Meredith helps Saints beat Rams 28-0
Meredith caught two passes for 72 yards and a touchdown in a 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in the teams’ preseason finale Thursday night. The former Bears wide receiver was one of the top free agents signed by the Saints, who brought him in even though he had major knee surgery last fall.
Meredith’s rehab from the injury has gone well, but he was limited in training camp and didn’t catch a pass in the first three preseason games. In this one, though, he had no restrictions.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Meredith said. “All these opportunities and plays that I was able to make tonight really help me going into (the regular season).”
Meredith caught a 56-yard pass from Taysom Hill to set up rookie Boston Scott’s 4-yard touchdown run for the game’s first score in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Hill threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Meredith for a 12-0 halftime lead.
Hill targeted Meredith throughout the first half, overthrowing him on a 2-point conversion attempt and a third-down pass into the end zone before Wil Lutz’s 34-yard field goal. That made it 15-0 for the Saints (3-1).
Next up for Meredith is a chance to team up with starting quarterback Drew Brees in the regular season.
In the third quarter, two linebackers competing for one of the final spots on the Saints’ roster teamed up for a touchdown. Colton Jumper blocked a punt, Jayrone Elliott picked up the ball and ran 2 yards for a touchdown.
Jonathan Williams ran 3 yards for a touchdown that completed the scoring in the fourth quarter.
“We finished the preseason well on both sides of the ball,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “I thought we won both lines of scrimmages, which is always important. Our special teams were outstanding. We blocked a punt while rushing six guys.”
The Rams (2-2), like the Saints, rested most of their starters in order to focus on players competing for the final roster spots. LA coach Sean McVay didn’t play any of his offensive starters in the preseason.
Third-year quarterback Brandon Allen started in place of Jared Goff and played into the third quarter, going 7 of 13 for 57 yards and an interception.
Rookie free agent Nick Holley, a converted quarterback from Kent State, started in place of Todd Gurley and rushed 11 times for 31 yards.
“Tonight was a tough night,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “We have a lot of tough decisions to make over the next couple of days. We feel good about where we are as a team in terms of our health. We’re doing our best to take steps one day at a time to be at our best on Sept. 10. We’re looking forward to getting started with these games that count.”
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, whom New Orleans acquired in a trade with the New York Jets on Wednesday, was on the Saints sideline but was not in uniform.
“I don’t mind waiting,” Bridgewater said. “I get to learn with one of the best players to ever play this game.”
He was brought in to back up Brees and perhaps someday replace the 39-year-old quarterback.
“(He makes) good decisions, accurate, smart, can move, can make the first guy miss,” Payton said. “He’s a winner. He won in college. He’s won in the NFL.”
It did not appear that any players chose to sit, kneel or stay off the field while the national anthem was sung.
Rams: No injuries.
Saints: G Andrus Peat went to the locker room accompanied by a member of the training staff in the first quarter and did not return. He underwent surgery for a broken fibula and ligament damage in January. DT Taylor Stallworth was escorted to the sideline by trainers after being tended to in the fourth quarter.
Rams: visit Oakland on Sept. 10.
Saints: host Tampa Bay on Sept. 9.