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Beignets and Café au Lait: Saints Remain Undefeated in the Division

New Orleans is 2-0 in the NFC South after 27-24 win over the Panthers

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
Marquez Callaway made a case for more playing time on Sunday against Carolina
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Y’all!

As always, for our novice readers or non-New Orleanians, welcome!

Let’s start with some definitions:

Beignets (English: /bɛnˈjeɪ/; French: [bɛɲɛ], ben-YAY literally bump) are distinctly New Orleans, a delicacy intimately connected to the city’s rich French heritage. Best enjoyed heavily powdered with sugar.

Café au lait (/ˌkæfeɪ oʊ ˈleɪ, kæˌfeɪ, kə-/; French: [kafe olɛ]; French for “coffee with milk”) is a delicious New Orleans way to start your day.

This is your “After-Saints-Game” brunch, where we talk about the state of the Black and Gold, we debate the goings-on with the team and talk about what’s next at this point of the season. So, sit back, take a bite and a sip while your brain slowly wakes up, and let’s catch up on some football.

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What Just Happened?

FIRST HALF

The New Orleans Saints were faced with a daunting challenge on Sunday, playing a game without their top-two wide receivers. With both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders out, New Orleans would set the tone early, going on a 14-play touchdown drive that ate up nearly eight and half minutes and culminated with a touchdown pass from Drew Brees to tight end Jared Cook.

Leading 7-0, the Saints would concede a field goal, but engineer yet another long drive, this time punctuated by a patented touchdown leap at the goal line by Drew Brees to take a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. The Saints’ defense would unfortunately revert to its play-busting ways, allowing Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore to run free behind the defense and catch a 74-yard touchdown pass from former Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who was making his return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Leading 14-10, the Saints’ next drive would be thwarted by a Brian Burns sack-fumble on Drew Brees, the only turnover of the game. The Panthers would promptly convert the takeaway into a touchdown to take a 17-14 lead. With only 1:37 left in the half, Drew Brees, who was magnificent all day would lead a lightning-quick touchdown drive, finding Deonte Harris for a score with only two seconds left in the half, sending the Saints to a 21-17 halftime lead.

SECOND HALF

After forcing the first punt of the game by stopping the Panthers on their opening drive, the Saints would manage to score a field goal to increase their lead to 24-17. Undeterred, the Panthers would get the ball and tie the game at 24 with a Curtis Samuel short run into the end zone late in the third quarter.

The Saints would regain the lead on a Wil Lutz 43-yard field goal at the start of the fourth quarter for a 27-24 lead. On their ensuing drive, the Panthers would take the ball into Saints territory while draining the clock all the way down to two minutes, when a massive sack of Teddy Bridgewater by Marcus Davenport would force Carolina into attempting a 65-yard field goal, which Joey Slye would leave just short of the uprights. The Saints would take over just inside Carolina territory and run out the clock to secure a hard-fought 27-24 win over a game Panthers squad. New Orleans moves to 4-2, while Carolina falls to 3-4.

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Beignets and Café au Lait Awards

Fresh Beignets with Hot Coffee: Marquez Callaway

With top wide receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders out yesterday, the Saints were going to rely on a lot of on young players to catch passes from Drew Brees. Emerging from the lot was undrafted rookie free agent Marquez Callaway. A former standout for the Tennessee Volunteers, it was a bit surprising that Callaway was not selected in the 2020 NFL draft. The Saints’ however, who have made a habit of finding diamonds in the rough in the undrafted pool, signed Callaway and quickly elevated him to the active roster. On Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, Callaway was the most-targeted wide receiver by Drew Brees with 10 passes thrown his way, well ahead of Tre’Quan Smith, who the Panthers often bracketed, challenging the younger players to beat them. Callaway caught eight of his 10 targets for 75 yards and a long of 16=5 yards. What was most remarkable was Callaway’s impeccable technique, running crisp routes against the Panthers’ predominant zone coverage and catching the ball with his hands rather than his body. It appears that New Orleans has found another reliable pass-catcher for Drew Brees going forward, minimizing an over-reliance on Michael Thomas, and to a lesser extent on Emmanuel Sanders.

More Fresh Beignets with Hot Coffee: Marcus Davenport

With an honorable mention to Wil Lutz, who so far this season has simply forgotten how to miss a field goal, Marcus Davenport basically sealed the game for the Saints with the team’s first and only sack of the game. It was the only one, but when the sack came is what matters most: The Panthers had taken the ball with 7:55 on the clock in the fourth quarter. They trailed 27-24, and a field goal would have tied the game, but Carolina was not thinking field goal. Bridgewater drove the Panthers to the Saints’ 39-yard line and looked at a 3rd-and-11 play with now only 2:25 left in the game. As Bridgewater dropped back to pass, the Saints’ defensive line ran a stunt and Davenport on the outside-inside move found himself in the face of the Panthers’ quarterback. Bridgewater, who had eluded Saints rushers all afternoon could not escape this time, and was sacked for a massive 8-yard loss, all the way to New Orleans’ 47-yard line.

On 4th-and-19 from the Saints’ 47 and only one timeout left, the Panthers elected to try a 65-yard field goal rather than try to go for it. Joey Slye had the aim right, but not the distance, as his attempt fell just short of the horizontal bar of the uprights. With two-minutes left in the game, the Saints would run out the clock and secure the victory, but Davenport’s sack was what tipped the scale in New Orleans’ favor.

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What’s Next?

The Saints start a two-week road trip next Sunday afternoon in frigid Chicago to face the Bears (5-1). Chicago has been one of the surprise teams of the season. After benching former starter Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears have turned to Nick Foles, who has been the conductor of a middling but efficient offense. On the other side of the ball, Chicago has a lights out defense led by outside linebacker/defensive end Khalil Mack, and will be a bear (pun intended) to deal with. With Saints starting left tackle Terron Armstead leaving yesterday’s game with an arm injury, the Saints’ offensive line will have its hands full, especially if Armstead is out next week. New Orleans however has proven this season that it will play “boring” efficient football when it needs to, and next week in Chicago, expect to see a heavy dose of Latavius Murray and Alvin Kamara running the ball and controlling the pace of the game. New Orleans will be looking to get to 5-2 before a juicy rematch with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in two weeks.

Poll

How do you feel about the Saints’ offense after their 27-24 win over the Panthers?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Drew Breeeeees seems to have injected his arm with some HGH
    (47 votes)
  • 35%
    The running game has been humming, that’s a great sign
    (58 votes)
  • 21%
    Marquez Callaway is the next Lance Moore!
    (36 votes)
  • 6%
    Michael Who?
    (11 votes)
  • 7%
    I feel that burgers without cheese are an offense!
    (12 votes)
164 votes total Vote Now