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There Is Only One Takeaway; The New Orleans Saints Season Is Over

There are plenty of things I could talk about from an analysis perspective from this game, about what went well and what clearly didn’t. How this team could be much better after their bye week as they will be getting more key players back. 

Honestly, none of it matters, the false hope of winning the putrid NFC South is now gone; the only thing left for this team is to try and win as many games as possible so the pick they gave to the Eagles is as far down the draft as possible.

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Overall Thoughts From Saints @ Bucs (and other ramblings)

In many ways, this was one of the Saints best games of the season. For 54 minutes of the game, the Saints looked in control and looked like they would win the game and go into the bye week with real hope of turning their season around.

Until an almighty collapse reminiscent of another NFC South rival. That’s right in a season that didn’t feel like it could get much worse, the Saints did what all us fans mock our division rival for doing, impossibly giving up a massive lead in the fourth quarter and losing a game that should have comfortably been a win. The collapse seemed almost impossible with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Until one crucial play, which switched a lot of jaded fans from hope to the realization despair was likely coming.

Mark Ingram had enough room to easily get the first down with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, all he needed to do was put the ball in his other hand and extend the ball past the marker. I would have been first and ten at the Tampa 43, instead Ingram, who had been injured a few minutes prior stepped one yard short of the first down because he re-aggravated the injury from a few minutes prior and couldn’t finish the play. This left third and one which the Saints couldn’t convert, sparking the Bucs comeback.

That play shouldn’t have cost the Saints the game. After the punt, the Bucs needed to go 91 yards to reduce the deficit to six points. As the defense had been dominating Brady and the Bucs again throughout the game to minimal gains, 91 yards should have taken the Bucs so long that a second scoring drive should have been out of the realms of possibility. Have you noticed I’m using the word should a lot here? That’s because the Saints defense crumbled at the worst time possible, aided by a massive DPI penalty on Paulson Adebo the Bucs went 91 yards in ten plays in only two minutes and 21 seconds.

From this point on the loss felt inevitable the Saints despite wanting to be a run-first offense have proven incapable of being able to sustain drives to ice a game and that’s exactly what happened, immediately going three and out, even this drive had a chance for the Saints to pull off a remarkable game-saving play, facing third and 17 Andy Dalton delivered one of the most perfect passes downfield to Taysom Hill you will see, Hill caught it but couldn’t hold on to it after a hard hit, this play perfectly sums up the Saints season, plenty of chances to win but ultimately shooting themselves in the foot.

The Saints punted, giving the Bucs plenty of time to go down the field and win. It feels harsh to blame the defense holding Tom Brady to three points until deep in the third quarter and forcing two turnovers should be more than good enough but this team has no margin for error, especially as the offense struggles to score many touchdowns.

So that surely means the offense was the issue? It was but not how many might expect. Usually, when an offense only scores 16 and can’t close out a game in the fourth quarter it’s the QBs fault, again similar to last week against the 49ers I truly don’t believe that to be the case here. 

This was arguably Andy Dalton’s best game as a Saint, he made some incredible throws in big moments but his receivers couldn’t make the plays. Dalton finished 20 of 28 with three of those incompletions being drops from his receivers, the Hill drop I mentioned earlier. Olave dropped one in the second quarter on third down which would have put the Saints near the Bucs RedZone. Conservatively this took three points off the board possibly more. Jarvis Landry dropped a pass in the RedZone that would have been a touchdown, granted it was a tough catch but it’s a catch a player of his calibre needs to make.

There were plays in this game that if they were made and they should have been and the Saints would have been home and dry. Unfrotunelty this has been the case in several games this year (Vikings, Bengals, 49ers) there’s a clear path despite the mountain of significant injuries this team has dealt with that they could easily be leading the division if everything went their way they would be sitting pretty at 8-5. 

Ultimately they are not and now they are left with many more questions than answers about the team’s future. No first-round pick, no future at QB, no salary cap space to work with, ageing stars, and the most pressingly massive questions at HC and OC.

There’s no question in many Saints fan’s minds that Dennis Allen should not be the HC next season, I’ve not been so quick to jump to that conclusion to justify some of the results and games this season with what I’ve spoken about above. But my hesitancy is long gone, as an HC during his tenure with the Raiders and now the Saints have the second worse winning percentage all time out of the 17 coaches to have coached between 48 and 50 games. At some point, excuses can’t come into it anymore and you need to look at the simple facts that Dennis Allen-led teams don’t win football games,  it’s that simple.

OC Pete Carmichael Jr. should not be far behind Allen, on his way out the door. Carmichael has proven to be a very good offensive game planner, but as a full-time OC without Drew Brees at QB he’s looked out of his depth on gamedays. Showing a lack of imagination through countless second and ten runs or in big moments calling plays to the wrong people. An easy example in this game is on the Saints penultimate offensive drive the Saints had second and ten, Carmichael called a pass play where his only WR on the field was Kirk Merritt, a practice squad WR that was playing his first regular-season NFL game. Where was Jarvis Landry or Chris Olave, where was Rashid Shaheed? The play ended in a seven yards sack.  Carmichael has served the Saints well for many years but his time as OC should not extend past this season.

Thankfully the Saints now go into their bye week, which means Saints fans can have a much-needed detox from this exhausting and infuriating season and the team can try to use the time to work out the future of this season and beyond. 

As for me, all that is left to care about in this season are two things:

Sweeping the Falcons and giving the Eagles as bad of a pick as possible.

Enjoy the bye week Saints fans! We need it.

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Three Takeaways From A Gruesome New Orleans Saints Shutout Defeat

The Saints had not been shoutout in a game since week 17 of the 2001 season against none other than the San Franciso 49ers. 332 games have passed since then, which was the longest streak in the NFL. Yesterday, that streak ended as the Saints lost 13-0. Again they were buried by self-inflicted wounds. Without them, in true Saints fashion, the result of this game is totally different.

Three things stood out to me from truly one of the most frustrating Saints games I’ve had the displeasure of watching.

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Andy Dalton Was Not The Problem

As the game progressed, Saints Twitter was lighting up with comments about how enough is enough with Andy Dalton and how Jameis Winston should start going forward. Honestly, I don’t see how Andy Dalton was the problem in this game and how Winston would have done anything different to change the result.

Dalton moved the ball well and did more than enough for the Saints to win this game. The key to victory throughout Dalton’s run as the starter has been the running game, and when that hasn’t worked, he’s crumbled. I don’t think he crumbled yesterday. The offense around him did.

Of course, it’s reasonable when an offense scores zero points that some of the blame has to fall on the QB, and in other games where an offense is shutout, the blame would fall solely on the QB. Dalton did all he could, and there’s a clear path to where his play leads the Saints to multiple touchdowns and possibly a season-changing win.

The Saints moved the ball really well against one of the best defenses in the league. They were inside the 49ers ten-yard line twice and drove to the edge of the RedZone on another occasion. The result of those drives? A missed 48-yard field goal after veteran tackle Ryan Ramczyk’s false start pushed them back. An Alvin Kamara fumble at the one-yard line (the Saints had driven 87 yards in 12 plays)  and a turnover on downs after four pass attempts inside the five.

On the final drive, Dalton threw two balls that hit Juwan Johnson and Taysom Hill in the hands/face, but they couldn’t make the play. Both plays would have resulted in a touchdown. If the two earlier drives had gone differently, it would have been a 10-10 game on the Saints final offensive position, and instead of a turnover on downs, they could have kicked a chip-shot field goal to tie the game at 13. Giving the 49ers the ball back with six minutes left and a chance to win.

Was Dalton perfect? No, he wasn’t. He didn’t see Kamara on at least two plays where he looked to be wide open, where he would have walked in for a TD, but pressure forced Dalton to look to the other side of the field. He also threw Kamara into trouble on a few other plays that could have gotten the star RB hurt. However, is Winston perfect? At this stage, we know he is not, and one of Winston’s fatal flaws in the Saints offense is missed checkdown options to Kamara, so would he have seen him? It’s reasonable to think he wouldn’t have.

I understand the fans who think at this stage, with the Saints sitting 4-8, does it hurt to see what Winston is once and for all in this offense, given he’s the only QB under contract after this year? For what it’s worth, I agree with this argument. What I don’t agree with is those saying that because of this game, Dalton’s performance was so poor that he should be benched for Winston. I just don’t see that from what we saw yesterday.

This Might Have Been The Defense’s Best Game Of The Season

What’s even more frustrating about the Saints inability to score points yesterday was that the defense showed up in a big way. They tackled well and pressured Garoppolo constantly. They held the 49ers to three points on two drives where they were inside the Saints 10-yard line. One of those being a goal line stand turning over the 49ers at the one-yard line. For the most part, they shut down, on paper, an offense that does everything the Saints haven’t been able to defend all year.

The linebacker play was excellent. Kaden Ellis was great again and led the team with 14 tackles. He also forced a holding call rushing the passer. Ellis is starting to really look like the real deal. He wasn’t alone. Zack Baun had probably his best game as a Saint (outside of preseason games). He was involved in multiple positive plays in the run game and showed good ability as a Blitzer with a QB hit, which should have been a sack if not for Jimmy G’s quick trigger.

The secondary was excellent (except for one player more on him in a minute), especially Paulson Adebo, who had two PBUs on the day,(three if you count a play that was called back by penalty) and was sticky in coverage all day. Alontae Taylor should have had his first NFL interception, which again would have changed the game in the Saints favor if not for said player, and the safeties looked solid and did what they needed to do to limit a challenging 49ers offense.

Enough positivity. I’ve mentioned a player twice above who frankly cost the Saints dearly in this game and who should not have been in the game. Veteran CB Chris Harris. Harris has filled in admirably whilst the Saints dealt with a huge number of injuries at CB in recent weeks, considering he is one of the oldest starting DBs in the league. 

Yesterday there was no reason for him to be on the field. On the 49ers TD drive, he committed a ridiculous personal foul penalty for a late hit out of bounds, which was completely unnecessary, and gifted the 49ers first and goal at five. Frankly, he should not have been in the game after that, but of course, Dennis Allen left him in because he left him in. He then committed the illegal contact penalty that cost the Saints the turnover they desperately needed when Alontae Taylor picked off Jimmy G and returned it to the 49ers eight-yard line. 

With the Saints expected to get Marshon Lattimore back this week and Roby returning in this game, Harris should not be on the field anymore, and if he does, it is coaching malpractice.

What Is A Catch In The NFL?

The Saints took over on the 49ers 38, down three, with a real chance to change the game’s momentum. Taysom Hill threw a dart to Chris Olave for 30 yards, setting them up with first and goal at the 49ers eight-yard line. Or so we thought. Olave caught the ball, took two steps, hit the ground, and the ball came out.

The 49ers challenged much to Twitter’s confusion. Nobody that I saw could understand why Olave clearly secured the ball, completed a football move ( two steps after securing possession), and then his knee hit the ground, he still had possession, and then the ball came out. The ground can’t cause a fumble; therefore, this was a pointless challenge, and the Saints should have had first and goal. Wrong for some reason, none that are clear to me or anyone else ( apart from FOX NFL rules analyst Dean Blandino). The refs overturned the call to an incomplete pass.

The drive ended in a punt. This was another point of frustration in this game. The Saints likely score at least three points here, changing the whole complexion of those late-game drives. Maybe they even score a TD, which would have really given the Saints the momentum. Maybe the Saints completely balls it up and don’t score at all, but we should be able to speak in definitives because we should have been able to see how it played out because there’s no way it should have been ruled how it was.

This isn’t news to anyone, but the NFL has a huge officiating issue that needs to be addressed because I’m getting sick of it, and fans will start to switch off the way this is going.

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Four Takeaways From A Much-Needed New Orleans Saints Victory Vs. The Rams

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.

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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. 

Quick Hits

  • 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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One Fed-Up Takeaway From the New Orleans Saints Dismal Defeat In The Steel City

The Saints dropped to 3-7 after a dreadful display against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, and there is simply only one takeaway that matters after another putrid defeat. Dennis Allen is not the answer for the Saints, and he should not be the coach after this season. Below I explain why.

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Dennis Allen Is Not It

At the start of this season, there were very high expectations for this Saints team. Michael Thomas was back. They signed Jarvis Landry and Tyrann Mathieu. Brought back pretty much all of the coaching staff that had been a part of the very successful 2017-2021 seasons. 

The NFC looked weak, and so did the division. The runway was clear for a much-improved season after the injury-riddled 2021 season ended, with the team still winning nine games. How could this team be worse than that one with all the additions to an already talented roster?

One element was drastically overlooked, replacing a hall-of-fame level HC in with a coach who, in his first stint as an HC was fired after 2.5 seasons with an 8-28 record. Going from Sean Payton to Dennis Allen has not only not worked this season but has also set this team back for years to come.

The word of the off-season was continuity the Saints wanted to keep around the people that had helped Sean Payton build one of the winningest franchises during his tenure. In theory, this is not a bad plan. However, where this ultimately is a fatal floor, and this is the same with most coaches who come from the Belichick coaching tree as well. You can’t try to maintain the same culture the hall of fame HC did without that HC around to enforce and implement it.

Saints Twitter has been on fire since the first few weeks of the season with the mantra that DA is not the answer, I’ve tried to remain patient and make excuses to myself why things will improve. Injuries are the biggest excuse to rationalise the poor performances and to convince me things could and would improve. 

After Sunday’s performance, my patience ran out. Yes, there were again a monumental number of injuries to key starters. However, the bigger issues with this team, which have been present since the start of the season, are still present and still causing the team to lose.

At some point, that must come down to the HC, and for me, Sunday was my breaking point. Fundamentals are coached, and a culture of accountability for basic mistakes comes down to the coaches. For that to still not be in place ten weeks into the season is flat-out malpractice.

This team misses tackles constantly, sometimes turning minimal gains into huge ones and sometimes turning plays that should be a loss into plays that net positive yardage. Whichever way you slice it, basic tackles are not being made, and it’s been a consistently frustrating issue all season that should have been addressed and stamped out by now. 

The defense is Dennis Allen’s side of the ball, and for that side of the ball to have been the biggest issue of all, with the talent they have, the blame can only go to one person. 

The Saints are tied for third as the most penalised team in the league (72 penalties), have some of those calls been questionable? Absolutely, for example, I think all three DPI calls on Sunday against the Steelers were pretty poor calls, but it’s clear officiating has been inconsistent across the whole league.

However, the Saints lead are tied for the most False Start penalties in the league with 19 and are, by far, in a way leading the league in defensive holding penalties with a massive 15. The next closest is Green Bay, with 11. After that, it’s the Colts with 9. For perspective, the Chargers led the league last season with 15 defensive holding penalties across the 17-game season. The Saints are one behind that now, after only playing ten games.

Yes, some of these penalties are being committed by backups, but at this stage, they’ve had to play enough snaps due to injury that this should be stamped out by now, or they simply should not be playing. Calvin Throckmorton alone has accounted for five false start penalties, FIVE! He’s hardly a star on this team. Honestly, he’s not played at all well in his snaps this season. So, bench him, make an example that these mistakes won’t be tolerated, and do something to send a message that things have to change.

This all comes back to the HC. Is it fair to put all the blame on him? No, probably not this team has faced an ungodly amount of injuries that would be hard for anyone to overcome, including Payton. But my issue with the Dennis Allen operation is the inability to fix the problems that have been evident all season, and he’s shown a complete inability to do so.  

Would these problems with false starts, missed tackles, etc..  still be a problem if Sean Payton remained the coach? in my opinion, absolutely not.

Dennis Allen was an excellent DC for this team, something that I never thought I’d say after the Saints went through many legendary failures to find a competent DC over the years. Unfortunately, DA is not the answer as an HC, and because of this and the front office’s blind faith in him, they have set the team back for years to come. How you might ask? 

Well, because of misguided faith, the Saints traded away their first-round pick for the upcoming draft, which at this stage, they will be lucky if it’s not in the top 10, it could easily be in the top 5. In a draft, many are touting to have 4/5 top-tier QB prospects. With a first-round pick this year, the Saints could have hit the reset button on the franchise in the best way possible, but finding a young QB to build around, a young QB to give the fans hope.

Instead, we get to hear all off-season how the juggernaut Eagles team with very few holes, who made it deep into the playoffs, an Eagles team who may well win the SuperBowl pulled off the heist of the century and because of it, are now picking in the top 10. 

Unfortunately, firing DA would only be the start. The Saints need to then dip into the tombola of luck that is the HC hiring cycle, where it’s much easier to find the next Dennis Allen than it is to find the next Sean Payton. With no first-round pick, an aging roster, one of the worst cap outlooks in the league, and, crucially, no answer at QB. The list of potential suitors is likely to be shorter than it once would have been.

Sorry if you’re reading this, and I was hoping for a more positive outlook. I’ve tried that all season, and after Sunday, enough is enough. Buckle up Saints fans. The next few years could be a bumpy ride but don’t worry too much we are all going through this pain together.

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Four Takeaways From The Out-Matched New Orleans Saints Primetime Defeat

Gone are the days of a game like this being a primetime slug-fest between two teams with great talent and even greater expectations. 

The Saints were out-matched almost from the get-go in primetime last night against the Ravens, and sadly, I think this is only the start.

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This Offense Does Not Work Without The Running Game

It’s been clear for some time that this Saints offense goes as the running game does. Last night was a crippling reminder of that. Without it, you are expecting a 35-year-old Andy Dalton to function with Chris Olave and Alvin Kamara to throw, too, and that’s about it.

It was clear from the first drive the Ravens wanted to make the Saints one dimensional, they sold out to stop the run game, and they achieved that on the first drive. The Saints had a second and three, followed by a third and one. Usually, that’s exactly where the Saints want to be, they couldn’t convert, and it wasn’t close.

What happens when the offense has to pass, and the defense knows it? The defense blitzes, and the Ravens did that last night with great effectiveness. Getting to Dalton early and often with creative blitzes, especially on third down.

The Saints finished 3-11 on third down after entering the game as one of the league’s better third-down offenses. That was massively down to effective blitzes and not being able to run the ball as effectively as they have in previous weeks.

The blueprint is out on the Saints offense. HC Dennis Allen and OC Pete Carmichael Jr need to know that and adjust otherwise, teams will be loading up all season, and there will be plenty more offensive displays like last night.

The Saints Miss Michael Thomas

Many of you are reading this and thinking, well,… obviously.

To some, it wasn’t obvious. There was some thought that this offense would be fine with Chris Olave as the number one WR, and that’s about it, and the receiver position.

To some extent, I could forgive people for thinking that, since Dalton has taken over as the starter, the passing game has been far more effective than we have seen the last two seasons. Alvin Kamara has come to life in the passing game as we would’ve always expected, and the running attack has led the way for the offense.

However, last night it was clear as day why a player like Michael Thomas is so important. When the run game is shut down, and the Saints have to pass, they need someone else who can get open quickly on third downs and in the RedZone to give Dalton a quick outlet to go to when the defense does blitz.

Outside of Olave, that just wasn’t there last night. Marquez Callaway did have one filthy route in the RedZone at the end of the first half that should have been a TD.  Unfortunately, Dalton just flat-out missed him, but that is not a consistent enough occurrence. Callaway then pretty much disappeared for the rest of the game. 

Getting Jarvis Landry back should help a lot. His game meshes much more with the Dalton-led offense than the Jameis Winston offense. Him returning and being effective is no longer a luxury it is essential.

The Defense Still Struggles Against Mobile QBs

If you look at the box score, you may think they didn’t do that badly.

At face value, they didn’t, and with some better tackling, the stats would have looked a lot better. This was an improvement to previous games against QBs with similar rushing ability to Jackson. The issue is this team has to allocate so much attention, concentration, and resources to stopping this part of the team’s offenses that everything else falls by the wayside.

Both safeties blow a coverage because they paid so much respect to Lamar and the rushing attack. One led to the Ravens’ first TD, and the second left a wide-open TE to convert a third and long.

The numbers don’t show it, but Jackson could do whatever he wanted in the passing game. In fact, if he didn’t miss three of four wide-open WRs, the score and the passing game stats would have looked a lot different.

At this point, I don’t what this team can do to fix this issue. It’s been a problem every year, even throughout their dominant run as one of the league’s best defenses. This team is not one of those dominant units. 

I’m starting to wonder if the Saints prototype of massive DEs who win with power rather than speed could be a reason. Where the DEs take a little longer to win, it’s easier for QBs to escape, and even if they do win quickly, it seems easier for the more nimble athletic QBs to escape and make the play when they really shouldn’t be able to.

The Injuries Are Still Piling Up

The hits keep coming to this team. They’ve already played much of the reason without Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and Marshon Lattimore.

Just as you think the Saints are starting to get back to good health, Erik McCoy, Pete Werner, and Marcus Davenport left last night’s game with injuries.

Losing any of these players for extended periods would be brutal for this team. All three are crucial to the team’s success. 

McCoy is the anchor of the o-line, which, as we’ve already discussed, is crucial to this team’s effectiveness. It also means a lot of juggling on the line. Cesar Ruiz would move to Center, where he did play in college, but Ruiz’s improvement at RG this season has been so good the team could really do without moving him. Then to replace Ruiz, the Saints have Calvin Throckmorton, who played well with limited expectations last season but has struggled so far in limited snaps this year.

Pete Werner has been playing at an all-pro level so far this season, and the team’s depth behind him is shaky at best. They’d be forced to play Kaden Ellis more, who’s done well so far this season in a very specific role. How he’d do with a more expansive role remains to be seen.

Although Marcus Davenport’s sack numbers have not been there so far this season, he’s still leading the team in pressures. Losing him would be a real hit to an already limited pass rush. Similar to the point made about Werner, the team’s depth is fairly shaky begins Davenport as well. Payton Turner has shown some improvements in the last two games. Again how he would do with more responsibilities as the team’s main, base DE remains to be seen.

Either way, these are questions this team could really do without. The margin for error is already so small with this team. Add to that three key starters not being available, it only gets smaller.


There are no more if, and’s, or buts. This team is what their record says it is a 3-6 football team with more questions than answers. Somehow, they are only one game back from the lead in the putrid NFC South.

There’s still a path for the team to make the playoffs, but it is wafer thin, they need to win all the games they should ( and there are not many at this stage) and win a couple on paper they shouldn’t, and even that might not be enough.

It has to start next week against the similarly dysfunctional Pittsburgh Steelers and go from there. Either way, Saints fans, protect yourselves. Temper expectations, enjoy the highs whenever they come, and take the lows for what they should be at this point. Expected.

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Five Takeaways From A Perfect New Orleans Saints Win Against The Raiders

This was the team the Saints fanbase expected to see this season an efficient offense led by Alvin Kamara. A stifling defense led by an aggressive pass rush and a physical, playmaking secondary. 

The Saints beat the Raiders 24-0 on Sunday, therefore there are plenty of things to take from this game that could show the Saints are starting to turn a corner and could make a significant run at the NFC South division title.

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Is the Secondary Fixed? 

Once the strength of this defense, the secondary has not been that so far this season, after Sunday’s game against the Raiders has that changed? not just yet but Sunday was a very encouraging start.

After giving up the most big plays in the league through seven weeks one good performance doesn’t change the narrative but this performance certainly helps and if it continues the Saints secondary will be the dominant force we all expected.

Dennis Allen-led defenses have taken a while previously to get going, generally playing a lot better in the second half of the season than in the first. That could be the case here as well. Allen famously struggled with Malcolm Jenkins’ role after the Saints brought him back, but once they figured it out later in the season the defense took a big step. 

That could easily be the case with Tyrann Mathieu, he looks to be playing a lot more around the line scrimmage rather than back-deep, with Maye taking more of the deep safety responsibilities and that fits Mathieu’s skill set a lot more at this stage of his career. This role allows Mathieu to roam and make plays which is exactly what he did in this game, with an interception and a dropped pick-six after he broke on a route and just couldn’t make the catch.

The second massive improvement has been the rookie second-round pick, Alontae Taylor starting at outside corner. Taylor has been nothing short of excellent on the outside, in his two games so far he’s played significant snaps against DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams and barely given up catches to either (zero catches on three targets against Adams this week). Taylor competes like hell on every rep and is always making plays on the ball. 

When Lattimore comes back he and Taylor will be a scary tandem on the outside if Taylor continues to play this way.

DA also has more of his starting players in the secondary back which appears to be helping massively, in previous weeks he’s not been able to be as aggressive as he planned with depth players playing meaningful snaps, even more, reinforcements should be in the way. P.J. Williams is expected to return from IR this week and Marson Lattimore is expected back this week or maybe the week after.

The D-Line Played Its Best Game Of The Season

The Saints defensive line was flat-out dominant yesterday against the Raiders, per PFF they had 22 total pressures on Sunday ( 5 sacks, 5 QB hits and 12 pressures) which is 6 more pressures than their season best and pressured Derek Carr on 41.4% of his dropbacks, that was largely due to stellar play up front.

This dominance was in large part due to some new faces stepping up. Payton Turner had 5 total pressures which included 2 sacks. one of those sacks is explained here, it was a really smart play from the second-year player, which is really encouraging to see. (

David Onyemata had 3 pressures including 1 sack. Shy Tuttle chipped in with 2 pressures, Malcolm Roach had 1 although it seemed like he had more. These are all players that weren’t stepping up earlier in the season, especially Turner, fingers crossed this is a career-changing game that gives him the confidence to push on and show why the Saints drafted him in the first round a year ago.

Marcus Davenport looked to have one of his more dominant games with an emphatic TFL on 3rd and 1 to deny a jet sweep attempt to Adams.


He also had a sack wiped away because of a defensive holding penalty and he looked like he was around Carr all day, somehow PFF only charted him with 1 pressure. We will agree to disagree on that one, Davenport looked dominant all game.

The D-line didn’t just dominate in rushing the passer, they also returned to their old ways against the run, Josh Jacobs rushed for 441 yards in the three games before Sunday. The Saints held him to 43 yards, apart from one rogue 16-yard run, that stat line would have looked even better, there were still some missed tackles which you saw on Jacobs 16-yard run, but for the most part, it looked much better this week. There seemed to be an emphasis on swarming to the ball, something the dominant Saints defenses in the previous year have prided themselves on.

If this version of the d-line turns up every week this defense will be one that strikes fear into every opponent and the Saints will win a lot more games than they lose down the stretch.

Andy Dalton Looks To Be The Right Choice At QB

Dalton isn’t perfect, he was lucky not to be picked off yesterday on a very strange pass down the right sideline, other than that throw Dalton does all the right things that this offense needs.

He gets the ball out quickly, he recognises the blitz and doesn’t let it beat him and most importantly he feeds the team’s playmakers with every opportunity. 

Alvin Kamara is back to old ways with Dalton at QB (More on Ak shortly) I firmly believe Dalton’s ability to distribute the ball to his playmakers on time in rhythm is the reason he stayed the starter. This is something Winston has still not proven to be able to do.

Dalton finished with a 73.3% completion percentage that would have been even better if not for 2 drops, on very catchable passes by Chris Olave and Taysom Hill.

Since Dalton has taken over as the starter in week 4 the Saints are sixth in the league in EPA per play, with the weapons the Saints have all they need from their QB is efficiency and limited mistakes, Dalton provided that in spades yesterday.

The Saints O-Line Is Really Really Good

In my matchups to watch article, I highlighted the need to keep Maxx Crosby in check, the Saints more than achieved that, the Saints held Crosby to zero pressures,. Crosby was still effective in the run game, and had 5 total stops per PFF (Defensive Stops – tackles that constitute a “failure” for the offense) . But those stats lines are a win for any o-line against a player like Crosby.

The Saints line only gave up 2 pressures all game and these were only pressures, Dalton was not touched at all.

The Saints running game was a focal point of the offense again and that was because of the offensive line. They bullied the Raiders up front, and the Saints ended the day with 32 rushes for 136 yards, averaging 4.3 YPC.  Those stats would have looked a lot better if not for some obvious runs at the end of the game going for very little as the Saints were running out the clock.

This line is a serious reason for optimism for years to come- more on that here 

They were excellent again today, especially RG Cesar Ruiz and RT Ryan Ramczyk who like one of the best right sides of an o-line in the league.

Alvin Kamara Is The Best Player On The Team

Alvin Kamara Stepped up this week in more ways than one, not just with a vintage AK performance (158 total yards and three TDs) but he stepped up as the team’s leader in the locker room.

AK gave a spirited speech in the locker room after the loss to Arizona last Thursday and again spoke up throughout the week in the media. DA committed after the game that he stepped up as every great leader does with actions not just words.

He was the best player on the field on Sunday two his third touchdown (a 36-yard catch) was prime Kamara as he split the Raiders defense and he didn’t even look like he got out of third gear. 

All three of AK’s TDs here-

Kamara is the heartbeat of this team and he should stay that way for years to come.


This was the best-case scenario for the Saints coming out of their ‘mini bye’ they didn’t get the players back they hoped but produced their best performance of the season which gives the team and their fans hope.

The Saints now have another long week, with the next game on Monday night Vs the Ravens, with the hope they will get more key players back and make a real push for the NFC South title.

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5 Takeaways From The Coffin Nailing Saints Loss

The New Orleans Saints are 2-5 after losing 42-34 to the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night football.  Their hopes of making the playoffs are slim to none right now, so what is there to takeaway from last night’s monstrosity?

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Cesar Ruiz Is Much Improved

Let’s start with some good, the tales of Cesar Ruiz’s improvement are not just hopeful tales of the odd play here and there that show signs of improvement. Ruiz is playing excellently and looks like a player not only worth a first-round pick but, a player worth building around.

Ruiz was opening holes consistently last night in the running game and was an anchor in pass protection, this is something that has been evident all season, last night was a stiff test for him though with J.J Watt and Zach Allen (two very good interior rushers) across from him, a test previously we would have seen Ruiz fail, he passed with flying colours. 

If you are still sceptical given Ruiz’s first two seasons I could see why, well Ruiz even featured this week in Baldy’s breakdown see here-  Brian Baldinger on Twitter: “.@saints @_OverCees has to be one of the most i@proved players at any position in the NFL. From never playing OG, to becoming a force up front to rebuilding and reshaping his body….and it shows. This league will always be about player development #BaldysBreakdowns” / Twitter 

If Ramczyk’s knee doesn’t derail the rest of his career the Saints have a potential elite right side of the offensive line to build around (including center Erik McCoy in this as well).

Add to Trevor Penning, if he comes back from his toe injury and continues to improve at the rate, he was prior to the injury then the Saints have excellent building pieces across the whole line.

Alontae Taylor Needs to Start Going Forward  

Second-round rookie Alontae Taylor saw his first prolonged game snaps last night and looked like the best player in the secondary, he provided sticky coverage and according to the Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football only gave up one catch on four/five targets.

The secondary outside of Marshon Lattimore has been a huge disappointment this season, leaving the door wide open for Taylor to win a starting job, he did more than enough last night to warrant more starting snaps going forward.

Once one of the youngest teams in the league, suddenly New Orleans is the second oldest in the league. So, hitting on the limited draft picks they have is even more essential. If Taylor continues to show what he did last night, then he will certainly be added to the hit column at a position that is vital in today’s NFL.

The Defense’s Tackling Is Still A Problem 

It’s got to the point where seeing a player get tackled straight away, without gaining extra yards is far more exciting than it should be.

PFF charted the Saints with 12 missed tackles yesterday, honestly, it felt even worse than that. Cardinal players seemed to be slipping past the first Saints tacklers constantly.

On one play that could have been stopped for a short gain, Cardinals’ sixth-round rookie Keontay Ingram forced 4/5 missed tackles and rumbled for 24 yards. It should have been third and medium around the Cardinals 30, instead, it was first and ten at the Cardinals 49.

This is a basic expectation of a defensive player, I fully appreciated it could tackle on high school football player let alone an NFL one, but this shouldn’t be this yard.

Of course, offensive players make incredible plays from time to time where they make the whole world miss, but these plays aren’t that they are normal plays that every other defense is making against the Saints offense and the fact this is still a problem seven weeks in is hugely worrying and simply put, is losing the Saints games.

Andy Dalton May Have Gifted The Starting Spot Back To Jameis

I really believe Dalton had a clear runway to win the Saints starting QB job, at the very least he had a chance to keep Jameis Winston off the field for longer.

I think that ended last night, at least for now.

Dalton could easily be 4-0 as the Saints starter if a few things broke the team’s way. The biggest reason being if the defense would have played anywhere near the expectations we all had for them. The offense has looked its best this season with Dalton under center. He’s managed to get Alvin Kamara fully involved, he’s been better at identifying and combating the blitz and he’s definitely had the offense in a better rhythm. 

Alas, Dalton now sits at 1-3 and was a massive contributing factor for the Saints losing last night. Dalton threw two awful interceptions one in the RedZone after the Saints had driven 65 yards in 15 plays, the Saints were up 7-3 at this stage. 

His second interception I wouldn’t put on him, he threw a perfectly fine and easy pass to Marquez Callaway, that the receiver bobbled allowing the trailing CB to intercept the pass and return it to the house. 

What was inexcusable was four plays later Dalton threw another pick-6 this time on a pass that was his fault, I could see what he was trying to do he was trying to fit the ball behind the LB to Chris Olave who had broken open behind him. But Dalton couldn’t execute it. 

These interceptions reasonably meant a 17-point swing in the Cardinal’s favour. Three of the board from the Redzone interception, and 14 from the pick-6s.

Instead of going into the half level or possibly up three or seven the Saints went into the half down 14. A gap that was too large to overcome in the second half.

Yes, Winston might not be better in fact, he could be worse. But at this stage you have to see what Winston is, if Dalton is going to turn the ball over, which is Winston’s biggest drawback, without Winston’s arm talent for upside, you might as well play Winston and see if that boom or bust potential can steal you some game down the stretch.

This Team Is So Frustrating 

 Last takeaway and this is more of a personal point, holy Sh*t this time is frustrating.

They have all the talent needed to be a contender in the NFC, probably not a Superbowl team but at the very least a competitive playoff team. 

This team has been completely incapable of playing complimentary football. Taking out the crazy win in week one.

The Saints offense failed them in weeks one and two, had they had merely a bang average offense they win both of those games. 

Then weeks four- seven if the defense played how did in weeks two and three they are 4-0 in that stretch as well.  There’s a perfectly plausible situation where you could argue this team could be 7-0, 5-2 worst 3-4. Instead, they sit 2-5, finding new ways to lose every week, struggling to execute basic fundamentals.

The worst part? normally In a bad season you can look ahead and say well at least we should get a high-end talent in the draft and try to rebuild from that, in this year’s draft possibly a new franchise QB to give the future some hope.

Instead, we have to hear about how great the Eagles front office is for pulling off one of the best draft-related trades in recent memory and what player they will be able to add to an already excellent team.

Is the door completely closed on the Saints turning this around? no, they have the talent and the leadership in the locker room to right the ship, but the task ahead is mammoth and will take a near-perfect run.

Rant over, 11 days now without Saints football I would normally hate it, but frankly, right now an 11-day Saints football detox Is what I need and probably the players do too.

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Week Five; New Orleans Saints Vs Seattle Seahawks Game-Recap

In what was a must-win game on Sunday in the Caesars Superdome, the Saints managed to hold on to a 39-32 victory to keep their season alive and move to 2-3 on the season. Despite the game being ludicrous from start to finish. 

Let’s break down what on earth happened in what will now forever be known as the ‘Taysom Hill game’.

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Saints Offense 

Finally!!!!! Some consistent offensive rhythm and effectiveness were achieved on Sunday. Part of me believes that this is what OC Pete Carmichael Jr has been trying to achieve since the start of the season.

How did they achieve this? Feeding Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill. Between them, they rushed for 215 yards on 32 carries, which averages out at 6.7 yards per rush. 

Kamara looked the best he has all season with 23 of those carries for 103 yards and also added Six receptions for 91 yards, including an incredibly well-executed 54-yard screen play. He did have another costly fumble; this trend sadly is continuing. It went from the Saints driving to end the half with likely a field goal or maybe a touchdown. To Seattle getting the back on the Saints side of the field and scoring a TD.

The fumbles have to stop, period. End of story and they keep coming at costly times It will lose them more games if it continues.

This was the blueprint for using Taysom Hill, He ran nine times for 112-yards and three touchdowns, and he was lethal in short yardage and in the RedZone. Whilst also adding a huge 60-yard touchdown run for good measure. 

Crucially to keep defences honest Carmichael dialled up a perfect passing play for Taysom, which resulted in a 22-yard touchdown pass for Adam Trautman. Hill commented in his post-game press conference “Hey, we really like this play, so don’t be surprised if that’s one of the first plays I get to with you”. Carmichael had seen this was going to work, dialled it up and Hill executed it perfectly.

This game plan might explain the persistence of running on first and second down, much to Saints fans dismay throughout the first 4 games of the year. This was something that ‘Sneaky Pete’ as he’s known by Saints players, knew they could do, and I think he thought the Saints offensive identity could be built around it.

The absence of Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara at the start of this season may be through a spanner in the works of his grant plan.

Now, maybe I’m reading into this too much and this was just a great matchup for this game plan and that’s why the Saints lent into and executed it, and this won’t be the plan going forward, but I firmly believe a version of this is how the Saints offense needs to try and play going forward.

Andy Dalton was again solid, he got the ball out on time and made plays when he needed to. The running game took centre stage and Dalton did what he needed to in the passing game when required.  Dalton’s thrived off play action and throw a dime to Chris Olave for a touchdown on third down in the RedZone.

Olave made an incredible play but got concussed in the process which looked scary! Fingers crossed it isn’t something that lingers A). for Olave’s health and B). because Olave looks like a stud, a true home run pick and a true number one WR in the making.  

Chris Olave’s TD catch and Injury vs. Seattle – YouTube

However, he did turn the ball over again, with a slightly inaccurate throw to Tre’Quan Smith that was picked by Tariq Woolen (I called this in my key matchups article before the game).

Dalton has not done enough to slam the door shut on Winston returning to the starting line-up after healing from his injuries. However, there’s no doubt that the offense has looked its best so far with Dalton under center.

Other Offense Notes

  • Shout out to the o-line, amazing in the run game and only allowed one sack.
  • Tre’Quan Smith again shows inconsistency, he played really well against Carolina and had the chance to make two crucial plays this week but dropped them both.
  • Mark Ingram does not look right, after showing good burst and vision against Tampa, he’s really struggled since in a game where Kamara and Hill averaged 6.7 yards-per-carry he averaged 1.8.

Saints Defense 

Well, where to start?

Let’s start with the good. 

Cameron Jordan was again great. He had 1.5 sacks both on huge third downs and looked to be around the QB plenty throughout the game, ESPN has him with 2 QB hits and 2TFLs. This is now two games in a row Cam has dominated and long may it continue. 

Linebackers Pete Werner and Demario Davis. Werner continues to shine, he’s constantly where the ball is and when he’s there he makes plays. Werner forced a crucial fumble at the start of the second half.

David Onyemata recovers D.K. Metcalf fumble – Saints Seahawks Highlights – 2022 NFL Week 5 (

Which set the Saints up with a short field which they converted into a touchdown to take the lead.

Davis is still a stud and very rarely on the wrong side of plays, it’s just Werner is standing out so much Davis is merging nicely into the background.

Finally, Marshon Lattimore, after he struggled against Justin Jefferson last week, he looked to have put together a pretty clean game against DK Metcalf. Only looked like he gave up one catch in coverage against D.K and had a PBU on another. 

Something to monitor here throughout the week. Lattimore did not finish the game after injuring his abdomen, hopefully, it’s not serious, not having him next week Vs Cincinnati would be brutal.

The Seahawks were 1-9 on third down, but still scored 32 points, which leads us onto the bad which was how Seattle managed those points with such a putrid stat line on third down.

The rest of the secondary (maybe minus Bradley Roby it was hard to tell). Paulson Adebo got roasted, gave up multiple huge plays in the passing game and really struggled against Tyler Lockett specifically. Lockett is certainly a good WR, but it is disappointing to see a player we all thought was taking a huge leap this season struggle so much. Hopefully, this was just a bad game for Adebo rather than a sign of things to come.

The safeties did not look good and Marcus Maye is definitely more missed than initially realised, they need him back this week desperately, all reports suggest they will, but there was thought he’d be back this week, so fingers crossed. Also doesn’t help not having primary backup P.J. Williams available did not help.

This meant Justin Evans was thrust into the starting role and J.T. Gray, who’s an excellent special teamer but not someone you want playing serious snaps on defense, in this game he had to contribute in this phase of the game.

Tyrann Mathieu looks like a player that is far more effective in the box than back deep at this stage of his career.  Due to injuries, he had to play the deeper role more than you’d like and I think frailties showed. 

The Saints’ defense gave up a massive eight plays of 15 yards or more and six of those were over 30 yards. Many of those were big pass plays that certainly fall on the secondary play, especially the safeties and even Kenneth Walker’s huge 69-yard touchdown run, looked like the secondary did not stay in their lanes to keep the backside contained and Walker exploited that.

Saints Special Teams

Will Lutz was great again going on-for-one on field goals ( a perfect 56-yard kick) and 4/4 on extra points.

Blake Gillikin on the other hand was not. He had four punts, two ended in touchbacks, and another was a 25-yard shank, he had the chance to pin them deep when the Saints needed it most, but that punt ended up on the Seattle 22.

Gillikin hasn’t seemed himself and maybe my expectations were too high after being excellent last season but he needs to return to be a weapon for this team.

Finally, enter the front-runner for the most bizarre play of the week. Seattle lined up to punt at their own 29 it was fourth and nine and well this happened:

Was it a fake attempt? it looked like it, but it made no sense to do it where and when they did and it had no chance from the word go. Who recovered the fumble? of course it was Taysom Hill.

Hill also had more presence on special teams when he started to return kickoffs after Deonte Harty went out. It was just Hill’s day today on his first attempt after a nice return he fumbled but recovered it himself, otherwise looked good returning kicks.


The Saints had to win this game and they found a way to today. Who knows if this will turn around their season? Penalties and turnovers are still an issue they need to fix or it will cost them games.

To be honest, though, it was just nice to see a win, with some exciting offense. 

Need to keep an eye on the injury report this week, New Orleans needs to get some good news on that front with the Joe Burrow/ Ja’Marr Chase homecoming up next for them in the Dome next Sunday.

Look out for the preview of that game later in the week New Orleans Saints – Full10Yards 

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Week Three Saints @ Panthers Recap

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The Panthers are not a good football team, sadly this version of the New Orleans Saints is not either. Penalties, fumbles and generally sloppy play all led to the Saints losing 22-14 in Charlotte yesterday. Quarter by quarter lets see where it all went so badly wrong.

First Quarter

The Panthers started with the ball and the first play foreshadowed what was to come on some of the Panthers biggest plays on offense. A missed tackle. McCaffrey should have been bottled up for a minimal gain, instead rumbled for 14 yards. (PFF credited the Saints defense with 11 missed tackles on the day).

That was it really for this drive, Demario Davis sacked a scrambling Mayfield setting up a third and long, which the Panthers could not convert. After Mayfield and Anderson weren’t on the same page, this was also Paulson Adebo’s first snap of the season and applied solid coverage on the play.

The Saints offense took over at their own 11- yard line. Some more foreshadowing took place on the first play of this drive. The snap went wrong, it went down as a Winston fumble, he did pick it up and run for six-yards but this was just the start of the offense’s sloppy execution.

Sadly, this was one of the offenses better drives, the next play Kamara scampered for 27 yards. Winston completed two nice timing throws to Michael Thomas and the offense looked like there could be some life.

Then some of that sloppiness came back, a false start by Adam Trautman and a weak Chop Block penalty on Mark Ingram took the Saints from second and two on the Panthers 33 to third and 20 on the Saints 49. The chop block penalty was even worse because it wiped out and excellent catch by Michael Thomas that would have given the Saints a fresh set of downs in the RedZone.

Instead the Saints had to punt.

The Panthers went three and out quickly giving the Saints decent field position on their own 30. Helped even more by an unnecessary roughness penalty, giving them a fresh set of downs near midfield. Then the sadness began, Alvin Kamara was stripped, and the Panthers returned it for a TD. This was Kamara’s first fumble since 2020.

The next three Saints offensive possessions amassed a grand total of 9 plays for 8 yards. Led on one drive by two offensive dead ball fouls in a row and Winston not reading the field well.

Second Quarter

The Panthers grinded out a ten-play 40-yard drive which was completed early in the second quarter. Putting them up 10-0. This was a fairly solid drive by the Panthers. Pete Werner, who again looked like the best player maybe outside of Marshon Lattimore on the Saints defense was everywhere this game and was really good on this drive. Justin Evans also made two good stops in four plays. One for a loss on a screen and one for no gain in the running game.

The Panthers added another field goal later in the quarter generally because of the running game. Watching it live it looked like the Saints had this bottle up for the most part, upon review that wasn’t really the case.

The misery and false hope for Saints fans continued. Jameis Winston finally hit on a deep bomb to Chris Olave, who made a great play at the catch point to reel it in. The 49-yard gain had the Saints in business on the Carolina 18. Another nice quick pass to Olave got them to nearly inside the 10. A drop by Kamara on second down and a poor pass from Winston on third. He had Kamara wide open in front of him, instead choosing to throw an incompletion to Landry that was nowhere near him. This left the Saints with a short field goal try to get on the board. Which in true Saints style was blocked.

So, the best drive of the game came up empty for the Saints, who were shut out again in the first half.  Down 13-0 which at this stage felt like 30-0.

Third Quarter

The second half started with the Saints receiving the kick-off. Again, the Saints were penalised, this time a hold during the return. The Saints had to start at their own 16. With the way the offense was playing starting from there felt like 84 miles, rather than 84 yards.

The offense did put together a nice drive though. Started by two nice runs to Kamara, Jameis completed passes to Landry, Thomas, Olave and Tre’Quan on this drive. The pass to Landry wasn’t a great throw by Winston, Landry had to go low and twist to make the catch because the pass was behind him. This caused him to injure his foot/ankle and be out the rest of the game.

Unfortunately, the drive stalled once getting to the RedZone. The Saints struggles with the Blitz continued. On second down the blitz nearly got home, which made Winston throw the ball quicker than he wanted and he looked like he had Kamara on a wheel if he had a smidge longer to let the play develop.

On Third down the Panthers had Jeremy Chinn lined up at the line of scrimmage, no disguise and he just ran untouched to Winston for a huge sack which pushed the Saints all the way back to the 30 meaning it was now a 48-yard attempt. This blitz wasn’t exotic it wasn’t disguised. Winston needed to change the play to something where he could have got the ball out quickly, not a play that was 5/7 step drop. By the time he got to the end of his drop he was sacked.

That sack was huge, the extra distance meant Will Lutz missed it, pushed it wide right. The kick would have been good from closer. Now both times the Saints offense did something it ended in a special team’s error meaning no points. Those six points lost were huge later on.

On the other side of the ball the Saints defense was keeping them afloat, turning the Panthers over on downs, with a nice pass breakup by Demario Davis on fourth down.

Third/Fourth Quarter

Two punts followed, before the Saints offense finally put together a complete drive, two catches each for Chris Olave and Tre’Quan Smith, the Saints marched down the field, 10 plays- 89 yards, capped by a 5-yard TD run by Mark Ingram. This cut the Panthers lead to six points with 12:31 left in fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The next two series were the dagger for New Orleans, first up the Panthers offense. Two plays 67-yards touchdown. The Saints defense finally caved under the pressure the offense had put on them. Two bad missed tackles, first by P.J. Williams, the second by Tyrann Mathieu. Laviska Shenault JR. went 67 yards for a TD on a play he should have been stopped for a minimal gain by two different Saints defenders.

Next series, Winston interception from a tipped pass. Great catch by the big man Derrick Brown though! Always have a soft spot for big guy interceptions. The interception gave the Panthers a short field which allowed them to tack on another field goal.

At this stage the 15 points score difference was too big overcome. The Saints did manage another touchdown, after two great plays on deep balls by Chris Olave and Tre’Quan Smith. Finished off by an amazing catch in the endzone by Marquez Callaway, Callaway did bail Winston out though, he should have never thrown the pass.

Marquez Callaway One-Handed TD Catch – YouTube

The Panthers managed to run out enough of the clock leaving the Saints just 17 seconds to try and score, that was made impossible after Johnny Hekker produced an excellent punt, meaning the Saints would have had to have gone 99 yards in 17 seconds with no timeouts. Winston heaved one downfield which was intercepted.

Thus, ending a very painful watch for all Saints fans and for the Saints organisation who then had to take the long flight to London ready for their game this weekend against the Vikings @ Spurs stadium.


Defense did more than enough to win this game, the offense and special teams just kept shooting themselves in the foot. The offense can’t sustain drives and when it does something seems to go wrong to mean no points.

What’s more frustrating about this offense, is they have the talent, all the WR’s today looked excellent the execution of the offense right now is just simply poor. Penalties, fumbles, uninspiring play caller (at times) and Winston not seeing the field well.

It can’t continue otherwise this is going to be a long and wasted season. Ending in the Eagles having a juicy high first round draft pick (YIKES).

I will be previewing of all and recapping all the New Orleans Saints games this season on New Orleans Saints – Full10Yards

Please let me know your feedback on this article and the rest throughout the season, I’m always looking to improve and add things that people want to read about.

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Bucs @Saints Week 2 Recap

The Saints fall in the home opener 20-10 against the Bucs. Brady still didn’t do much. The refs were terrible, Winston played with a broken back and the Saints offense gave this game away. Let break down the loss quarter by quarter.

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First Quarter

The Saints offense started this game well, there was much more rhythm and rushed the ball really well with Ingram.  Peat was a pulling guard monster on the opening drive.

The Saints showed a different look with Taysom Hill at QB, wasn’t the conventional QB power. Looked to have a pass option out wide to Deonte Harty, with the option if Taysom didn’t like the pass, to run, he did and ran for a good gain.

The drive stalled and ended in a 31-yard field, disappointing to not get a TD, but it was promising to see the Saints offense have some rhythm, on the ground at least.

Brady and the Bucs started in the worst way possible for them, another Brady turnover against the Saints. Brady fumbled a 4th and 1 snap that was recovered by Demario Davis on the Saints 26. The Saints had a huge chance to put a stamp on the game here, with any points, especially a TD.

Unfortunately, the drive stalled the Saints were on the right side of an unnecessary roughness penalty after the Bucs blitz got home on 3rd down, which kept the drive alive. Before finally, a Taysom Hill run didn’t work, forcing a Saints punt.

An unusual poor punt from Gillikin, he had a real chance to pin the Bucs deep. Instead, the Bucs started with the ball at their own 23.

Second Quarter

Tampa started the 2nd quarter with a 3rd and 6 after a Fournette run and Incomplete pass ended the first quarter.

Tampa dialled up an excellent play to get Evans matched up in the slot against Justin Evans. Evans ran a kind of wheel route from the slot and the Saints defender got caught up in a rub, designed to get Evans clear. It was a really well drawn up play, with the Bucs now in business after the 41-yard completion.

The Bucs were now up to the Saints 30, then the 17 after an excellent run up the middle by Fournette, which turned out to be Fournette’s longest of the game (13 yards).

4th and 1 on the Saints 9-yard line concluded this drive, with Kentavius Street somehow getting into the backfield unblocked and disrupting the run. Leading to Carl Granderson standing tall and stopping Fournette for a loss. Allowing the Saints to take over inside their own 10, with again a chance for the offense to take the bull by the horns.

They didn’t and the offense went 3 and out quickly. This was a ‘what could have been’ drive. Winston looked to have Olave deep down the right sideline. Winston overthrow him on third down ending the drive there.

Getting no yards, also meant the Saints were losing the field position battle (a trend that continued for much of the game). Especially with Gillikin not on top form, the Bucs started again with good field position at the 50. They couldn’t take advantage gaining 1 yard on 3 plays. Mainly because of Pete Werner, Werner had another great game. He was excellent against the run all game and made at least 2 really good plays in pass coverage one on this drive and had a PBU on the Bucs first drive of the game. He has quickly become a key piece to the Saints defense.

Neither offense could do anything to end the half. There were signs on both Saints drives that Winston’s back was limiting him more than we were being told. He had a chance twice to scramble on third down, on he had a real chance to get the first both times but chose to keep his eyes downfield which nearly cost them. As he was stripped from behind on one of the plays, luckily James Hurst fell on it.

The Saints opted not to kick a 57-yard field goal with 28 seconds left and instead punted back to the Bucs. I understand the thought process at the time, up 3 and a miss would have given the Bucs good  field position to try and end the half with some points.  I think Allen needed to show some aggression here and trust Lutz. Points were at a premium in this game.

Brady Knelt, after the punt to end the half.

Third Quarter

Bucs started with the ball in the second half and didn’t do much again. They could get anything going on the ground and it wasn’t much better through the air. You could see Brady getting more and more frustrated with what the Saints were doing in coverage, so much so, Brady broke another tablet on the sideline.

Unfortunately, the Saints offense still couldn’t respond with more failed deep shots to Olave forcing an immediate three and out. What’s most frustrating about these attempts is it looked like Olave had a step on the defender most times, the play was there to be made. Winston just could connect.

Gillikin had another poor punt giving the Bucs another short field to work with. This was a huge factor in this game the Bucs were regularly starting past their 30-yard line, this was very rarely the case for the Saints.

Finally, the Saints defense caved just enough. Brady and the Bucs had finally broken the drought against the Saints and scored their first point in 7 quarters.

 After a very nice rub route concept again got Breshad Perriman open to keep the Bucs offense alive on a third down and long. The Bucs only gained 28-yards on this drive but again because of their field position that was enough to get them into FG range.

Next is where it all started to unravel for the Saints. The offense found rhythm that we hadn’t seen since the very first drive of the game, great runs by Ingram and Dwayne Washington. With some nice completions mixed in from Jameis leading the team all the way down to the Redzone. Until a very nice 9-yard run by Ingram was capped with a killer game-changing fumble. A textbook punch out caused the fumble and, in a game, where any points were like gold dust for the Saints to not punch in a great drive, turned into a huge momentum changer.

Fourth Quarter

The Saints defense came up with another 3rd and short stuff to force a 4th and 1 on the Bucs 19-yard line. When a severely unusual mistake by the Saints special teams kept the drive going, a 12 men on the field penalty, gave Brady another crack.

As was the way Brady still couldn’t move the ball, after a deep attempt to Mike Evans was well covered by Marshon Lattimore as it had been all day. Lattimore had been dominating the matchup again in this one and Brady was frustrated, he marched down the field demanding a flag from the refs and exchanged words with Lattimore.

It was at this point all hell broke loose. Fournette push Lattimore, Lattimore pushed back, nothing unusual nothing to major. Then from the sideline, encouraged by the ‘retired’ former Bucs HC Bruce Arians who for some reason was on the Bucs sideline. Mike Evans came bursting onto the field and flattened Lattimore from Behind. A significant scrum ensued, causing the eyes in the sky in New York, to eject Lattimore and Evans.

This, in my opinion was a joke, Evans came  from the sideline and escalated the whole thing with an unnecessary hit on Lattimore, he and he alone should have been thrown out, with Lattimore and Fournette receiving 15-yard penalties.

This decision from the people who are supposed to be removed from the situation, so they can review footage to get these calls right. As per usual got it wrong, which caused major effects on the game.  See the video below and make up your own mind.

Evans and Lattimore ejected after Bucs, Saints scuffle – ESPN Video

This was where the implosion happened, Winston tried Olave again deep and underthrow him (another sign of the back causing an issue) and was intercepted. Winston went on to be intercepted on the next 2 Saints drives after that. Both were bad throws one was a bad miss to TE Juwan Johnson; the other Winston did not see the Robber (S Mike Edwards) and throw a pick 6. The coverage looked very similar to what the Saints used last season on P.J. Williams’ pick 6 on Brady.

Sprinkle in a Brady touchdown drive in-between aided by some poorly officiated penalties against the Saints and P.J. Williams being in primary coverage for the touchdown when Lattimore would have been if he didn’t get thrown out. That was the end of the contest for the Saints.

The offense did find rhythm to get one TD on the board with nice passes to Mike Thomas and Juwan Johnson and a PI call on another deep shot to Olave, but it was all too little too late.

The final very cruel dagger was, finally, a deep shot to Olave worked for 51-yard gain. It could have given the Saints a small window to come back, but the receiver was judged to have fumbled the ball, as he had not been touched down after completing the catch and then fumbling.

From one angle the broadcast showed it looked like Olave’s foot was touched on the way down, therefore meaning the ruling should have been a 51-yard completion. It was hard to tell though.


The Saints should have won this game, the defense stifled Brady again and the Bucs could do nothing in the run game.

But the offense couldn’t capitalise on the fortunate cards they were dealt, it felt like 13 points would have won this game, I really think the defense could have protected that. Ultimately the offense turned it over 5 times and that isn’t going to beat anyone. Let alone the Goat.

I think the offense will get there, the talk all off-season has been that as OC Pete Carmichael has called plays before, so he will be fine. Well, let’s not forget he had Drew Brees when he called plays before, Brees was effectively an OC on the field who could decide how he wanted to play. I think Pete is still trying to figure his offensive identity with no Brees and no Payton.

Brady made enough plays when needed and the Bucs defense, came up big down the stretch.

Finally note on this game, the officials were horrific, not just calls against the Saints but a couple of the call against the Bucs earlier in the game were awful too. The NFL needs to fix its officiating crisis because too much of their incompetence is having an impact on the results of games.

I will be previewing of all and recapping all the New Orleans Saints games this season on New Orleans Saints – Full10Yards

Please let me know your feedback on this article and the rest throughout the season, I’m always looking to improve and add things that people want to read about. I will back later in the week to preview Saints @ Panthers, so please keep an eye out for that.

I want to create as much of a UK Saints community as possible, so follow me on Twitter @SaintsReportUK, for much more Saints content and discussion