Then it poured, when Payton Turner, one of the three defensive ends active for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams in the Caesars Superdome, had a player roll onto his ankle during the second quarter of the Saints' 27-20 victory.
Still, New Orleans was able to navigate around the absences, posting four sacks – including a combined two by starting defensive ends Carl Granderson and Tanoh Kpassagnon – against the Rams. Granderson had a sack-and-a-half, and Kpassagnon was credited with a half-sack.
"Our guys stayed after it," Coach Dennis Allen said Monday. "I thought as the game wore on, I thought (the pass rush) continued to improve and we continued to get some pressure on the quarterback, and I think we've been able to get pressure on the quarterback a lot lately.
"I know we didn't start off the season pressuring the quarterback as well, but I think now we're getting to a point where we're getting some pretty good pressure on the quarterback and affecting the quarterback."
In the last four games, the Saints (4-7) have totaled 53 percent of their sacks this season, 17 of 32.
New Orleans was able to achieve victory despite the fact it was missing nine projected starters.
"I thought our guys rose to the occasion," Allen said. "I know that the Rams are dealing with a lot of injury issues, much like us, but I thought going up against the defending world champions, our guys went out there and played and competed and won a game. That was obviously encouraging. We had a lot of guys that haven't played prominent roles for us that stepped up and played well."
Included among that group were three offensive linemen. Landon Young started at left tackle, Calvin Throckmorton at left guard and Josh Andrews at center, replacing James Hurst (concussion), Andrus Peat (triceps) and Erik McCoy (calf), respectively.
While New Orleans' offense didn't overflow with production, the timeliness of the production was key, especially in the run game (24 carries for 88 yards).
"We didn't have a ton of production, but at the same time, there were some key plays where we were able to move the ball on the ground," right tackle Ryan Ramczyk said. "I think (offensive line) Coach (Doug) Marrone and (assistant offensive line coach Zach) Strief did a good job getting us ready. We had new pieces in there at the offensive line and I think we came together well and overall played pretty well."
TURNER UPDATE: Allen said that Turner's ankle injury, which required the second-year player to be carted off the field, is less serious that feared. Allen called it a day-to-day, week-to-week injury.
New Orleans Saints players in action during their 2022 Week 11 game against the Los Angeles Rams.