Matthew Stafford’s Rams maintain off Saints to surge ahead in NFC playoff race

Matthew Stafford handed for 328 yards and two touchdowns, rookie Puka Nacua had 9 catches for a career-high 164 yards and a rating, and the Los Angeles Rams surged ahead within the NFC playoff race with a 30-22 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday evening.

Kyren Williams rushed for 104 yards and a landing, and Demarcus Robinson added 82 yards receiving and one other rating within the fifth victory in six video games for the Rams (8-7), who’re above .500 for the primary time since Week 1.

Stafford turns away after girl falls off stage at Tremendous Bowl celebrations

With its second win in 5 days throughout a self-described reworking season, Los Angeles additionally jumped previous Minnesota (7-7) and moved to sixth within the NFC standings in its bid to safe a wild card playoff spot – and an more and more attainable opening-round showdown with the Detroit Lions, Stafford’s staff for 12 seasons.

Los Angeles led 30-7 with 12:44 left within the fourth quarter after scoring on six of its first eight possessions, however allowed its opponent to make it fascinating for the second straight week.

Derek Carr threw TD passes to Juwan Johnson and A.T. Perry on the Saints’ subsequent two drives, with a 2-point conversion trimming the Rams’ result in eight factors with 3:53 to play.

However Nacua recovered an onside kick after which received a key first down on a 9-yard jet sweep, and the Rams ran out the clock on their fourth straight dwelling victory.

Carr handed for 319 yards and hit Rashid Shaheed for an early 45-yard TD for the Saints (7-8), whose two-game successful streak ended with a painfully sluggish begin and 458 yards allowed by their protection.

Saints nonetheless alive regardless of loss to Rams

Though this loss hurts its possibilities, New Orleans remains to be in critical rivalry for a playoff spot and the NFC South title as a result of it finishes the season with two video games towards division opponents, beginning with Tampa Bay on New 12 months’s Eve.

Stafford had one more excellent sport down the stretch in his fifteenth NFL season. He has 14 landing passes and one interception within the Rams’ final 5 video games, and he has thrown a number of TD passes in 5 straight video games for under the third time in his profession.

Williams, who missed 4 video games at midseason with a sprained ankle, nonetheless grew to become the Rams’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Todd Gurley in 2018 along with his newest spectacular burst. He has six 100-yard performances in his final eight video games.

Nacua additionally had the most efficient sport within the final two months throughout his breakout rookie season, whereas Robinson caught a TD cross in his fourth straight sport.

Los Angeles went 95 yards in 14 performs consuming greater than half of the primary quarter on its opening drive, which ended with a fourth-down TD cross from Stafford to Nacua. New Orleans had allowed only one landing in its earlier 12 quarters of play.

Los Angeles led 17-7 at halftime when Stafford led a 35-second scoring drive ending in a brief TD throw to Robinson within the remaining minute.

After Rams security Jordan Fuller intercepted Carr’s lengthy cross on New Orleans’ first drive of the second half, Stafford led one other TD drive ending in three consecutive runs for 27 yards and a TD by Williams for a 27-7 lead.

The Saints had three drives finish after they failed on fourth down in Rams territory. Chris Olave completed with 9 receptions for 123 yards.

SHO’S HOUSE

Shohei Ohtani attended the sport, greeting gamers on the sideline about an hour earlier than kickoff and receiving a No. 17 Rams jersey.

The 2-way famous person and two-time AL MVP will now play his dwelling video games about 13 miles from SoFi Stadium after agreeing to a $700 million contract with the Dodgers this month.

Ohtani was named The Related PressMale Athlete of the 12 months for the second time in three years earlier Thursday.

INJURIES

Saints: RT Ryan Ramczyk (knee) missed his second straight sport. … RB Kendre Miller (ankle) missed his sixth straight sport.

Rams: Rookie DB Tre Tomlinson (hamstring) missed his first sport of the season.

UP NEXT

Saints: At Tampa Bay on Dec. 31.

Rams: On the New York Giants on Dec. 31.

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