Sunday’s game between the Rams and Saints, the NFC’s two best teams, did not disappoint.
Defense was optional most of the time, as both offenses scored at will. In the end, it was 10 unanswered fourth quarter points that propelled the Saints (7-1) to a 45-35 win that handed the Rams (8-1) their first loss of the season in a game that was close throughout.
MORE: NFL Week 9 results, highlights
Wil Lutz broke a 35-35 tie with a 54-yard field goal, and Drew Brees found Michael Thomas on a deep ball for a 72-yard touchdown that made the difference.
All the stars came out, as quarterbacks Brees (346 yards, four touchdowns) and Jared Goff (391 yards, three touchdowns) picked apart the opposing defenses. Running backs Alvin Kamara and Todd Gurley combined for four touchdowns, including three from Kamara. All four players were big reasons why the game featured 1,000 combined yards of offense.
With both teams looking like the class of the NFC, a rematch in the conference championship game is possible.
Sporting News provided live updates of the Saints’ high-scoring win over the Rams. Here’s how it went down.
Rams vs. Saints: Score, results, highlights
(All times Eastern)
7:36 p.m.: Brees takes a knee to run out the clock and the Saints come away with the win to give the Rams their first loss of the season.
7:32 p.m.: The Saints call three run plays while taking as much time off the clock as they can leading up to the two-minute warning. They go for it on a fourth-and-1 to try to ice the game and Kamara converts. That should do it.
7:27 p.m.: The fourth down pass is incomplete and the Saints take over with the ball.
7:25 p.m.: Goff’s pass is incomplete on third down and the Rams will have a fourth-and-2 coming up with possibly the game on the line.
7:20 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN. SAINTS. On a third-and-7, Brees completes the pass to Michael Thomas in stride, who takes it 72 yards to the house and opens up a two-possession lead. Saints 45, Rams 35.
7:16 p.m.: Turns out it was asking a lot, at least for that drive. The Rams go three-and-out.
7:14 p.m.: The Rams will have 6:23 left in regulation to tie or take the lead. With the way their offense has played in the second half, that is not asking a lot.
7:10 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, SAINTS. Wil Lutz bails out a New Orleans offense that has struggled in the second half with a 54-yard field goal to give the Saints the lead back. Saints 38, Rams 35.
6:59 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, RAMS. Goff connects with Cooper Kupp, who attacks the wide open field and takes it 41 yards into the end zone. They go for two and the tie and convert on a screen from Goff to Gerald Everett. Saints 35, Rams 35.
*Marcus Peters voice*
“COOPER KUPP! COOPER KUPP!” pic.twitter.com/S0i30rA5UO
.@lightningstrk12 ties it up! #LAvsNO pic.twitter.com/hXKd6nBtIi
6:51 p.m.: Newly acquired Dante Fowler puts pressure on Brees to force an incompletion on third down and the Saints punt for the second straight possession.
End of the third quarter: Saints 35, Rams 27
6:41 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, RAMS. Zuerlein makes his second kick of the day, this time a shorter attempt from 34 yards, and the Rams are back within one possession. Saints 35, Rams 27.
6:40 p.m.: Goff has to scramble on a third-and-10 and the Rams will have to kick a field goal.
6:37 p.m.: Crazy catch as Goff’s throw is too high for Cooper Kupp but is reeled in by Brandin Cooks off the tip. Rams cross midfield.
?: FOX #LARams #SaluteToService pic.twitter.com/Mfm8c6Eb6N
6:29 p.m: The Saints fail to convert on a third down and will punt for the first time today.
6:20 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, RAMS. Malcolm Brown tiptoes like a pro to stay in bounds and stretches past the goal line to score on the pass from Goff. Very successful last two drives for the Rams. Saints 35, Rams 24.
HE STAYED IN!
Well done, @MallyCat_28!
?: FOX #LARams #SaluteToService pic.twitter.com/iMfGwZ95Wu
6:18 p.m.: Goff to Everett and the Rams convert a big third-and-7 to get to the Saints’ 20.
6:16 p.m.: Rams are moving the ball well to start the second half. With the way the Saints have been playing on offense, a touchdown here seems necessary.
Halftime: Saints 35, Rams 17
5:59 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, RAMS. Zuerlein hits the 56-yard field goal and the Rams escape the end of the first half with a trio of points. They will get the ball to start the third quarter. Saints 35, Rams 17.
5:58 p.m.: Goff finds Gerlad Everett back to near where they were before the penalty and Zuerlein will come out to attempt a long field goal.
5:57 p.m.: The Rams pick up 32 yards on back-to-back completions to get near field goal range, but a huge personal foul by Rodger Saffold moves them 15 yards back into their own territory.
5:51 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, SAINTS. A pass to Zach Line goes to the goal line and Alvin Kamara punches it in for his third touchdown of the game. The Saints are up by three possessions. Saints 35, Rams 14.
Make that 3 TD in the first half for Alvin Kamara! #LARvsNO pic.twitter.com/ZowMXM7aUC
5:49 p.m.: Brees to Thomas moves the Saints inside the 10 and a personal foul by Aaron Donald on the play adds an extra five yards.
5:47 p.m.: Brees is off to the races and uses his legs to pick up a first down on a third-and-10 and gets out of bounds to stop the clock.
5:44 p.m.: INTERCEPTION, SAINTS. Alex Anzalone intercepts Goff on the first play of the drive and the Saints take over with 59 seconds left and are in position to add on to their lead.
Alex Anzalone snatches Goff’s pass out of the air for a huge INT! #LARvsNO pic.twitter.com/AZ25jw6KnN
5:41 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, SAINTS. One play after converting on a third-and-6, Brees finds Benjamin Watson to give the Saints their biggest lead of the first half. Brees has as many touchdowns as incompletions. Saints 28, Rams 14.
PERFECT @drewbrees pass.
And @BenjaminSWatson hauls it IN!
?: FOX #GoSaints #SaluteToService pic.twitter.com/xT3VKrfBcV
5:37 p.m.: We have hit the two-minute warning and the Rams defense still has no answers for the Saints, who are rolling on offense once again. They have gained 35 yards on the first three plays of the drive.
5:31 p.m: MISSED FIELD GOAL, RAMS. Greg Zuerlein pushes the kick wide right and the Rams come up empty for the second straight possession.
5:29 p.m.: Rams are already mounting their latest response. Goff hits Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp for 13 and 26 yards respectively.
5:22 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, SAINTS. The rookie Tre’Quan Smith reels in the short touchdown pass from Brees after Mark Ingram moved the Saints down to the 4-yard line. Brees is locked in. Saints 21, Rams 14.
Brees finds the rookie Tre’Quan Smith for a touchdown! #LARvsNO pic.twitter.com/h5qcJ7UDz4
5:20 p.m.: Benjamin Watson makes a tremendous catch over a defender and maintains possession to move the Saints into the red zone. Brees has completed all four of his passes on the drive.
Perfect. @DrewBrees @BenjaminSWatson
?: FOX #GoSaints #SaluteToService pic.twitter.com/zi4ERTmmC9
5:12 p.m.: It’s a fake! The Rams opt to fake the field goal and punter Johnny Hekker runs very close to the first down marker, but is ruled short. The Rams challenge but the ruling on the field stands. It’s a turnover on downs and the trickery doesn’t pay off.
Johnny Hekker is an inspiration to punters everywhere. ✊ @JHekker pic.twitter.com/itqo1Kd674
5:09 p.m.: Fumble! Mark Ingram loses the ball on a run and the Rams come up with the recovery at the Saints’ 22. In a game where stops may come few and far between, that’s a big play by the Rams defense.
Shoot your arrows, @brandincooks! ?#LAvsNO pic.twitter.com/e2haleERth
5:04 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, RAMS. A couple of Gurley runs and a defensive holding get the Rams closer to the end zone and Goff and Cooks connect again for the score. Saints 14, Rams 14.
End of first quarter: Saints 14, Rams 7
4:58 p.m.: Goff delivers a home run ball to Brandin Cooks, who makes the catch for 48 yards down to the Saints’ 14-yard line as the first quarter winds down.
4:53 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, SAINTS. Brees connects with Kamara on third-and-8 for a 16-yard score with 1:40 left in the first quarter. This has all the makings of the shootout it was expected to be. Saints 14, Rams 7.
Brees finds Kamara for his second touchdown of the day! #LARvsNO pic.twitter.com/XyEMfgPBuO
4:51 p.m.: Brees is 3 of 4 for 43 yards on the Saints’ second drive and they have entered the red zone again.
4:41 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, RAMS. Gurley notches his 16th touchdown of the season on an eight-yard run as the Rams storm down the field to tie the game. He now owns the Rams franchise record with 12 consecutive games with a touchdown. Saints 7, Rams 7.
No. 1️⃣6️⃣ for No. 3️⃣0️⃣
Feed @TG3II! pic.twitter.com/5etSnkgDb8
4:39 p.m.: A 33-yard dart from Jared Goff to Tyler Higbee followed by runs of nine and five yards by Goff and Todd Gurley have the Rams quickly approaching the red zone.
4:33 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, SAINTS. Kamara gets a few blocks near the goal line and takes it in for a score. New Orleans makes a big statement with a 10-play touchdown drive. Saints 7, Rams 0.
Kamara shows incredible vision on an 11-yard touchdown run! #LARvsNO pic.twitter.com/fC6PNFW5G5
4:30 p.m.: Saints try a trick play and pitch it to HIll, who looks to throw, can’t find an open receiver and runs it for a first down.
4:30 p.m.: Taysom Hill keeps it on a third-and-2 and comes up a yard short. Saints offense stays on the field.
4:27 p.m.: The Saints will start with the ball and Alvin Kamara picks up 17 yards on his first two runs of the game.
4:12 p.m.: Hard not to get pumped up from this Drew Brees pep talk.
3:10 p.m.: Wide receiver Cooper Kupp will play for the Rams. Sunday’s inactives:
CB Sam Shields Active for #LAvsNO
Read ? » https://t.co/xlurbQJ5rj pic.twitter.com/2NEiL1aHyK
DB J.T. Gray
LB Manti Te’o
C Will Clapp
OT Michael Ola
DL Mitchell Loewen
G/T Chaz Green
DE Marcus Davenport
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