lance Kendricks caught four of his seven targets and provided 15 yards after the catch. Tavon Austin caught all four of his targets including Jared Goff’s first touchdown pass.

Top defensive grades:

DI, Aaron Donald, 87.4
DI, Michael Brockers, 79.1
S, T.J. McDonald, 74.9
DI, Dominique Easley, 70.8
ED, Eugene Sims, 70.6 

Rams’ get steamrolled by Saints’ high-powered offense

The Rams’ defense seemed up to the task of playing with the Saints’ offense for the early part of the game but then the wheels fell off. Aaron Donald played a tremendous game in a losing effort and is consistently one of the best players in the NFL. Donald used his quickness and leverage to generate three run stops and one sack, one hit and three hurries on 32 pass-rush snaps. Michael Brockers added one run stop and two QB hits.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Michael A. Thomas, WR, Saints

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.


  • zinn21 zinn21

    This analyst nailed it on Goff. He is an intermediate, deep passer. He can throw shallow crossing stuff but he is devastating when throwing vertical or deep slant routes.

    • crosseyedlemon

      The Rams defense is going to have to carry the load for another season while Goff develops. They are a pretty talented group and shouldn’t be giving up 49 points….even if it was against a future Hall of Famer.