What. A. Game. Just as many thought, the Rams vs. Saints part two came down to the wire. Back and fourth these two teams went, until Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein eventually delivered the 57-yard game winning dagger into the hearts of the New Orleans Saints and their fans, ultimately sending the Los Angeles Rams to their first Super Bowl since the year 2000.
The Rams simply outplayed the Saints when it mattered most. But we must not forget about what could’ve been. What most Saints fans and NFL fans in general, view as the most historically bad no-call in NFL playoff history. Tommylee Lewis is wide open, and Rams’ cornerback Nickell Roby-Coleman knows he’s beat, so he runs right into Lewis well before the ball was even near him.
Yet, there’s not a flag in sight. It’s blatantly pass interference, but no flag was thrown. It was 3rd and 10, and had Roby-Coleman been called for PI, it would’ve allowed New Orleans to potentially set up a game winning field goal of their own. Instead, they ended up taking a 23-20 lead with 1:44 seconds left in regulation.
New Orleans was 1:44 seconds away from the Super Bowl. One stop is all they needed. Instead, they allowed Jared Goff and company to drive the ball downfield, setting up the game tying field goal, thus sending the game into overtime.
The Saints win the coin toss, and had the ball first to start the overtime period. It’s 2nd and 16, and just when you think Drew Brees and company are driving the ball downfield to end the game, the Los Angeles Rams called game. Rams’ defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. made the play of the game, no, the play of the year for the Rams by getting in the face of Brees and forcing an errant throw.
John Johnson, falling backwards, intercepted Brees’ fluttery throw, putting the Rams in position to win the game with just a field goal. Once again, Goff and company executed a masterful drive, setting up “Legatron’s” clutch, 57 yard game winning field goal.
New Orleans had their opportunities to put the Rams away, they failed to do so. They could’ve (and probably should’ve) ran the ball after the big pass play to Ted Ginn Jr. In overtime, you start with the ball, and you give it right back to the Rams, I’ll be it, off a pass from Brees that was affected by Fowler Jr.’s impact.
Even after all of that, you have another opportunity present itself. Just prevent the Rams from getting into field goal range and get the ball back. You couldn’t do it. Plain and simple. The Los Angeles Rams made plays when it mattered most, with the game at stake.
As a team, you have to be able to put something like a horrendous no-call behind you, and finish what you started, even if you believe that it affected the outcome of the game. And for back-to-back seasons, they suffer yet another heart-breaking loss, this time at the hands of Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams.
The Saints had opportunities, and failed to capitalize when they needed to most. For that reason and that reason alone, the Rams are headed to Super Bowl 53!