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Rams and Jared Goff hold off Saints to become true playoff contenders

27 November 2017

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds (83) celebrates after scoring during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Los Angeles. Los Angeles also sacked Brees twice early, but the Saints adjusted and got back in it with that brilliant run by Kamara.

While Alvin Kamara couldn't be stopped, Wade Phillips and his defense figured out a way to shut down Mark Ingram - effectively beheading one-half of the two-headed running back monster that terrorized opponents for eight consecutive weeks.

On a day that had the Rams most productive offensive weapon, receiver Robert Woods, on the sideline nursing a shoulder injury, LA got the depth chart involved finding names that typically are only mentions on Sunday.

For the first time since 2006, the Rams will finish at least at.500 after doubling their win total from their relocation season in 2016.

The Rams bounced back from last week's defeat at Minnesota to reassert themselves as a playoff contender.

Goff threw a five-yard pass to Watkins for a touchdown seven plays after Pharoh Cooper returned the opening kickoff 40 yards to the Rams 41-yard line.

Goff completed 28 of 43 passes for 354 yards, was sacked four times and had one pass intercepted as the Rams (8-3) won the matchup of two of the NFL's three highest-scoring teams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Rams made two lengthy drives ending in fourth-quarter field goals, and Watkins recovered the onside kick after the Saints finally trimmed Los Angeles' lead to one score on Kamara's TD catch with 1:45 to play.

Saints rookie Alvin Kamara rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown, and had 101 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Brees completed 22 of 32 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown.

The Rams' offense suffered from some fits and starts, some of which seemed to be self-inflicted because of questionable play-calling.

Saints: Starting cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore (ankle) and Ken Crawley (abdomen) sat out as expected.

Alvin Kamara made an early 74-yard touchdown run and a late TD reception for the Saints, who finally lost for the first time since September 17.

Zuerlein kicked a 50-yard field goal on the Rams next possession, an 11- play, 51-yard drive.

That's when the Saints' offense woke up.

New Orleans kicker Wil Lutz made a 50-yard field goal 58 seconds before halftime and a 21-yarder with 10:05 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Both defenses tightened in the second quarter, but the Rams were able to manage an eight-play, 86-yard touchdown drive in the middle of the quarter, which ended on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Josh Reynolds and a 17-7 lead for the Rams.

Rams and Jared Goff hold off Saints to become true playoff contenders