Rams improve playoff chances with 30-22 win over the Saints

Ric Tapia - The Sporting Tribune
The Rams have won five of their last six games after winning their last home game of the season, 30-22, over the New Orleans Saints.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Short week, no problem.

In the Rams’ final home game of the regular season, Los Angeles came away with a pivotal win against the visiting New Orleans Saints, 30-22. This was a game with a lot on the line for both teams who entered the matchup in the hunt for a playoff spot. 

Here are the biggest takeaways from the Rams Week 16 win: 

In just the seventh time this season, the Rams had their triple threat on the field in wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, and running back Kyren Williams. Nacua and Williams both had record setting performances on the night. 

Rams RB Kyren Williams notches 1,000 rushing yards

Williams was the first player since Todd Gurley in 2018 to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season. 

“It means a lot, especially after missing four games,” Williams said of the accomplishment. “That was one of my biggest goals for this season.” 

He finished with 104 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. After scoring, he rushed to the stands to gift his mom the game ball. 

“I owe my mom everything,” Williams emotionally uttered. “She knows all the trials and tribulations I had to go through. It’s a testament to our hard work together.” 

Puka Nacua makes strong case for Offensive Rookie of the Year 

Rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua also contributed greatly to the Rams’ victory. He set a new career-high 164 yards on nine catches and a touchdown. 

“He hit the ground running,” Cooper Kupp said. “He’s playing at a very high level right now. The game slowed down for him. He’s been getting open and making big plays from the start.” 

Demarcus Robinson had a breakout game 

The Rams receiving corps is deep and Demarcus Robinson has emerged as yet another valuable asset to the team. Robinson had six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown by halftime. 

“He’s a swaggy dude,” described Coach Sean McVay. 

McVay also commented on how the chemistry between quarterback Matthew Stafford and Robinson has continued to grow. 

“There’s a real trust and there’s a rapport that’s being established between those two,” McVay said. 

Stafford connected with Robinson on two back-to-back plays where Stafford threw sidearm passes that landed right in Robinson’s hands. For the first time in Robinson’s career, he has scored a touchdown in four consecutive games. 

There was also high praise of Stafford, who in his fifteenth season, has extended his streak of two or more touchdown passes for the fifth consecutive game. He finished the game with 328 yards completing 27 of 40 passes and threw two touchdowns. 

One of which was on the Rams’ opening drive of the game where McVay elected to go for it on fourth and two. It paid off as Stafford found Nacua for a two-yard score. 

Rams defense shows up big under the bright TNF lights 

On the other side of the ball, the Rams’ defense caught fire early. It was third down for the Saints on their opening drive and Ernest Jones IV sacked Derek Carr, which marked Jones’s third straight game with a sack. 

In the second quarter, Kobie Turner sacked Carr on fourth down. He leads all rookies in sacks this season and passed Kevin Carter (6.0) for the second-most by a rookie in Rams’ franchise history with 6.5 on the season. 

The electric play by the defense continued in the second half as Rams’ captain Jordan Fuller came away with his second interception of the season on New Orleans’ second-half opening drive. 

The Saints made a late comeback push where they scored two, fourth quarter touchdowns. One of which they also had a successful two-point conversion. The Rams were able to hold on to secure the victory and significantly increase their chances of making the playoffs. 

The Rams will travel to New York to face the Giants on New Years Eve before closing out the regular season on the road against their division rival San Francisco 49ers. 

Quick Hit

Dodgers Shohei Ohtani was in attendance for the Thursday night showdown. 

When he was shown on the big screen, he was met with resounding cheers from fans. 

The 29-year-old phenom was gifted with a personalized No. 17 Rams jersey before the game.