Saints vs. Rams 2013: Shocking loss clouds playoff outlook in New Orleans

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Bloggers react to the Saints' unexpected loss in St. Louis.

The New Orleans Saints were supposed to roll to an easy win over the St. Louis Rams and lock up a playoff berth. Instead, the Rams came out firing and cruised to a surprisingly easy 27-16 win.

Drew Brees threw interceptions on the Saints' first two drives and Jeff Fisher pulled a page out of Sean Payton's playbook with a surprise onside kick as the Rams jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead. That lead would swell to 24-3 by halftime, and though a pair of fourth-quarter scores kept the Saints hanging around, they couldn't pull off the comeback.

One of the keys to keeping Brees and the dangerous Saints offense from pulling back into the game was the play of running back Zac Stacy, who's 133-yard, one-touchdown game helped the Rams control the pace down the stretch. Turf Show Times breaks down his impressive rookie season:

Zac Stacy is the real thing. The tough-running... fifth-round draft choice has made believers out of Rams fans. He now has 854 rushing yards to go with six touchdowns. Each and every yard has been hard-fought. The former Vanderbilt star and SEC rushing leader is on track to hitting 1,000 rushing yards in his rookie season. Not bad, eh? What makes this young man really special is that he's a capable receiver as well as good in pass blocking situations. He's the entire package NFL coaches dream of finding.

At 10-4, the Saints playoff picture is now unexpectedly muddled. Jon Oliver of Canal St. Chronicles helps us sift through their postseason outlook.

The Saints must prepare for another road game next weekend, for a rematch against the Carolina Panthers (10-4), whose win against the New York Jets (6-8) just tied things up in the division race. New Orleans must defeat the Panthers a second time next week, in order to win the NFC South division.

With the loss tonight, the Saints have little-to-no chance of getting the NFC's No. 1 seed overall. Which means the game in North Carolina is now even more important than ever, as New Orleans needs to win the division and at least grab the No. 2 seed to avoid a lowly Wild Card.

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