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FFL: Week 8 | NFL: Week 8

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
Kerryon Johnson Oct 22 4:23pm ET

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) underwent a procedure on his injured knee Tuesday, Oct. 22, and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Matt Patricia.

Fantasy Spin: Initial reports had Johnson missing "some time," but an IR designation would pretty much knock him out for the rest of the season. Sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson should handle the majority of snaps in his absence and should be added in all leagues, while J.D. McKissic figures to take the bulk of the work in the passing game. It's also entirely possible the Lions bring back C.J. Anderson to assume at least part of the early-down workload after cutting him earlier in the season.

From TheHuddle

Ramik Wilson Oct 22 4:13pm ET

Arizona Cardinals LB Ramik Wilson was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Deone Bucannon Oct 22 4:03pm ET

Free-agent LB Deone Bucannon (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the New York Giants on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Adam Thielen Oct 22 3:53pm ET

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Logan Paulsen Oct 22 3:43pm ET

Houston Texans TE Logan Paulsen was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Deebo Samuel Oct 22 3:40pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers expect wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) to return in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers. Samuel missed Week 7 but appears ready to practice and play against a tough Panthers pass defense this Sunday. Despite showing exciting flashes this season, the rookie is averaging just 4.4 targets and 33.6 yards per game. His fantasy value will be further impaired with the acquisition of veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders. With the Niners leaning heavily on their running game and tight end George Kittle dominating target share, Samuel is gradually fading from redraft relevance. Hell be a desperation WR5 if he suits on in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Marcus Sherels Oct 22 3:23pm ET

Minnesota Vikings CB Marcus Sherels was released on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

Malik Hooker Oct 22 3:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts S Malik Hooker (knee) told reporters he expects to play in Week 8 versus the Denver Broncos. Hooker has been sidelined since Week 3 with a torn meniscus.

From TheHuddle

Emmanuel Sanders Oct 22 3:20pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers traded for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Denver Broncos on Tuesday. Reported by ESPNs Adam Schefter, the Niners will ship 2020 third and fourth round picks to Denver for Sanders and a 2020 fifth rounder. The 10-year pro should instantly upgrade a Niners receiving corps that have been anonymous outside of stud tight end George Kittle. However, Sanders should be downgraded fantasy-wise as he enters a run-heavy offense while competing for looks against Kittle, a versatile backfield and an amalgam of wideouts. Hell be a risky WR3 in Week 8 against a tough Carolina Panthers pass defense. Other losers in the deal are receivers Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel (groin) and Marquise Goodwin who all continue to slide outside of fantasy relevance.

From RotoBaller

Mohamed Sanu Oct 22 3:20pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will make his Patriots debut in Week 8 against a Browns Defense that is allowing the 14th fewest fantasy points to receivers. Sanu was acquired via trade from the Falcons and immediately brings size and physicality to a banged up wide receiving group in New England. Sanu caught 66 passes last season for 838 yards and four touchdowns but has been held to only 313 yards with one touchdown this season. Sanu is an excellent addition as a player that can bring the kind of size in the red zone that the Patriots have been lacking due to a banged up Josh Gordon and Rob Gronkowski's retirement in the preseason. Sanu should be thrown right into the mix against a Browns defense that has allowed 10-plus fantasy points to eight different receivers this season. He may lack the amount of targets, however, to garner anything higher than a WR4 play in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Oct 22 3:03pm ET

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders was traded along with a 2020 fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for 2020 third- and fourth-round picks on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Fantasy Spin: A move to San Francisco makes a ton of sense since his learning curve should not be steep; Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello was hired by Denver in the offseason in part to install the kind of offense 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan runs. Sanders should quickly become the top receiver in Shanahan's offense and serve as a high-end fantasy WR3 in short order.

From TheHuddle

Malcolm Smith Oct 22 2:23pm ET

Free-agent LB Malcolm Smith (49ers) was signed to an undisclosed contract by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

E.J. Gaines Oct 22 1:43pm ET

Free-agent CB E.J. Gaines (Bills) is visiting the Houston Texans Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

De'Anthony Thomas Oct 22 1:03pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR De'Anthony Thomas was released Tuesday, Oct. 22. QB Kyle Shurmur was signed to the 53-man roster. DT Braxton Hoyett was re-signed to the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Adam Thielen Oct 22 12:43pm ET

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is improving quickly, and he has a chance to play in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 24, according to head coach Mike Zimmer.

Fantasy Spin: Thielen would be a WR1 against the Washington Redskins, and the entire offense would suffer if he were out. Keep tabs on him Wednesday.

From TheHuddle

DeAndrew White Oct 22 12:03pm ET

Free-agent WR Braxton Miller (Browns) was signed to the Carolina Panthers' practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 22. CB Natrell Jamerson (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, and WR DeAndrew White was signed to the 53-man roster.

From TheHuddle

Adrian Peterson Oct 22 11:33am ET

Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) has a Grade 1 high ankle sprain and a Grade 2 low ankle sprain.

Fantasy Spin: The Redskins play the Minnesota Vikings Thursday night, and it doesn't seem likely that Peterson will be available. Wendell Smallwood could see a larger role and be worth slotting in as a flex.

From TheHuddle

Mohamed Sanu Oct 22 8:43am ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu was acquired by the New England Patriots Tuesday, Oct. 22, in exchange for a second-round pick. The Patriots previously tried to acquire Sanu during the NFL draft.

Fantasy Spin: Sanu has been quiet with a 33-313-1 line in seven games this season, but he is a good possession receiver whose value in PPR leagues increases a bit. He should be rostered in all formats, but give him a week or two to get acclimated before you can expect results in your flex spot.

From TheHuddle

Datone Jones Oct 22 8:33am ET

Free-agent DT Datone Jones (Jaguars) is visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars Tuesday, Oct. 22.

From TheHuddle

New England Patriots Oct 22 3:20am ET

The New England Patriots Defense stifled the Jets from the opening drive as the team cruised to a 33-0 win on Monday Night Football. The Jets offense rarely stood a chance as the Patriots held Jets quarterback Sam Darnold to a 34% completion percentage, 86 passing yards and a quarterback rating of 3.6. New England also intercepted Darnold four times and the unit now has two shutouts on the season. The Patriots defense has quickly emerged as, by far, the best defense in the NFL and will be the top fantasy option at the position heading into Week 8's action.

From RotoBaller