Dalton thrives, Stafford leaves as Saints top Rams 27-20

Nov 19, 2022, 11:15 PM | Updated: Nov 20, 2022, 6:38 pm

New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton passes against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of...

New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton passes against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Andy Dalton could sense the Rams’ Aaron Donald closing quickly from the left edge on a third-and-9 play late in the third quarter of a three-point game.

New Orleans’ quarterback unloaded a high, deep throw down the middle of the field a moment before being flung to the turf. The crescendo of cheers filling the Superdome let Dalton know that rookie receiver Chris Olave had run under the ball, caught it and dove across the goal line for a pivotal 53-yard score.

Dalton passed for three touchdowns, Los Angeles QB Matthew Stafford left the field to be evaluated for a concussion in the second half and New Orleans defeated the reeling Rams 27-20 on Sunday.

“I was pretty aware,” Dalton said with a grin when asked if he noticed Donald’s imposing, All-Pro presence barreling in from his blind side as he released his deep scoring pass. “Half a second longer, that’s a sack (or) incomplete pass. … If you can play on time at the quarterback position and get the ball out, good things can happen.”

While good things indeed happened for a Saints offense looking to bounce back from its worst games this season during the previous two weeks, the defending champion Rams (3-7) were dealt another bad break en route to their fourth straight loss.

Stafford’s departure came two days after he’d been cleared to return from the NFL’s concussion protocol.

After the game, the Rams said Stafford is not in concussion protocol again, but a decision on that will come after more tests in the coming days.

“Obviously we need to make a smart decision for Matthew and see where we’re at,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “I know how he was feeling, and we made the decision it was going to be in his best interest to not have him continue to play.”

Stafford was effective in the first half, after which the Rams led 14-10, and he left the game having completed 11 of 18 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yarder to Tutu Atwell.

He appeared to hit his head on the turf during a third-quarter possession and was subsequently sacked by blitzing linebacker Demario Davis and defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon to end the last drive he played before walking down the tunnel toward the locker room.

And even before Stafford left, the Rams lost left tackle Ty Nsekhe to an ankle injury.

“The truth is, overcoming some of those things becomes a real challenge and changes the way that you’re really able to operate,” McVay said.

Stafford was replaced by Bryce Perkins, who led the Rams to a field goal on his first series, but struggled thereafter and was sacked twice to stall his third series late in the fourth quarter, all but sealing the game’s result. Los Angeles didn’t pull within a touchdown until Matt Gay’s 58-yard field goal with 6 seconds remaining and the Saints recovered a subsequent onside kick.

Dalton’s performance validated a decision by the Saints (4-7) to stick with him rather than go back to Jameis Winston, who has not played since Week 3, when he was struggling with back and ankle injuries, but has said he’s ready to return.

Dalton, who completed 21 of 25 passes for 260 yards, credited the coaches for dialing up an aggressive game plan and urging players to try to have fun with it.

“What we need to do is cut it loose. Why not?” Dalton said. “That’s just the mindset, the mentality that we have to have.”

Saints defenders combined for four sacks, with 1 1/2 each coming from end Carl Granderson and linebacker Kaden Ellis, a pair of young reserves taking more snaps because of injuries.

“We’re well aware of where we’re at in the season,” said first-year coach Dennis Allen, who also calls the defense. “Our guys came out and they were swinging today. It was good to see.”

Former LSU star and Louisiana native Jarvis Landry caught his first touchdown pass as a Saint when Dalton found him over the middle from 7 yards to put the Saints in front for good at 17-14 early in the third quarter.

The Rams had an early 7-3 lead when Stafford spotted Atwell in one-on-one coverage with Chris Harris Jr. and dropped a deep pass into the receiver’s arms along the left sideline.

New Orleans went back in front on Dalton’s 8-yard pass to tight end Juwan Johnson before Stafford hit Allen Robinson from 6 yards at the end of the first half to make it 14-10.


Rams: In addition to Stafford and Nsekhe, defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson left in the first half with a knee injury.

Saints: Payton Turner was carted off in the second quarter with an apparent left leg injury, leaving New Orleans without three defensive ends (Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport were ruled out on Friday).


Rams: At Kansas City on Nov. 27.

Saints: At San Francisco on Nov. 27.


AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Dalton thrives, Stafford leaves as Saints top Rams 27-20