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1 Up, 2 Downs and 1 “?” from Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers

Kamara shined, but the defense did not.

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Saints lost their second straight game, falling 37-30 to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. It was a back and fourth game, but penalties and defensive woes continued to haunt the Saints as they did last week against the Raiders.

Up: Alvin Kamara

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Alvin Kamara continued to prove he’s worth $75 million, as he flexed his dual threat abilities all night for the Saints. Kamara rushed for 58 yards on six carries, with his longest run coming at 49 yards. He was also a threat in the air receiving 139 yards and two touchdowns on 13 receptions. The highlight for the Saints came when Kamara received a short pass from Drew Brees near the Saints 45, where AK41 broke some tackles and thanks to some great blocking from Erik McCoy and Pro Bowl level elusiveness, was able to take it to the house for a 52-yard touchdown.

Especially since Michael Thomas is out, the Saints should look to incorporate Kamara into the offense as much as possible, specifically the run game, where Kamara only had six carries, yet averaged 9.7 yards per carry. Even though the Saints are 1-2, Kamara is making the games a lot closer than they would be without him. Against the Packers, he had 135 yards after the catch (YAC) and now leads the league in YAC three games into the season with 280 YAC.

Down: Defensive backs

The Saints defensive backs got torched on deep throws by Aaron Rodgers all night. Marshon Lattimore was a victim to a few deep throws, specifically those received by Allen Lazard. With Davante Adams out for the Packers, the Saints secondary should have been on their A-game but that wasn’t the case as Lazard went off 146 yards on six receptions. To make matters worse, four Packers averaged more than 10 yards a reception, and three Packers caught touchdowns for Green Bay. It was open season on the Saints secondary.

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Down: Penalties

For the third game in a row, the Saints were plagued by penalties. The Saints committed eight penalties for a total of 83 yards, four of which led to first downs. Notable penalties included a horse collar tackle by Malcolm Jenkins, offensive pass interference on Taysom Hill and two defensive pass interferences by Janoris Jenkins on the same drive. The Saints now lead the league in yardage off of penalties by a large margin, with 331 yards off of 24 penalties in just three games, almost a 100 yards more than the next team (Arizona with 247 yards).

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

?: Drew Brees

Drew Brees looked good on paper. Brees had 29 completions on 36 attempts for 288 yards and three touchdowns. The good news is, Brees is completing majority of his throws and is finding the endzone. The bad news is, he is extremely hesitant to throw the ball deep and his numbers are inflated by Alvin Kamara’s YAC. Takeaway Kamara’s YAC and Brees has 158 passing yards, a stat which is very reflective of Brees’s addiction to short throws and lack of deep throws. Only 10% of Brees’s passes against the Packers went 15+ yards, and the Saints are now 1-2. The Saints have been contenders the past three years and have collapsed last minute in the playoffs (barring the Rams game, that was a PI). The question is, can the Saints be a true contender if Brees keeps throwing the ball short and shying away from deep throws?