New Orleans, La.| The N.F.L.’s last unbeaten team Los Angeles Rams (8-1), fell victim to a scorching hot New Orleans Saints (7-1) team, by a score of 45-35.
The Saints have won their last seven games, while running back Alvin Kamara scored three touchdowns before halftime Sunday night.
Kamara had some added inspiration for this game, as a close friend, New Orleans rapper known as Young Greatness, was shot and killed, just hours after speaking with Kamara.
“It was tough,” Kamara told a group of reporters after the game. “That’s been a close friend of mine for a long time, so I’m just trying to deal with it.”
At Kamara’s request, Young Greatness’s hit “Moolah” was played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during pregame warmup, according to the New York Times.
“I’m happy they played it,” Kamara said.
That just gave me a boost, and I know he would’ve been here going crazy.’’
In the final quarter, Saints receiver Michael Thomas caught a 72-yard touchdown pass from the future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, to help secure the victory with 3 minutes and 52 seconds remaining in the game.
Brees threw for 346 yards and four touchdowns, while Thomas caught 12 passes for a franchise-record 211 yards.
“I live for games like this,” Thomas told ESPN.
However, Thomas kept the Rams hopes alive when he picked up a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the touchdown, after honoring former Saints receiver Joe Horn with a cell phone celebration.
When asked where the phone came from Thomas said, “I think Joe Horn left the phone.”
Thomas hid the cellphone at the bottom of the goal posts prior to Sunday game against the LA. Rams.
The Saints are struggling to get production out of receivers not named Thomas this season.
Ted Ginn Jr. is on injured reserve with a knee injury, and rookie Tre’Quan Smith has shown promise.
However, Smith have been inconsistent, taking majority of the snaps as the number two receiver.
Receivers Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall both worked out for the Saints earlier this week, with the Saints eventually signing Bryant to a one-year deal.
The defense came up big for the Saints after the Thomas penalty.
After forcing the Rams to turn over the ball on downs the ensuing possession, head Coach Sean Payton ran the remaining time off the clock.
“It’s like giving the ball to Michael Jordan,’’ linebacker Demario Davis told ESPN. “The defense got you, when the game is on the line.’’
The win allows the Saints to own the critical head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams if necessary.
The Saints are positioned at the top of seeding in the NFC playoff standing.
New Orleans would be the host team if there would be a rematch come January.
“We will have to see that Rams team again,” defensive lineman Cameron Jordan told ESPN. “I’m just glad they’ll have to come back to the Dome.”
The Saints return to action Sunday, Nov. 11, against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincinnati comes into the match up after a game-winning field goal on the final play, to secure a 37-34 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kickoff is set for noon.