Drew Brees ignites Saints' offense in win over Rams

Gregg Williams returned to the Superdome on Sunday and the New Orleans Saints (5-6) took it to their former defensive coordinator, racking up 555 total yards in a 49-21 win over the Los Angeles Rams (4-7). Here is what you need to know:

  1. Drew Brees torched the Rams' secondary, connecting on four touchdown passes. Brees joined Peyton Manning (35) as the only players in NFL history to throw four-plus TDs in at least 30 career games. When he wasn't getting blown up byAaron Donald (leading to a fumble), Brees was a step ahead of the Rams' defense. It was a masterfully called game by Sean Payton, using the Rams' aggressiveness against them with misdirection, peppered by field-stretching shots.
  1. Jared Goff took a step forward in his second start. The No. 1 overall pick looked much more comfortable with pre-snap reads and got through his progressions better than last week's slop-fest. He finished 20-of-32 passing for 214 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a fumble. When Goff is confident, he displays a good arm and precision passing. His first career touchdown pass was a 24-yard dime to Tavon Austin. Goff still has strides to make in his development, however. After putting up 167 yards in the first half, he was held to just 47 yards on eight completions in the second. Like most rookies, Goff was wild high when he rushed throws. His interception came on a forced throw into traffic. There will be ups and downs for Goff the rest of the way, but Sunday he showed the traits that made him the first pick in the draft.
  1. Mark Ingram ran with fire. The Saints back plowed through arm tackles to the tune of 146 rushing yards on 14 carries and a score. Playing with determination, Ingram added a 21-yard screen pass for a touchdown. When Ingram runs angry, one defender can't bring him down. He clearly got the message after his benching a few weeks ago. Payton should ride Ingram down the stretch.
  1. Rookie receiver Michael Thomas lived up to his Twitter handle: @Cantguardmike. The Ohio State product toyed with Rams defensive backs all day, piling up nine receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas' highlights included several beautiful moves after the catch that left L.A. DBs grasping for air. On a day Brandin Cooks saw zero targets, Thomas made his case as Brees' go-to target.
  1. If you thought there was no bad blood between the Saints and Gregg Williams for his role in Bountygate, you thought wrong. Payton poured it on his former DC. The cherry on top of the Saints' deluge was a 50-yard touchdown pass from receiver Willie Snead to running back Tim Hightower. Snead became the first receiver in franchise history to throw a TD pass, per NFL Research.
  1. The No. 2 overall pick in 2014, Greg Robinson, was a healthy scratch for the Rams on Sunday. Rodger Saffold took over at left tackle, but was injured in the first half and didn't return with a hand injury. The change didn't help the Rams. The line gave up eight QB hits, three sacks and opened few holes for Todd Gurley (13 carries for 50 yards). Credit the Saints for swarming Goff in the second half. This has been a much improved New Orleans defensive front since rookie Sheldon Rankins came back from injury.
  1. The win keeps the Saints in the NFC playoff hunt. New Orleans hosts the NFC North-leading Lions next week followed by winnable games at the Bucs and Cardinals. The Rams continue to spiral. Jeff Fisher's team will have to pull some major upsets just to reach 7-9. L.A. travels to New England before facing the Falcons and Seahawks in the next three weeks. Things could get testy in Los Angeles.
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