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What we learned: Saints defense pitches first shutout since 2012 in 20-0 win over Dolphins

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Dat Defense is starting to build confidence, and Alvin Kamara helps put the game out of reach for the second straight week in the Saints 20-0 victory over the Dolphins

NFL: International Series-New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins
Vonn Bell raises his hands in Victory after the Saints dismantle the Dolphins 20-0 in London
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get this out of the way pronto!

Alvin Kamara (Agent41) is a nightmare out of the backfield and continues to get better on the same trajectory as Michael Thomas did last year. Both scored their first TDs in Week 3, and then followed them up with another score in Week 4. It’s hard to fathom how a player as versatile as him slipped until the 3rd round, but I’m not going to complain about other teams passing on this guy multiple times - including the Jets - who didn’t want to pay the price for him in the 2nd round. Their Loss! Peep his TD reception below for your viewing pleasure.

Moving on...

The New Orleans Saints have a chance to crack .500, yet again. They also proceeded to pitch their first shutout since 2012 - another rarity in the Sean Payton era. With an assist from the Saints offense (man that feels odd to say) that saw a breakout receiving performance from the previously mentioned Alvin Kamara (10 catches, one receiving TD), New Orleans was able to stymie a Miami Dolphins squad that came in on edge after an embarrassing loss to the Jets the week prior. These are the types of games the Saints would have dropped in previous years and yet, this gives fans a reason to believe this isn’t going to be a repeat of the 7-9 seasons they’ve become accustomed to the last 3 years. Let’s take a look at some things that stood out for the Saints in their season saving win against the Dolphins

Dat Defense!

NFL: International Series-New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Who Dat’s, you are watching the New Orleans Saints defense grow up before your very eyes. Fact is they’ve been fielding a defense that is the youngest in the NFL since 1991 based on average age of starters. It was always going to take time as the young players took their lumps from week to week while learning on the fly. Now they are playing with confidence and it’s a complete 180 from the first 2 games. Sure they have a bit of bend-don’t break mentality to their game but they are getting the turnovers that off-set the bending. They also forced two fumbles(Lattimore/Jordan) that would have possibly blown the game wide open had they been able to recover them. Want some numbers? First two games: 512.5 yards/game - Last two games: 237 yards/game. That’s what I call a swift turnaround folks!

Swiper No Swiping

NFL: International Series-New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Crawley may have swiped P.J. Williams starting spot in the lineup after back to back good games on the outside. One of my chief concerns was would he be able to play the LCB position after showing he deserved more snaps last week, and those concerns were quelled 100% as he had an INT in the end zone to kill a scoring drive (out-muscled a TE), and also had another near INT as he broke up another short pass via tight coverage. The kid is balling out and his professionalism has been A-1 to this point. He dealt with being inactive the first two games of the season, maintained faith in his ability to make plays when given the chance, and then proceeded to prove himself right in successive weeks.. At this point there is absolutely no way you can pull him from the starting lineup anytime soon as he’s proved he belongs there.

Most Accurate Twitter Handle Award goes to?

NFL: International Series-New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Thomas - as his Can’t Guard Mike moniker is proving to be more accurate than Drew Brees facing an Olympic archer. I recall Urban Meyer saying his best trait was “He’s a competitive SOB” and that has been proven more than appropriate to this point. He muscled through a defender on the TD catch and also had two clutch 3rd down conversions where he would not be denied the first down marker. The tunnel screen (Sup Rev) he ran on one of the aforementioned plays was the type of shiftiness in space you’d expect to see from a Ted Ginn Jr. or Brandin Cooks. For a man of his size to have that type of wiggle is special, and is not the type of play you’d run with a Marques Colston. The answer on will he be better than #12 is a little bit away but you can’t argue that he brings a skill set that Colston didn’t have while also doing some of things that Marques did just as well (catches in traffic).

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Kamara has ice in his veins, as he put the game on chill for the second consecutive week. He’s got a nose for the end zone and is just getting started in a Saints uniform.
  • I’m convinced that when Zach Strief does return, it will be as Ryan Ramczyk’s backup
  • Speaking of Ramczyk, not bad for a guy that ended up being a “panic” pick after losing out on Reuben Foster
  • Adrian Peterson is only AD in name at this point, as Kamara and Ingram are much better options.
  • Concerned about the injury to Alex Anzalone’s shoulder, as it’s been said it’s the same one he had problems with in college.
  • Better coverage has given Cam Jordan more time to make an impact. He’s on pace for double-digit sacks this year.
  • Crawley through two weeks: 18 targets, 8 catches for 66 yards, 4 Pass breakups, and 1 INT
  • Saints became only the 3rd team in NFL history to have 0 turnovers through their first 4 games.
  • Lattimore island is being built as we speak - Book your reservations now!
  • Jeff Ireland deserves credit for the production from these recent drafts.

New Orleans finds itself fully in command of its season heading into October for the first time in quite a while. With a bye week coming at just the right juncture in their schedule, they should be much healthier on offense (Snead/Armstead possibly returning) when they host the Detroit Lions in the dome on Oct 15th. We are winners right now Saints fans, and it feels extremely satisfying to say that, wouldn’t you agree? Enjoy the win and you work week folks and drop some comments below just to share the excitement.

Who Dat!