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Brees injured, Rams beat Saints 27-9 in title game rematch

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By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

Players: Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Tyler Higbee, Brandin Cooks, Todd Gurley, Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff, Keith Kirkwood, Alvin Kamara

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp celebrates after a long run with head coach Sean McVay during the second half of an NFL football game New Orleans Saints Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, right, is sacked by New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams can't get a hand on a incomplete pass intended for Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (89) as Eli Apple, right, looks on during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks, left, catches a pass inform of New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


LOS ANGELES (AP) When Drew Brees went to the sideline holding his injured throwing hand, this NFC championship game rematch - and maybe this season's Super Bowl race - dramatically changed in an instant.

Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams didn't waste the opportunity created by Brees' absence to beat the Saints again. And with no help from a no-call this time.

Goff passed for 283 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score, and the Rams stopped New Orleans from scoring an offensive touchdown for the first time since 2016 during Los Angeles' 27-9 victory Sunday.

A strong performance by the Rams' defense, an impressive second half from Goff's offense, and another officiating decision that hurt the Saints were all overshadowed by Brees' departure late in the first quarter.

''I told him I'm hoping for the best,'' Goff said of his postgame chat with Brees. ''He's a great player for this league, a face of the league, and somebody we need in the league.''

Brees' throwing hand collided with Aaron Donald's outstretched hand while he threw an incompletion on the Saints' second drive, and the NFL's career leader in yards passing spent the afternoon on the Coliseum sideline with his thumb heavily wrapped. Brees will see a hand specialist Sunday night, he said.

''There is only so much you can do here as far as a doctor seeing it on the sideline,'' Brees said. ''Hoping it is not too significant.''

Teddy Bridgewater went 17 of 30 for 165 yards in solid relief, while Alvin Kamara rushed for just 45 yards for the Saints (1-1), who seemed understandably discombobulated without their longtime quarterback - although the Rams' defense deserves plenty of credit as well.

Brees' absence ''really didn't change anything at all for us,'' Rams pass rusher Dante Fowler said. ''We were doing a good job before he got hurt. Everybody was on top of their game.''

New Orleans didn't score an offensive touchdown for only the fourth time in 13-plus seasons under coach Sean Payton, who got a lengthy contract extension before the game.

''It is going to be a hard film to watch for guys,'' Payton said. ''We got whipped up front.''

Todd Gurley rushed for 63 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season late in the third quarter of this rematch of the Rams' 26-23 overtime win in New Orleans last January. That game turned on the infamous uncalled pass interference late in regulation by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who had six tackles in the rematch.

''Every win is a big win, but today was a very important win,'' Robey-Coleman said. ''It was a win that basically just closed all the chatter and the naysaying.''

This one also contained early refereeing drama that left the Saints steamed: New Orleans' Cameron Jordan had a long fumble return for a touchdown wiped out in the second quarter. The play initially was ruled an incomplete pass before video review determined Goff had fumbled, but Jordan's long return didn't count because officials had blown the play dead.

Jordan was still furious after the game, even referring to the refs as ''the Foot Locker'' and saying certain members of the officiating crew ''were maybe in their prime a decade ago.''

''If Drew is down, it's on the defense,'' Jordan added. ''I take it upon me. I don't know how many times we hit Jared Goff, but it wasn't enough. We've got to create more turnovers.''

The Saints were hampered by 11 penalties for 87 yards, while the Rams' offense recovered from a slow start to make three straight touchdown drives in the second half.

But this matchup between two of the most prolific offenses in NFL history was definitely not a fireworks show, between Brees' absence and the inconsistent performance of Los Angeles coach Sean McVay's offense. The Rams failed to score a touchdown in the first half for only the third time in McVay's tenure.

KUPP RUNNETH OVER EVERYBODY

Shortly after Brandin Cooks caught a TD pass, Cooper Kupp made the play of the game with a spectacular 67-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter. Goff scored after Kupp was ruled down at the 1 by video review.

''It was like something you only see in a football movie,'' Cooks said with a laugh.

Kupp finished with five catches for 120 yards, while Goff surpassed 10,000 career yards passing.

INJURIES

Both teams had far too many. Along with Brees, the Saints lost left guard Andrus Peat to an ankle injury in the second half. Linebacker A.J. Klein also went to the locker room in the second half. Backup receiver Keith Kirkwood was ruled out with a hamstring injury in pregame warmups.

The Rams lost two offensive starters: right guard Austin Blythe injured his ankle in the first half, and tight end Tyler Higbee incurred a chest injury early in the second half.

Donald missed part of the first half with a back injury, but the two-time Defensive Player of the Year returned.

LAST SHOW

The game was the Rams' final home opener at the 96-year-old Coliseum: They'll move into SoFi Stadium in Inglewood next season. The Rams and Chargers unveiled the name of their multibillion-dollar complex before the game.

UP NEXT

Saints: Staying on the West Coast this week to face the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.

Rams: At the Cleveland Browns next Sunday.

Player Notes
Marcus Peters Oct 16 1:33am ET

Updating a previous report, the Baltimore Ravens traded a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft to the Los Angeles Rams as part of the deal for CB Marcus Peters, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

From TheHuddle

Benjamin Watson Oct 16 1:13am ET

Updating a previous report, the New England Patriots re-signed free agent TE Benjamin Watson on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

From TheHuddle

Adam Humphries Oct 15 10:33pm ET

Tennessee Titans WR Adam Humphries ranked second among the team's wide receivers behind Corey Davis with 43 offensive snaps played in Week 6.

Fantasy Spin: It was Humphries' highest snap count since Week 3. A rather large disappointment since signing a four-year, $36 million contract as a free agent this offseason, Humphries has just 21 receptions for 189 yards and no touchdowns on the season. He'll now have to recreate chemistry with newly-named starter QB Ryan Tannehill. He'll remain off of the fantasy radar until able to prove his worth.

From TheHuddle

Marcus Mariota Oct 15 9:43pm ET

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota will be replaced by backup Ryan Tannehill Sunday, Oct. 20, for the Week 7 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, sources told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Fantasy Spin: Mariota should be kept in dynasty leagues, as the former No. 2 overall pick will surely get a look elsewhere is the Titans choose to part ways, but his time in Tennessee appears to be done. He can be dropped in all redraft formats and all but the deepest of keeper leagues.

From TheHuddle

Oct 15 9:43pm ET

New York Jets DB Bennett Jackson was signed by the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

From TheHuddle

Jalen Mills Oct 15 9:33pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles CB Jalen Mills (hamstring) returned to practice Tuesday, Oct. 15.

From TheHuddle

Ryan Tannehill Oct 15 9:33pm ET

Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill was informed Tuesday, Oct. 15, he'll get the Week 7 start against the Los Angeles Chargers, sources told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Fantasy Spin: Tannehill becomes nothing more than a low-end QB2 even in an adequate matchup. He can be scooped up in deeper two-quarterback leagues, but he shouldn't be started this week unless there are no other available options.

From TheHuddle

Peyton Barber Oct 15 9:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Dare Ogunbowale led the backfield with 46 offensive snaps played in the Week 6 matchup against the Carolina Panthers. Peyton Barber played 19 snaps and Ronald Jones saw just 13.

Fantasy Spin: Ogunbowale was rarely used when on the field, rushing just once for a three-yard touchdown while catching three of five passes for 22 yards. The Bucs trailed by large amounts for much of the game so this one-game sample shouldn't be worth much. Jones remains the most appealing of the three.

From TheHuddle

Stephon Tuitt Oct 15 9:23pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 15.

From TheHuddle

Jalen Ramsey Oct 15 8:23pm ET

Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey was acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars Tuesday, Oct. 15, in exchange for a 2020 first-round draft pick, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick, the Jaguars announced.

From TheHuddle

Alvin Kamara Oct 15 8:23pm ET

New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara (ankle) is dealing with a high-ankle type issue that will limit him in practice through the week, a source told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero Tuesday, Oct. 15. Kamara believes he still has a shot to play against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Oct. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Latavius Murray becomes a hot commodity on waiver wires wherever he's available. He doesn't possess Kamara-level abilities in the passing game, but he'll see the necessary volume on the ground even in a difficult matchup. Dwayne Washington is the only other RB on the roster.

From TheHuddle

Marcus Peters Oct 15 7:53pm ET

Baltimore Ravens CB Marcus Peters will make his debut with the team Sunday, Oct. 20, against the Seattle Seahawks, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter Tuesday, Oct. 15.

From TheHuddle

Theo Riddick Oct 15 7:23pm ET

Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock (thumb), RB Theo Riddick (shoulder), TE Jake Butt (knee) and WR Tim Patrick (hand) are likely to return to practice next week, according to Mike Klis of 9News Tuesday, Oct. 15. Only two of the four will be able to be activated at that time.

From TheHuddle

Alex Smith Oct 15 7:13pm ET

Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith (leg) was spotted on the practice field Monday, Oct. 14, by Ben Standig of The Athletic. Smith is 11 months removed from the leg injury which ended his 2018 season and threatens his career. The veteran was throwing a variety of routes with two team officials and was later seen with a compression sleeve on his leg.

From TheHuddle

Jason Pierre-Paul Oct 15 6:13pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul (neck) participated in practice Tuesday, Oct. 15, opening the 21-day window for him to be activated to the 53-man roster. Pierre-Paul has spent all season on the Non-Football Injury list following an offseason car accident.

From TheHuddle

Emmanuel Sanders Oct 15 6:03pm ET

Denver Broncos CB Bryce Callahan (foot) was listed as a non-participant in practice Tuesday, Oct. 15, while CB Duke Dawson (foot), OT Ja'Wuan James (knee) and DE Derek Wolfe (hip) were limited. DE Shelby Harris (ribs), OG Ronald Leary (shoulder), NT Mike Purcell (knee), WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee) and S Will Parks (wrist) were listed as full participants. All of Tuesday's listings were estimates, as Denver held a walk-through as opposed to a formal practice.

From TheHuddle

Sammy Watkins Oct 15 5:53pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (groin), CB Kendall Fuller (thumb), DT Chris Jones (groin) and OG Andrew Wylie (ankle) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 15. WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) was limited. OT Cameron Erving (groin), LB Anthony Hitchens (groin), DT Derrick Nnadi (elbow), LB Dorian O'Daniel (hamstring), OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle), WR Tyreek Hill (shoulder), QB Patrick Mahomes (ankle) and FB Anthony Sherman (shoulder) fully participated in practice.

From TheHuddle

Cody Kessler Oct 15 5:33pm ET

New England Patriots QB Cody Kessler was released Tuesday, Oct. 15.

From TheHuddle

P.J. Williams Oct 15 5:23pm ET

New Orleans Saints CB P.J. Williams was suspended for two games on Tuesday, Oct. 15, for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. He is eligible to return in Week 8 against the Arizona Cardinals.

From TheHuddle

Michael Burton Oct 15 5:23pm ET

Washington Redskins TE Jerome Cunningham (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 15. FB Michael Burton was signed to fill his spot on the roster.

From TheHuddle