What’s good, Who Dats!? It’s Tee Word, and I’m back with the New Orleans Saints Player of the Week for Week 14! After an embarrassing stumble in Dallas, the Saints bounced back with solid divisional win versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. Not only did New Orleans avenge a week 1 loss to the Bucs, the Saints also clinched a playoff berth and their second consecutive NFC South title. The latter was historic in itself as it’s the first time in team history that the Saints have won the South in back to back seasons. A little added history is the fact that New Orleans is the first NFC South team to win the division back to back with a winning record. (Note: The Carolina Panthers won 3 consecutive NFCS titles but a 7-8-1 season was sandwiched in the middle)
Week 14 was positioned perfectly for the Saints to regroup and get pointed in the right direction offensively. 10 days of rest was much needed and helped to break up a 3 game road trip. Things did not go exactly as planned to start with the offense stalling out to the tune of 3 first half points and the defense allowing 14 points and Tampa’s offense to move the ball at will. Then a spark happened 5 minutes in the 3rd quarter and the Saints remembered they are a pretty good football team.
Making the spark possible was a bend but don’t break defense that kept the Bucs within reach into the second half. Aided by 2 missed field goals and led by Cameron Jordan, who was active and pestered Jameis Winston all day, the defense continued its trend of locking up opposing offenses. Jordan had 4 tackles, 2 for loss and 2 were sacks that went along with a pass defended. Factor in the numerous pressures Jordan caused, especially in the second half, and you’ll see that Winston had a very long day.
One of the best free agent signings for the Saints has been at linebacker. Demario Davis has proven to be a savvy pickup and continues to be a force at the second level. Davis was all over the field and contributed 8 tackles and a pass defended. Davis appears to be a natural leader and spark plug, a true high energy player who enjoys the game. Even more amazing is the fact that he’s playing at a high level and isn’t breaking the Saints pocket.
The mighty spark that awakened the sluggish Saints was do-it-all weapon, Taysom Hill. Just under 5 minutes in the 3rd quarter, the Saints forced a Bucs punt and Hill slipped past blockers and produced the double thud that kickers hate. The Saints offense would go on score and cut the Bucs lead to 3 before taking control of the game en route to 25 unanswered points and a 14 point victory. Hill’s only other statistic on the day was 1 carry for -6 yards. But the blocked punt was so impactful that no one even remembers the carry and instead celebrate the epic momentum shift due to Hill’s hard work on special teams.
Heading into week 14, the Saints are visiting the Carolina Panthers. While the division and playoff spot are locked up, the Saints now sit atop the NFC as the #1 seed and must finish the season strong to remain there. Nothing can be taken for granted and every game counts during the final 3 weeks of 2018!
As always, Thanks for reading, Be Cool Who Dats!