Call them the streak busters.
Jared Goff threw for two touchdowns and the Los Angeles Rams snapped the New Orleans Saints eight-game winning streak with a 26-20 victory at the L.A. Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
The matchup of first place teams featured the second and third best offenses in the NFL as the Rams and Saints are both top 5 in the league in points-per-game and yards-per-game this season.
The 62,006 fans in attendance were expecting a good old fashioned shootout, but it was the Rams defense that was the difference on Sunday as defensive coordinator Wade Phillips held Drew Brees and the Saints to just 20 points.
"Wade and those guys did a good job of keeping us off-balance and playing the run well," said Saints head coach Sean Payton following the loss. "We weren't able to throw it enough to take advantage of it, but there wasn't any wholesale adjustment. As soon as we had a series, we'd get a penalty and we'd be first-and-20."
For the second straight week, Jared Goff, led the L.A. Rams offense down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive.
Goff capped off a 7-play, 59-yard opening score when he found Sammy Watkins on a slant over the middle for the game's first score.
A few minutes later, NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner, Alvin Kamara, flashed his game-changing speed as he took the handoff from Brees 74-yards to the house for the Saints first touchdown of the game.
The 74-yard touchdown run was the longest by a rookie in Saints history since Lorenzo Neal in 1993. It was also the longest rushing play of the season for New Orleans.
The Rams extended the lead to 17-7 midway through the second quarter when Goff found rookie wide receiver Josh Reynolds in the back of the end zone for his first career NFL touchdown.
Before the score, the drive was punctuated with a 53-yard over the shoulder pass from Goff to another rookie, Cooper Kupp, who caught the ball in stride to set up first-and-goal for the Rams.
The Saints made it interesting with a last minute touchdown from Brees to Kamara, but Watkins recovered the ensuing onside kick and the Rams held on for the victory.
"We just didn't execute," kamara said after the game. "We didn't execute on third down. That's not our standard. We're going to watch the film and correct it."
Kamara had six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, in addition to his 87 yards on the ground.
"He's a playmaker," said McVay of Kamara. "You look at a couple plays that Kamara made and you just say 'hat's off to him.' He's a special player."
Brees was 22-for-32 for 246 yards and a touchdown, but was held mostly in check until the Saints final drive of the game.
Goff threw for over 300 yards for the third time in his last four games as he went 28-for-43 for 354 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Kupp had a career-high eight catches for 116 yards and Watkins grabbed four balls for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Todd Gurley finished with 74 yards on the ground as the Rams won their eighth game of the season, the first time they've accomplished that feat since the 2006 season.
"I think it was the biggest win of the season," said L.A. Rams' head coach Sean McVay. "I think it was the biggest because it's the most recent and it's a very important one because it is against a great team like that, that's won eight in a row."
Greg Zuerlein continued to show why he leads the NFL in field goal percentage and total points as the man known simply as "Leg-a-Tron" converted four field goals including a 50 and 49-yarder.
The difference in the game was the Rams defense, who despite not recording a turnover, held the Saints to just 14 first downs, and forced them to go 3-for-13 on third down.
Robert Quinn recorded his fifth career sack against Drew Brees and Aaron Donald and Samson Ebukam also recorded sacks in the game.
"Brees is a Hall of Famer, no doubt," said Quinn after the game. "So if we let him get going early, we know the type of chaos he can cause for a defense. Guys just stayed to our game plan. Once we got to him tried to get him down and just make his day a little hectic."
The Dark McKnight
R&B recording artist, Brian McKnight sang the National Anthem in front of a nearly sellout crowd of 62,006 at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum before the game. (The Rams capped the capacity for the 2017 season at 65,000 despite the fact that the Coliseum fits over 80,000).
The Rams will travel to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 1:25PM PST.