Los Angeles – Definitely, not a pretty one to watch.
The New Orleans Saints' 27-9 loss to the Rams on Sunday at L.A. Memorial Coliseum didn't contain a plethora of high points for the Saints, as the score suggests.
Drew Brees injured the thumb on his throwing hand. Cam Jordan had a fumble return for a touchdown overturned, though the Saints retained possession. Receivers dropped passes, offensive linemen were outmuscled, defensive backs committed penalties.
All in all, a day to forget and yet, one to study and attempt to learn from. The Saints (1-1) had chances despite the obstacles. They didn't take advantage of them and frankly, there's no time to feel sorry for themselves. It's the NFL, no one is going to feel sorry for them. How they respond will say a lot about the character of the team.
For now, here are the players that stood out.
OFFENSE: Tough sledding for the offense, but receiver Michael Thomas caught 10 passes for 89 yards. There wasn't much else going on. In relief, Teddy Bridgewater completed 17 of 30 passes for 165 yards but the Saints were stagnant offensively, unable to mount much of a serious scoring threat (just one trip inside the red zone). The big plays weren't there, but Thomas was a steady presence, as usual. He will be even more critical if Brees is out for an extended period of time, because opposing defenses will dare the Saints to beat them through the air.
DEFENSE: On the Saints' second defensive series, Jordan caused a holding penalty and had a sack on third down to help end the drive. There isn't a more complete defensive end in the league than he is, and the scoop-and-score that was taken away – 87 yards on the return – was another display of his athleticism. He finished with the sack, a tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, the fumble recovery and five solo tackles. Give some credit to second-year end Marcus Davenport, too. He had his first sack of the season, as well as three quarterback hits and a tackle for loss. But Jordan was at his disruptive best. He's either in the backfield or being held, it seems.
SPECIAL TEAMS: It's a luxury to have kicker Wil Lutz. His three field goals accounted for all of New Orleans' scoring, including a 52-yarder. Obviously, the Saints will need to do more offensively in the future. They don't want to pile up the field goals. But Lutz is a huge threat, as good as it gets right now.