By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
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.
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.
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.
Saints: Staying on the West Coast this week to face the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.
Rams: At the Cleveland Browns next Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (ankle) won't practice Wednesday, but the team wants to see where he's at by the end of the week. The team signed running backs Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris for depth, but Johnson still has a chance to play. The breakout of running back Chase Edmonds doesn't give them any urgency to run Johnson out there. Edmonds is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and he went off last week with 27 carries for 126 yards and three touchdowns against a weaker opponent. The New Orleans Saints are a tougher matchup. If Johnson is able to play, he'll be a high-end RB2, and Edmonds would fall to flex status. Conversely, if Johnson is out, Edmonds is the high-end RB2.
Updating an earlier report, Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (knee) will throw the ball today at practice, and they'll see if he can make it through the individual period.
Fantasy Spin: We'll need to see more to believe he's going to play this weekend. Obviously, he should be in your lineups if he goes.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (ankle) is out of practice Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: The team signed Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris to shore up their depleted backfield, but Johnson has a chance to play. However, it's trending toward Chase Edmonds being an RB2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (knee) will practice Wednesday, Oct. 23, but QB Matt Moore will take the majority of team repetitions. Head coach Andy Reid didn't rule out Mahomes playing in Week 8.
Fantasy Spin: We'd put Mahomes on the wrong side of questionable this week and look toward other options. Moore isn't worth consideration unless you play two quarterbacks.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott has made every single kick so far this season, but his fantasy value has suffered due to an all-around struggling offense. Elliott has only attempted eight field goals and 17 extra points, and while he's made all of them, he currently ranks as just the 20th best kicker in standard scoring leagues. Most waiver wires will have a kicker who, while perhaps less consistent himself, will have more consistent scoring opportunities. Elliott's fantasy owners may need to consider moving on.
The Philadelphia Eagles Defense is not a strong fantasy option for a Week 8 road matchup against the Buffalo Bills. While the 5-1 Bills have mostly been winning games thanks to their defense, they have an offensive unit with the potential to put up big numbers at times. The Eagles are coming off a rough 37-10 loss to the Cowboys, and the offense has not been able to do the defense any favors. Despite getting a bit healthier in the secondary, the Eagles defense is not even on the streaming radar this week.
Detroit Lions RB Paul Perkins was added to the 53-man roster Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Perkins is worth the deeper-league pickup with Kerryon Johnson (knee) hitting IR. Ty Johnson takes over as the lead back, and Perkins could become a factor quickly.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (ankle) is unlikely to suit up in Week 8.
Fantasy Spin: Continue to stash Green, but at 0-7, there is little reason to rush him back. Auden Tate continues to show flashes on the awful team, and he's a flex option against the Los Angeles Rams.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is looking at another tough matchup in Week 8. The Eagles will be in Buffalo to take on the Bills and their difficult defense. Ertz is coming off a disappointing two-catch, 38 yard performance in Week 7 and could put up a similar performance this week. With the Eagles offense struggling to move the ball in general and especially struggling to stretch the field, opposing defenses have been able to zone in on Ertz and remove him from a lot of plays. He's still a TE1 this week, but that speaks more to the lack of depth at the position.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert is not a good bet to put up big numbers in Week 8. The Eagles travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills and their tough defense. Goedert led the team in receiving in Week 7 and scored a touchdown, but that's unlikely to happen again this week. Goedert is a middling option in two-tight end leagues at best and should not be started in single tight end formats.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor is not a good idea in fantasy starting lineups for Week 8. The Eagles will be on the road going up against the Buffalo Bills and their stingy defense. Agholor has made just seven catches since Week 3, and appeared to completely give up on a very catchable pass last week. He's got NFL speed, but severely lacks NFL hands and is only an average route runner. Even if DeSean Jackson (abdomen) misses another game, Agholor is just a zero-floor WR5 dart throw.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Mack Hollins is completely off the fantasy radar for Week 8. The Eagles will be in Buffalo to take on the Bills, and Hollins has not made a catch since Week 4 despite starting in three-wide sets in place of the injured DeSean Jackson (abdomen). He's droppable in all but the deepest fantasy formats.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside came into the season with plenty of hype, but he has not even seen a pass thrown his way since Week 3. Arcega-Whiteside remains an intriguing dynasty/keeper player, but doesn't belong on a redraft league roster and shouldn't be anywhere close to a starting lineup. Almost all waiver wires will have more useful wide receivers for Week 8, even in the deepest leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders is not a particularly eye-opening option in a Week 8 fantasy lineup. With the Eagles on the road taking on a tough Buffalo Bills Defense, Sanders and the whole Eagles offense could struggle on Sunday. Last week against the Cowboys, Sanders ran for just 21 yards and caught three passes for 11 yards. He's looking at a potentially similar stat line this week, making him no better than a mid-range RB3.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will be in a rough spot in Week 8. The Eagles will be on the road in Buffalo to battle their tough defense. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) possibly looking at another missed game, Jeffery will receive top wideout attention from the Bills secondary. He's coming off a two-catch, 38 yard performance against the Cowboys, and more of the same can be expected in this one. Jeffery is a moderate-upside, low-floor WR2/3 this week.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (foot) is out of practice Wednesday, Oct. 23, as expected.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard might only play a fantasy relevant role in Week 8 if he is able to score a touchdown. Howard and the Eagles travel to Buffalo to take on a tough Bills Defense. While Howard has handled almost all early-down and goal line work lately, he has not put together many yards and is a complete non-factor in the passing game. He's looking at another game that could possibly be similar to his 50-yard performance in Week 7. Howard is a risky RB3 with a concerning floor this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (quadriceps) is expected to play in Week 8 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Fantasy Spin: Conner is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, but he has scored touchdowns in two games straight. The Chargers are a good matchup for the RB2.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz could have a hard time in Week 8 on the road against the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles offense looked like a mess in Week 7 against the Cowboys, with Wentz throwing for just 191 yards on 16 completed passes. The Bills Defense poses another threat to Wentz and the whole Philly offense. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) still not a sure thing to suit up, it looks like a week to fade every fantasy-relevant Eagle a bit. Wentz is more of a high-end QB2 this week.
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) underwent a procedure on Tuesday morning and will miss at least eight weeks while on injured reserve. After many had hoped that the 22-year-old would be in store for a breakout season, Johnson disappointed by compiling just 308 yards and three total touchdowns while averaging a subpar 3.3 yards per carry throughout six games. With his season potentially over, Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic will take over, with Johnson potentially getting the bulk of the carries on the ground and McKissic being involved catching passes out of the backfield. How exactly the time will be split is unknown at the moment in addition to the team also rumored to make a deal before the trade deadline.