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New Orleans Saints see another late rally fall short in loss to Rams

Saints scored final 15 points in 30-22 loss

Inglewood, Calif. – The New Orleans Saints have witnessed all too frequently this season how furious comebacks don't often enough lead to stirring victories.

Another game slotted into that category Thursday night, a 30-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium, in which New Orleans (7-8) fell behind 30-7 before pulling to within one score, only to come up short.

The Saints dropped behind Tampa Bay in the NFC South Division standings with the loss, and now are going to need assistance if they're going to leapfrog the Buccaneers and secure the division title and a playoff berth. But little of that was on the minds Thursday, as New Orleans saw its two-game winning streak end.

Check out the game action shots from the New Orleans Saints game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 of the 2023 NFL season.

OFFENSE: In theory, if not reality, the Saints committed four turnovers and the four turnovers were too much to overcome. There was a Derek Carr interception and three unsuccessful fourth-down conversion attempts, and each failing led to a short field and points for the Rams. Credit the Saints for the aggressiveness, the thought being that it possibly would be a high-scoring game and offensive opportunities needed to be capitalized on. But falling short in each case led to, in order, a field goal and touchdown on 50- and 58-yard drives in the second quarter, a touchdown on a 41-yard drive in the third and a field goal on a 56-yard drive in the fourth. Few teams can overcome that kind of disadvantage. Carr (27 of 40 for 319 yards and three touchdowns, with the interception) put up nice numbers and connected on several chunk plays, but there was no running game for support (16 carries for 35 yards) and a decent amount of the production came after the Saints trailed 30-7.

DEFENSE: New Orleans couldn't produce a second consecutive strong performance against the run (32 carries for 133 yards and a touchdown by the Rams), and Los Angeles receivers either were running free, or Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was fitting passes into tight windows. Either way, it wasn't a good night for the unit. Stafford completed 24 of 34 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, and he only was sacked once. Only four receivers caught passes, but they were too much for the Saints to handle. Los Angeles ran up 458 yards and 6.7 yards per play, and while the Rams only converted 4 of 12 third-down attempts, two came on their opening touchdown drive, which concluded with a touchdown pass on fourth down, their only fourth-down attempt in the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: For the second time in three games, the punt-block unit provided a spark. This time it was special team ace J.T. Gray, as the All-Pro deflected a fourth-quarter punt that led to Carr's 35-yard touchdown pass to A.T. Perry. Two weeks ago, Nephi Sewell forced a fumble that D'Marco Jackson scooped and scored from eight yards out. The unit really has come on strong the last three weeks – Gray barely missed blocking a punt last game, against the Giants – and it may be needed to chip in similarly in the next two games.

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