Saints by the Numbers: Milestone lows abound in loss to Rams

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Saints Bridgewater Rams
(Photo: Stephen Lew)

The story of the Saints’ 27-9 loss to the Rams Sunday in Los Angeles will be more about Drew Brees’ unknown-extent thumb injury and a third straight blown officials’ call that worked against New Orleans.

But when it was all said and done, Brees or no Brees behind center, it was one of the worst offensive performances since Brees and Sean Payton arrived in town in 2006.

For only the third time since then, the Saints failed to score a touchdown. For only the fifth time in that span, the Saints gained less than 250 total yards. And for the first time, both happened in the same game.

The other games without a touchdown were on Nov. 30, 2015 at Houston (a 24-6 loss) and Dec. 11, 2016 at Tampa Bay (a 16-11 defeat).

The games with the fewest yards – two of which did not include Brees behind center for much of the game:

Date: Opponent —  Yards,  Result
Nov. 29, 2018: at Dallas — 176,   L, 13-10
Dec. 2, 2013: at Seattle — 188,  L, 34-7
Jan. 3, 2010: at Carolina * — 213,   L, 23-10
Sep. 15, 2019: at L.A. Rams # — 244,  L, 27-9
Dec. 2, 2007:  vs. Tampa Bay — 246,   L, 27-23

*Brees DNP
#Brees injured

Since 2006, the other 31 NFL teams each had at least one game when it both failed to score a touchdown and gain 250 total yards. It had happened 241 times in that span, and teams in that situation won only seven of those games.

More Double-Digit Catches: Michael Thomas had 10 receptions for the second consecutive game, though the Rams kept him from gaining many yards after the catch, as Thomas finished with only 89 receiving yards.

Of his 11 career 10-catch games – tied for the most in the NFL since Thomas’ rookie season of 2016 – Sunday was the third time in his career Thomas has had 10 or more catches but less than 100 yards. The first of those came a year ago this weekend, when he had 11 receptions for 98 yards against Cleveland.

Before last season, Saints wide receivers had only had a total of three games with double-figure catches without reaching 100 yards: Wes Chandler at Green Bay in 1979, Willie Jackson vs. San Francisco in January 2002 and Willie Snead vs. Detroit in 2015.

The Saints are just 6-5 in games where Thomas reaches double figures in catches.

Can’t Run, Can’t Win: The Saints finished with 57 rushing yards against the Rams, their fewest since last year’s season opener against Tampa Bay. New Orleans also had 57 in Week 16 of last season against Pittsburgh.

The Steelers game snapped a 13-game losing streak for the Saints in games which they rushed for 60 yards or less, so with Sunday’s loss, the Saints are now 1-14 since October 2012 – and 8-28 since 2006 – when failing to exceed 60 yards on the ground.

Starting Again? If Brees is out next week and Teddy Bridgewater gets the start, he will be the first player not named Brees to start multiple games at quarterback for the Saints since Payton arrived.

Starters at quarterback in the 210 Saints regular-season games since the start of 2006:

Drew Brees 207
Teddy Bridgewater 1
Mark Brunell 1
Luke McCown 1

Since Brees arrived in New Orleans, only his replacement with the Chargers, Philip Rivers (210), and New Orleans native Eli Manning (209) have started more games at quarterback.

Research assistance provided by the website database Pro Football Reference.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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