It was the second week in a row that the offense came out with a slow start. The Buccaneers defense was able to keep the the Saints from having easy third downs and limited the Saints to only 3 points in the first half. Luckily the defense continues its dominance and kept the game competitive until the team got a spark of energy from a crowd-favorite player. Here are some quick observations.
For the second week in a row, the Saints gave up yards to a mobile quarterback. Just like last week against Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston was able to keep his offense on the field by using his legs to pick up first downs. Next week the Saints go to Carolina, where they will face Cam Newton, who is one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the league. Dennis Allen may choose to put a spy on Newton for parts of the game next Monday.
Apple bounces back
Eli Apple had a nice bounce back game against the Buccaneers this week and was playing with more confidence. Though it wasn’t a perfect game, he was exactly what we traded for— a reliable number two next to Marshon Lattimore. He gave up a couple catches, but also had solid coverage for much of the game and was able to get a PBU (pass breakup) that prevented a first down.
The needed spark
Taysom Hill may not have been used as much in the offense in recent weeks, but he still makes contributions on specials teams. His punt block was the turning point in this game, setting the offense up with great field position to get into the end zone for the first time all game.
Hill and Alex Okafor will run a stunt on the left side of the line. Hill is lined up on the outside, with Alex Okafor to the right of him. Okafor will penetrate to the outside shoulder of the blocker on the end of the offensive line, while Hill will loop around him to the inside of where he has an open lane for the block.
So much for relying on undrafted players to make plays for the offense. The game was put on the shoulders of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara once again as they combined for 134 receiving yards. The rest of the offense could only muster 67 yards on eight receptions. Benjamin Watson and Keith Kirkwood added a couple receptions, but rookie Tre’Quan Smith had another drop this week that could have resulted in a big play.
The flea-flicker was set up nicely, but the the safety was bale to knock the ball out of Smith’s hands. This will be week two he’s in Payton’s doghouse.
The Saints should look to continue to clean things up as they go into their prime time match-up next Monday against the division rival Carolina Panthers. It will be their third straight week on the road and they will face a team that’s hungry for a win after losing five games in a row.