We're not saying anything revelatory here when we admit that it's a lot easier, and more fun, to herald standout players after a victory than it is after a loss. And the New Orleans Saints had several who contributed significantly to Sunday’s 27-20 victory over the Rams in the Caesars Superdome, a win that upped New Orleans' record to 4-7.
OFFENSE: Andy Dalton won't always be as clean in his play as he was Sunday. But on Sunday, he was about as clean as he could have been when it comes to throwing the ball, completing 21 of 25 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns, without an interception. He did it while rotating snaps with Taysom Hill for a decent portion of the game, and knew coming in that he wouldn't be taking 90 percent of the snaps. Still, when he threw it, he was on point – the 8- and 7-yard touchdown passes to Juwan Johnson and Jarvis Landry, respectively, were perfectly placed to teammates who had inside position, and his 53-yarder to Chris Olave similarly was a pass that found his teammate in a position to where it appeared Dalton walked the ball to him. He was sacked three times for minus-32 yards, and yardage could have been saved with at least one throwaway, but avoiding a possible turnover was a more-than-reasonable outcome, too. It was a big, big bounce-back game for Dalton after last week.
DEFENSE: Kaden Elliss has had at least one sack in three consecutive games, and is up to 4.5 for the season. His 1.5 against the Rams, coupled with two quarterback hits, a tackle for loss, a pass defensed and 10 tackles, was almost half of the Saints' four sacks against the Rams. But another 1.5 went to defensive end Carl Granderson, who likely saw his snap count increase once Payton Turner had to be carted off the field with an ankle injury in the first half. New Orleans already had opened the game without starting ends Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport, and Granderson really needed to hold up in the second half, along with the rest of the defensive line. He did, and finished with seven tackles, two quarterback his and a tackle for loss.
SPECIAL TEAMS: This is based as much on projection as on production, but the feeling here is Rashid Shaheed is going to pop a punt return. He returned four for 40 yards Sunday, and had his longest return – 16 yards – nullified by a holding penalty. But the juice is there. He's going to need a little help, as all returners do, but he's going to get in a seam, outrun a few angles and take one back at some point. It just seems to be setting up that way.
Head inside the New Orleans Saints locker room postgame after the Saints' win against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 11 of the 2022 NFL season presented by Bud Light.