NEW ORLEANS — The Rams finished their preseason with a long trip to meet a former division rival, and fell to the Saints 28-0.
As it is for all preseason games, the final score doesn't tell the whole story. With that in mind, here are five takeaways as the preseason comes to an end.
1) Holley runs it
Running back Nick Holley got the offense going early with a few nice runs on Los Angeles' first offensive possession.
Holley rushed five times for 28 yards on that first drive, including a 16-yard run down the left side. On 3rd-and-1 from the New Orleans 34, Holley bounced a handoff outside the end of the line, darting down the field for the big gain.
Los Angeles, however, was unable to capitalize on the scoring opportunity, as quarterback Brandon Allen threw an interception to New Orleans linebacker Alex Anzalone.
2) Key stops
New Orleans seemed to be playing with a bit of a "YOLO" mentality in the first half, and it worked out in the Rams favor.
First the Saints elected to go for two after scoring their first touchdown, but with good coverage on the right side quarterback Taysom Hill's pass was high and incomplete.
The New Orleans decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 at the Los Angeles 20 with a fullback dive. The Rams were there to stuff the play for no gain, however, causing a turnover on downs. Linebackers Trevon Young and Micah Kiser were credited for making the play.
On 4th-and-5 from the Los Angeles 37 midway through the second quarter, New Orleans elected to go for it again. But this time, the Saints got it with Hill scrambling up the middle for an 18-yard gain.
The Saints would score a touchdown to cap that drive, but the Rams once again stopped a two-point conversion attempt by tackling ball carrier Jonathan Williams in the backfield for a loss.
3) Parker gets a pick
Among the many players trying to make a final positive impression in Thursday's contest was defensive back Steven Parker.
The undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma did just that with a third quarter interception.
Midway through the period on 3rd-and-3, Parker picked off quarterback J.T. Barrett on a deep pass down the middle of the field. Parker made an athletic play, first tipping the ball away from the intended receiver and then reeling the ball in before he hit the ground.
Los Angeles could not capitalize on the takeaway, however, as wide receiver Fred Brown fumbled after a third-down reception on the ensuing possession.
4) Perez gets in
Quarterback Luis Perez entered the contest midway through the third quarter for his first action of the preseason.
His outing was up and down, with an early completion to wide receiver JoJo Natson that went for a first down. And while a holding penalty moved L.A. back a few plays later, Perez had consecutive completions to Brown and tight end John Mundt.
In the fourth quarter, however, Perez threw an interception. Facing pressure, the Texas A&M—Commerce product fired a pass over the middle but Saints linebacker Nate Stupar was right in the path of the ball and caught it. Fortunately for the Rams, Stupar fumbled when wide receiver Steven Mitchell punched the ball out and L.A. recovered it. But the throw was not the best from Perez.
Perez finished the game 8-of-15 passing for 43 yards with the pick.
5) Now, the wins and losses count
Preseason is good for acclimating and evaluating, but it seems like everyone is ready for the regular season to start.
Los Angeles finished the preseason 2-2, winning both games at the Coliseum but losing the two contests on the road.
There is plenty of business to attend to, not only with the pending roster reduction but also with the club nearing an agreement on a contract extension with defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
But all along the way, head coach Sean McVay has stressed the importance of getting ready for that Sept. 10 date when the Rams will square off against the Raiders. And now the next time we see Los Angeles' players in uniform, they'll be taking the field in Oakland going for their first 'W' of 2018.