While the New Orleans Saints and its fans are extremely disappointed with the final outcome from Sunday’s heartbreaking 35-34 loss to the Oakland Raiders, here’s a few takes from Week 1’s contest.
Drew Brees is still great at football
You can’t exactly fault Drew Brees for doing much wrong, as he overcame a slump of a start that included a fumble on the opening drive. How did Brees respond? By catching fire. Brees connected with seven different receivers on the day, and finished with 28 completions for 423 yards and 4 touchdowns. By the way, what was that weird option play down near the goal line?
The Saints BMW trio is pretty lethal
BMW, or Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, and Willie Snead played well as a receiving trio. Cooks (6-143-2TD) and Snead (9-172-TD) picked up right where they left off from last season, while rookie Michael Thomas had 6 receptions for 58 yards. Thomas put his ball skills on full display by making a nice contested catch and another play where he put a nice juke move on cornerback Sean Smith. Thomas also showed his awareness by scooping up a Snead fumble. This group is very underrated.
The pass rush is still a problem
Three quarterback hits and no sacks for Dennis Allen’s squad. There were some moments where the defense had some ‘almost’ plays, but that doesn’t exactly count for much. There were blips, but clearly the Saints couldn’t get to Derek Carr. I distinctly remember the play that Carr had well over 4.5 seconds to throw. A stellar pass rush would solve so many problems, but it’s one game in and we’re not too thrilled.
The offensive line played well
Facing Khalil Mack, who was projected to have a field day against the Saints offensive line, he was actually kept in check. While the rushing attack wasn’t dominating by any means (88 yards total, 4.0 yards per carry), the pass protection held up. I saw some encouraging things from Andrus Peat, and Jahri Evans looked strong. Let’s hope it keeps going, as the Saints only allowed the lone sack to Bruce Irvin. Other sacks were wiped out by Raiders penalties.
Pete Carmichael Jr. should continue calling the offensive plays
Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael called the first 15 scripted plays for the Saints offense, but it didn’t stop there. Carmichael called a very good game, which was very pass heavy. The result was 7.8 yards per play on offense. The only criticism I’d have is the Saints going 4-for-11 (36 percent) on 3rd Down.
The Saints secondary desperately needs Delvin Breaux
Losing Delvin Breaux was something that Derek Carr quickly took advantage of. Carr exploited rookie Ken Crawley, De’Vante Harris, and P.J. Williams were worked on by the Raiders quarterback. The recently acquired Sterling Moore was an inactive for Sunday’s game, which didn’t help. Breaux was carted off of the field with a left leg injury, and was taken to the locker room for X-rays.
Having to face Odell Beckham Jr. in Week 2 is very unsettling right now if I’m Dennis Allen and company.
Other quick thoughts:
- Wil Lutz has a strong leg, and those two misses were from long range. He was solid on extra points and the 42-yard field goal. The Saints could have something strong with him, and Sean Payton and Drew Brees believes in him.
- Craig Robertson played particular well filling in for Dannell Ellerbe. That was most definitely not a pass interference call, as that ball was very uncatchable.
- Kenny Vaccaro might have been the best defensive player for the Saints. He had several pass break ups, and you could just tell his energy was there.
- Don’t pass your judgement on Coby Fleener. The Saints were down to one tight end in this contest, which limited Fleener. Let’s see how he rebounds next week.