Does this victory turn around the Saints Season? Sadly, I don’t think so, but crucially it stopped the bleeding for now. However, one thing is for sure. It was just nice to see some positive plays and the Saints winning a game, especially against the Rams.
Andy Dalton’s Best Game As A Saint?
This is the game the Saints want to see from Dalton every week; no, he’s not going to complete 84% of his passes every week whilst averaging 10.4 yards per attempt. But playing turnover-free football, getting the ball out quickly, taking what the defense gives you, with the odd big play sprinkled in, is exactly what the Saints want from their QB.
Speaking of getting the ball out quickly, Dalton’s time to throw (TTT) in this game per Next Gen Stats was 2.16 seconds. To put that into perspective, that was the third-quickest TTT any QB has had all season. Ironically four of the top five in that category have been against the Rams. Clearly, there is a blueprint out for the Rams’ defense. It’s also not a surprise Dalton resorted to this plan with the Saints down three of their starting five o-lineman.
Dalton has played mistake-free football in other games since taking over as the Saints starting QB, so what makes this game his best so far? There wasn’t even a sniff of a turnover. In other games, he’s gotten away with a throw that should have been picked off. In this game, there was none of that. Dalton operated with pinpoint accuracy and found his playmakers in key moments.
He also probably made his best throw as a Saint, on third and nine, with Aaron Donald bearing down on him. He uncorked a beautiful deep ball to Chris Olave, who had flown past all-pro CB Jalen Ramsey resulting in a 53-yard touchdown. This came at a crucial time in the game after momentum could have easily been shifting back to the Rams. A failed trick play by New Orleans on first down resulted in a 17-yard sack. Dalton got all of that yardage back with a nice throw to Juwan Johnson on second down, and then that throw capped it off to give the Saints back the lead.
Does this performance mean Dalton will be the starter for the rest of the year? Normally you’d think yes, but the Saints are still 4-7. I really think it’s still a week-to-week situation for Dalton. Remember, Winston is the only QB under contract after this year, and you have to think the Saints want to see what he looks like in this offense. Now he’s back close to full health. So they can make a concrete decision on his future with the team.
When Taysom Hill Is Successful, So Are The Saints
Hill didn’t light up the stat sheet as he has in previous games this season:
- 42% of offensive snaps played, 17 snaps at QB ( previous high was 11, in weeks five, six, and eight)
- One completed pass on three attempts for 14 yards.
- Nine rushes for 52 yards (5.8 average), zero TDs.
- One reception for 8 yards on one target.
There’s nothing crazy about these stats; however, it does provide the Saints with consistent production and a way to keep the defense guessing.
With a deeper look at these stats, you can see a pattern emerging. In games where Taysom has taken ten+ snaps at QB, the Saints are 3-1. In games this season where Hill has nine or more rushing attempts, the Saints are 3-0.
Does that mean the Saints just need to give Taysom those snaps and make sure he rushes that many times and they will win? No, unfortunately not, but what it does mean is the Saints need to make sure they continue to find ways to keep Hill involved and make sure they are consistently evolving the plays they used with him to keep this Hill package from becoming stale, predictable, and easy to defend.
Is Kaden Ellis The Best Defensive Player In The League?
Sorry to get your hopes up, but no, he isn’t. Not yet, anyway. However, if Ellis kept up his level of play from the last two weeks for the rest of the season, he would be right up there with the best defensive players in the league.
That’s how good Ellis played yesterday and against the Steelers a week ago. Ellis was everywhere again yesterday. He excelled rusher the passer with 1.5 sacks and four total QB pressures. He led the Saints defense in tackles with 11. Is that it? No, he was also a beast in run defense, with six defensive stops, which was the most in the game for either side.
This is all very impressive. However, the area of Ellis’ game that might be the biggest surprise and strength? His skills in coverage. Ellis was targeted three times, giving up two receptions for 22 yards, both to Tyler Higbee is one of the better receiving TEs around. On his other target, Ellis nearly made an incredible play for an interception but couldn’t quite make the catch.
The play that was most impressive, though, didn’t show up on the stat sheet. Ellis was playing what looked like zone coverage in the middle of the field. He noticed a crossing route behind him, helped cover it, and took the route out of the play. This is particularly important as this is a route the Saints have traditionally struggled with. Ellis also did the same against a similar-looking play against the Steelers.
The Saints Throwback Uniforms Might Be Their Best Look
Did you click on this article for pure football takes? Sorry to disappoint, but there is a clear takeaway from yesterday’s game, the Saints throwback uniforms and helmets are beautiful and should be in rotation every year.
- Olave was great again today and is the best rookie WR from this year’s draft.
- Juwan Johnson is really emerging at TE, especially in the Redzone ( five TDs in his last five games)
- Landry also had his best game as a Saints since week 1
- Carl Granderson really stepped up with all the injuries on D-line, 1.5 sacks, and multiple plays in the run game.
- Paulson Adedo had his best game of the season, and rookie Alontae Taylor looked good again.
- Punter Blake Gillikin has strung together to great games after a rough start to the season.
- Chris Harris had a rough game not just because of the Tutu Atwell deep bomb ( i think that was as much the safeties fault as Harris) he got picked on all day.
- The tackling on defense was still a problem but improved over recent weeks.
- Only two penalties for the Saints
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