ANAHEIM, CALIF., DEC. 9 -- The New Orleans Saints made the big defensive plays in the final minute today and defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 24-20, to keep alive their playoff hopes.

The Saints (6-7) tr iled 20-10 early in the final quarter. After going ahead by four points, they survived a late threat by the Rams (5-8), who had first and goal at the Saints 9 with 58 seconds left. After a three-yard gain, Pat Swilling sacked Jim Everett for a 10-yard loss. Another pass gained three yards, then time apparently ran out as Everett was sacked.

But the Saints were called offside. Everett then threw incomplete to end the game. New Orleans 0 3 7 14 24 L.A. Rams 0 10 7 3 20 SECOND QUARTER

Los Angeles: FG Lansford 38, 1:12.

New Orleans: FG Andersen 48, 3:30.

Los Angeles: Everett 2 run (Lansford kick), 9:31. THIRD QUARTER

New Orleans: Maxie 50 interception return (Andersen kick), 2:06.

Los Angeles: Ellard 42 pass from Everett (Lansford kick), 11:18.

FOURTH QUARTER

Los Angeles: FG Lansford 18, :03.

New Orleans: Fenerty 60 run (Andersen kick), 1:48.

New Orleans: Martin 4 pass from Walsh (Andersen kick), 8:21.

Attendance: 56,864. Saints Rams First downs 9 24 Rushes-yards 16-108 25-103 Passing yards 110 341 Return yards 63 50 Passing 13-26-2 31-50-2 Sacked-yards lost 1-7 3-24 Punts 5-50 3-34 Fumbles-lost 4-1 3-2 Penalties-yards 8-44 0-0 Time of possession 23:22 36:38 RU

New Orleans: Fenerty 10-104, Mayes 2-3, Heyward 4-1.

Los Angeles: Gary 10-51, Green 6-20, McGee 4-18, Everett 4-15, Delpino 1-minus 1. PASSING

New Orleans: Walsh 13-26-2, 117 yards.

Los Angeles: Everett 31-50-2, 365 yards. RECEIVING

New Orleans: E.Martin 4-49, Fenerty 4-35, Perriman 2-17, Heyward 2-11, Brenner 1-5.

Los Angeles: Holohan 7-49, McGee 6-42, Anderson 5-123, Ellard 5-107, Gary 4-118, Delpino 1-minus 1. MISSED

None.