The Saints won their third game in a row on the legs of Alvin Kamara and Wil Lutz, and some solid play from an offseason addition.
Lutz stays Clutch
Wil Lutz has been the unsung hero of the season so far. He has gone 10 of 11 on his field goal attempts and has not missed an extra point all year. The fact that the Saints—in the Payton era— have a reliable, clutch kicker is something many never thought they would see. This will prove vital to winning close games down the stretch.
On Sunday he was a perfect 4 of 4 on his field goals that counted and even added two that were nullified due to various reasons. We should feel confident knowing that if we need a field goal to win a game, Lutz will come through.
Demario Davis had himself a day. He registered 11 tackles and 2 sacks and is looking like the missing piece in the middle of the defense we have been looking for since Jonathan Vilma retired. AJ Klein has put to rest some of the questions surrounding his play coming out of the preseason, as he has looked solid in his role through the first four games.
Overall, the play of the front seven looks to be much improved from last season, as indicated by the rushing yards opposing teams have put up. The Saints currently sit at 4th in total rushing yards allowed per game with 79.5, and a lot of that has been due to the linebacker group.
Mr. Do Everything
The third string quarterback/special team ace/wide receiver/kickoff returner has continued to impress every time he gets on the field. He would have thrown his first career passing touchdown if Kamara would have held on to a pass that showed nice touch and placement from Hill who was on the run. He did however pull off a 4th down conversion on a fake punt when he received the direct snap and hit Justin Hardee to pick up the first.
With Mark Ingram missing, Hill has been the only significant rushing threat behind Kamara and his ability to run the Read-Option has opened things up for the offense in even more ways. And while Ingram may take away some of his touches, he should still have a few play calls designed around his unique skill set that Payton will use.
The Dynamic Duo
AK41 is unstoppable. Whatever the game plan calls for, he steps up. He was finally able to top the 100 yd mark notching 134 rushing yards while also adding 5 catches for 47 yards through the air. He leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 611 and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon, even with Ingram set to return.
Michael Thomas’ stats came back to Earth this week. His 4 receptions are the lowest amount he hauled in so far this year, but he was still effective when the ball was thrown his way. He caught 4 of his 5 targets for an 80% catch rate and now holds the record for most receptions through the first 4 games of a season. Thomas could be set up for a big game next week against Washington if cornerback Josh Norman isn't able to play due to a hamstring injury.
On the final drive of the first half, two Saints players dropped potential touchdown passes. First, Kamara dropped a pass from third string quarterback Taysom Hill, and later veteran tight end Ben Watson couldn't hang on to a Drew Brees pass and dropped the ball as he hit the ground.
Luckily this didn’t come back to haunt them, but against better teams getting just a field goal within the 20 yard line wont be enough for a win.