The entire front office should be patting themselves on the back for building a roster capable of winning without a future Hall of Famer at quarterback. The defense especially has been playing at a high level and that continued into week 6 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the offense and Teddy Bridgewater have done just enough to continue winning.
Here are some quick observations:
Defense quiets Minshew Mania
The defense was able to prevent the New Orleans native running back Leonard Fournette from going off, holding him to 72 yards, no touchdowns and 3.6 yards per carry. This also marked the 32nd game in a row the defense prevented a running back from gaining 100 yards.
The secondary also did their job and slowed down rookie quarterback Gardener Minshew, limiting him to only 168 yards and zero touchdowns, while he also threw his first interception of the season, gifting Marshon Lattimore his first pick of this year as well.
The defensive line was able to create pressure on the rookie signal caller, with team captain Cameron Jordan leading the way with two sacks and three quarterback hits. Marcus Davenport also had one hit on the quarterback, but the entire defensive line rotation contributed to creating pressures and containing Minshew to the pocket.
It was obvious the always elusive running back was not at 100% the whole game, seeing him limp off the field and lack the explosiveness we have grown accustomed to. It didn’t help that he possibly injured his knee as well during the game.
Payton said Alvin Kamara had a swollen ankle coming into the game and tweaked his knee during it.— John Hendrix (@JohnJHendrix) October 13, 2019
Latavius Murray did all he could, rushing for 44 yards on eight attempts and falling forward to pick up a few first downs.
He also saw an uptick in targets, mainly in the screen game, where he was targeted twice, and would have scored a touchdown on one of them, but unfortunately it was called backed due to a holding penalty called on Michael Thomas.
Taysom Hill also added 17 rushing yards of his own on a couple of quarterback sweeps and his signature zone-read play.
Hopefully Kamara will be ready to go next week when the team travels to take on the Chicago Bears, who boast one of the best defenses in the NFL.
It was an ugly day for both offenses when it came to third down efficiency. Both defenses did a good job at keeping the offenses off schedule and not allowing many third and short situations.
The Saints faced 13 third downs but only managed to convert 5 for 38.5%. While on the other side of the ball, the defense made life hard for the Jaguars’ offense as well on third down, holding them to 28.6% on 4 of 14 attempts.
The Saints offense also failed to put the ball in the end zone on two out of three red zone attempts. One attempt did come at the end of the game however and Bridgewater would kneel twice to run the clock out. But the other failed attempt came in the third quarter with the game tied.
Bridgewater overthrew an open Michael Thomas on a fake tunnel screen, designed to bait the defense into thinking it was the play the team has scored on the goal line with in the past.
Thomas will step towards the quarterback at the snap just like when they run the tunnel screen. But instead, he will run a whip route that baits the defense in to defend against the screen, then cut his route the opposite way towards the outside, aiming for the pylon.
The defense bites, but Bridgewater is unable to throw a catchable ball and the team is forced to settle for the field goal.
The offense will need to be able to score touchdowns in the red zone next week, if they can get there at all against the Bears’ defense.