l’m not sure Saints fans can survive another game like that, but we’ll take it as long as it also ends up in a “W”. In what was another roller-coaster of a game with plenty of ups and downs along the way, here are a couple that stood out.
We can go ahead and address this so we can talk about all of the good things.
The Saints went on to win the game, but might have lost a lot more than just a game after reports came out that DE Alex Okafor is done for the season. The veteran Defensive End played admirably through the season’s first 11 weeks, over-performing the value of his one-year contract and looking primed for a big payday this offseason. His loss will hurt, but we’ll see what - if anything - the Saints do outside the organization to address the hole created by Okafor’s injury.
With AJ Klein and Kenny Vaccaro already out of the game due to injury, Saints fans collectively held their breath as CB Marshon Lattimore left the game early with an ankle injury. He tried to return later in the game, but was unable to play. Fortunately, he Tweeted shortly after the game that all is well, so hopefully we can see Lattimore, Klein and Vaccaro all back on the field next week.
Up: Run Game
Consider this the weekly “Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are Awesome” comment. Alvin Kamara has firmly planted his name in the Offensive Rookie of the Year discussion with another great game, capped off by a game-tying touchdown and subsequent two-point conversion. Ingram, on the other hand, scored his touchdown early in the game but then broke off two big runs in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal. Both backs again crossed the 100-total-yards mark and helped steal the game from the Redskins.
Up: Drew Brees
Believe it or not, this is actually a first for the “Ups and Downs” series this season. Drew Brees gets a massive “Up” this week for showing that he can still get it done in the air when he needs to. While the Saints have racked up rushing yards since the trade of Adrian Peterson to Arizona, the pass attempts of Brees have decreased to have him on pace for his lowest total in his New Orleans career.
But down 15 points with less than an eighth of the game remaining, Brees was able to put the team on his back and lead the Saints to back-to-back touchdowns. In his final two drives, Brees was a perfect 11-for-11. Seeing this kind of performance from Brees should scare the rest of the NFL.
Listen to Mark Ingram’s postgame interview. “This is just what Championship teams do.”
They didn’t quit, even when the odds were stacked against them. Whether in a win or in the season’s first two losses, the Saints had yet to play in a truly close game. Think back to the 2009 season and the winning streak that started the season. The Saints found different ways to win. They would win in a blowout against the Patriots and Eagles. They could win a close game against the Falcons and Rams. And they could come from behind against the Dolphins and Redskins.
Now, this 2017 squad is showing that even missing four of their defensive starters in the game, even when all hope looks lost, this team can still win the game that they weren’t supposed to.
To the rest of the NFC: be afraid.