Los Angeles – The Saints didn't play anywhere near a great game in Sunday's 26-20 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In fact, given the fact that the team was on an eight-game winning streak, it likely was New Orleans' worst game in a couple of months. But the Saints (8-3) did have several standout performances that shone through.
OFFENSE:Rookie running back Alvin Kamarais special. There doesn't seem to be any two ways about it. Probably, you can count the number of times on one hand that he has been tackled in a one-on-one situation this season, and still have a finger or two left in reserve. Kamara scored on a 74-yard run that was as silky as it was explosive, showcased his agility and athleticism again with another jaw-dropping hurdle of an unsuspecting opponent, and caught a 15-yard touchdown to close out the Saints' scoring. All told, he ran five times for 87 yards, caught six passes for 101 yards and scored twice to raise his season total to a team-leading nine touchdowns. He now has scored a touchdown in five straight games, the first rookie in franchise history to accomplish that feat, and he doesn't appear to have much of a ceiling right now.
DEFENSE:The games are few and far between in which defensive end Cam Jordandoesn't show up in a big-time way on the stat sheet. Sunday, he showed up in a big-time way on the stat sheet. Jordan twice sacked Rams quarterback Jared Goff – Goff showed his toughness simply by getting up after the second one, because Jordan hit him flush and drove him into the turf – and dominated along the defensive line as he flipped from left end to right end, and back. He also had two passes defensed (batted balls), two tackles for loss and was credited with four tackles. In his first game this season without Alex Okafor, who was carving a nice niche of his own as the opposite defensive end, Jordan was a wrecking ball for the Rams offensive line. He now has 10 sacks this season, and there's no indication that he's slowing down, or that it's a wise choice to not assign more than one person to block him.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Thomas Morsteadhad another standout game. He punted seven times for a 53-yard gross average, and 44.6-yard net, with two downed inside the Rams' 20-yard line. And though he wasn't credited with a tackle or an assist on Pharoh Cooper's 40-yard punt return in the third quarter, Morstead threw his body in Cooper's path down the right sideline and gummed up the return enough to allow Gerald Hodgesto make the tackle and prevent a touchdown. Rams punter Johnny Hekker (three punts for a 46-yard gross and net average, with all three downed inside the Saints' 20) is one of the best in NFL history. Morstead matched him boot for boot on Sunday, and continued his season of excellence.