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Saints vs. Rams was a gumbo grudge match for Marcus Peters and Sean Payton

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Marcus Peters waited more than two months for his second chance at Sean Payton and the Saints.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams earned a spot in Super Bowl 53 with a 26-23 win over the New Orleans Saints in a rematch of one of the Rams’ few regular season losses.

The Saints opened November with a 45-35 win against the Rams, led by a franchise-record 211 receiving yards for wide receiver Michael Thomas. It was one of only three losses for the Rams.all year.

Giving up most of those yards was Marcus Peters — a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, who hasn’t lived up to the hype after he was traded to the Rams from the Chiefs in February. Kansas City got a 2019 second-round pick and change out of the deal, while the Rams got a cornerback who gave up six touchdowns and a 109.9 passer rating during the regular season.

But Peters’ rough day against New Orleans gave us something spicy for the rematch. The cornerback was out for some revenge against Saints coach Sean Payton:

Why is there Sean Payton and Marcus Peters beef?

According to Pro Football Focus, Peters was in coverage for seven of Thomas’ receptions and gave up 146 of the receiver’s 211 yards in Week 9. About half of the yardage given up by Peters came on one 72-yard touchdown in the final minutes of the game.

After the game, Payton was asked about the touchdown, and whether or not he was surprised to see Peters — who typically plays on the right side of the field — match up with Thomas on the left side.

“That was the plan,” Payton said, via the Los Angeles Times. “They were going to travel Marcus to him, and that was fine by us. We thought we really liked that matchup — a lot.”

That comment didn’t sit well with Peters. He was asked about it in the locker room and made it clear that he was looking forward to another chance to play the Saints.

“Tell Sean Payton keep talking that shit, we’re going to see him soon,” Peters said. “You feel me? I liked what he was saying on the sidelines too. So I’ll tell [him] ‘Keep talking that shit and I hope you see me soon. You feel me? And then we’re going to have a nice little bowl of gumbo together.”

Peters has never been shy about saying what he feels, so it’s not too surprising that he was so candid after the game. He’s given the football world great quotes like “Shit, where we going? Home?” after the Chiefs’ playoff loss a year ago. There was also this gem in 2017 after he was asked about forcing a fumble.

“That made my game from hella weak to weak, you feel me? I’m not hella weak, I’m just weak this week. Next week I’ll get back on my shit though so yeah.”

It was also unsurprising that Payton deflected questions about Peters’ comments rather than stoke any kind of flames.

“He’s a competitor and we’re focused on this game,” was all Payton gave reporters. In the lead up to the NFC Championship, he was a little more forthcoming, but still respectful.

“He’s someone that we grew real close to in the evaluation process,” Payton said Wednesday, via The Athletic. “He’s from the Bay Area and I used to recruit that area. We came close to drafting him the year we took Andrus [Peat]. It was Peat and Peters. I have great respect for him, and it’s all good.”

Peters also tried to dial back the talk about there being a beef between he and Payton:

“All respect to Sean Payton and what he does,” Peters said. “During the game things were happening, and I just love the fact that he’s a competitor. ... It wasn’t nothing to be disrespectful or anything like that, I was pissed off. I didn’t have the game I wanted to have.”

It’s unclear if Payton actually said anything to Peters from the sideline during the game. That wouldn’t be surprising, though. After all, Payton was the coach who taunted Vikings fans with a Skol clap right before the Minneapolis Miracle made him put his foot in his mouth.

Was the rematch any different?

In the Divisional Round, Michael Thomas had 12 receptions for 171 yards and one touchdown. It was a ridiculously great performance, while Peters gave up six receptions for 115 yards against the Dallas Cowboys.

So on the surface, it sure looked like the Saints were well set up to pick on Peters again in the NFC Championship.

That didn’t come to fruition, though. Thomas finished with only 36 receiving yards and the Saints struggled to find any big plays against the Rams defense.

Peters was on the hunt for his revenge. On Monday, he twice tweeted “It’s gumbo week let’s eat,” but deleted the tweet both times.

After the game, he opted against having a bowl of gumbo.

Peters has played better since his rough day against the Saints to begin November. In the first nine weeks, Peters gave up six touchdowns with only one interception. Quarterbacks had an astronomical 145.2 passer rating when throwing his way.

But in the final eight weeks of the regular season, he didn’t give up another touchdown, caught two interceptions, and only gave up 17 receptions. The passer rating for throws his direction was just 45.1 in the back half of the year.

On Wednesday, he reminded reporters that it’s too early to fully evaluate his season.

It also didn’t help New Orleans that Drew Brees didn’t finish the season at his best. He underthrew two deep passes against the Eagles that should’ve been touchdowns. One was intercepted on the first play from scrimmage, and the second was knocked away from Taysom Hill.

The Saints didn’t have as much luck throwing Peters’ way Sunday as they did in Week 9.