NEW ORLEANS — Down 38-35 with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter, the Rams had the Saints in 3rd-and-7 on their own 28. If Los Angeles' defense could hold quarterback Drew Brees and the prolific New Orleans offense in this situation, there would be a clear opportunity for L.A.'s offense to have an opportunity for a go-ahead score.
But, as we know, that didn't happen.
Brees dropped back and fired a strike over the outstretched hand of cornerback Marcus Peters and into the hands of wide receiver Michael Thomas for a 72-yard touchdown.
Detailing the play to reporters postgame, Peters said Thomas "beat me off the line, I looked back and tried to make a play on the ball, [stuff] like that happens in football."
Prior to the snap, it looked as if Peters was trying to communicate something to the rest of the defense. But then the ball was snapped and Thomas darted down the field.
"We were just trying to the line and we were just trying to get something out and it just happened like that — I got beat — communication, all that, regardless, I got beat," Peters said. "Once the play starts, you got to go out there and compete and I didn't and they got off and got a 72-yarder."
One of the pillars of head coach Sean McVay's tenure with the Rams so far has been accountability. It's part of why he so consistently says that he will look at himself critically, and readily self-criticizes when things don't go Los Angeles' way.
Peters did the same postgame, making no excuses for his play. Not every word was fit to print, but he was frank in discussing what he sees as his recent failings.
"I got beat on the play. I can stand up, I can play better, I've been playing [poorly] the last couple weeks and that's just being honest," Peters said. "With me, I'm going to continue to fight and that's the type of player I am. … You're going to get beat in football, but you go out there and you compete to the highest of your ability and [stuff] happens."
Given that he suffered a calf injury against the Chargers in Week 3 and never missed a game, Peters was asked if he was fully healthy. He didn't necessarily take kindly to the line of questioning, but eventually ceded, "I'm healthy now."
"If I wasn't healthy, coach wouldn't have me out there," Peters said. "Like I said, I've had a bad couple of weeks you feel me? I own up to that and I step up to that. I'm a top [expletive] corner in this league and I ain't been playing like that. You can put that on me."
"I get beat sometimes, but I go back and I change to go do what I've been doing — every week to week, day to day, grinding — I come out here and I compete my ass off," Peters later added.
Despite Peters' comments, safety Lamarcus Joyner defended his teammate when the corner's self-criticism was brought to his attention.
"Marcus Peters is a liar. I think he's been playing well as a teammate," Joyner said. "Everyone has their adversity, you can turn on the tape and you can see where I had my mistakes, you can see where X and O and Y had their mistakes, so I don't think he should feel like that.
"He makes some plays and he gives up some plays," Joyner continues, "but that's part of being in the NFL and that's part of a guy that's been an All-Pro in this league. And we expect greatness, so we just have to accept that."