The New Orleans Saints have now won eight straight games to bring their season record to 9-2. The latest victory saw the Saints once again start quarterback Taysom Hill after Drew Brees was placed on the injured reserve prior to last Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
New Orleans faced a well-coached Broncos defense, but the biggest headline of the day was about Denver’s offense. All four quarterbacks on the Broncos roster were ineligible to play due to a possible exposure to COVID. As such, undrafted rookie wide receiver Kendall Hinton was signed from the practice squad to play quarterback.
As expected, there were plenty of takeaways from the performance. Let’s get to it:
The Saints defense is of championship caliber
We expected the New Orleans defense to feast on a hobbled Denver offense, especially considering a practice squad wide receiver was making the calls. It’s hard to take away much of anything in terms of value, but the front line, along with the linebacker corps was phenomenal. Despite a shaky start to the season, the defense has been outstanding these last few weeks. Once again, they have taken the reins for the team with Brees out and have played the largest parts in the last two wins during Brees’s absence.
The offense is incredibly efficient, there are not many worries there. However, what will separate true Super Bowl contenders from the frauds is a team’s defense. The secondary was the biggest worry, but even with injuries to Marshon Lattimore, and now Janoris Jenkins, the unit has still vastly improved. Additionally, the acquisition of Kwon Alexander has proven to be a genius move by head coach Sean Payton.
This team will go as far as the defense can carry it, especially while Brees is nursing his broken ribs. They have two more favorable matchups in the coming weeks against the Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. Look for the confidence and level of play to continue to increase as we edge towards the playoffs.
Taysom Hill can’t be judged on his performance
Perhaps the biggest takeaways from Tayom Hill’s performance is that we can’t, or at least shouldn’t take too much stock in it. Yes, he had 2 rushing touchdowns, 78 passing yards, 1 interception and a 43.2 rating. However, after the game, Payton made the comment that he was constantly in Hill’s ear telling him the only possible way they could lose the game is if they turned the ball over.
This would help explain his lack of the throwing the ball and overlooking wide open receivers. Once again, the defense put them in great field positioning multiple times and the need for a prolific offense was unnecessary. Fans of the Saints are used to high-scoring and high-flying affairs with this offense. To see anything less seems like a poor outing. Instead, Hill proved he can be an effective game manager and still help lead his team to a 31-3 victory.
It will be interesting to see if Payton allows Hill extra freedom against Atlanta this coming weekend. While the head coach might not mind ugly wins against most teams, Payton has an affinity for trying to embarrass the Falcons. Taysom has the talent and ability to do just that.
New Orleans is an incredibly adaptive team
This is almost a combination of the previous two takeaways, but I wanted to make it its own point. All week the Saints prepared to face a Broncos offense that would have likely employed an actual quarterback. That means the defense was on a totally different preparation schedule and what to expect. The same is also true for the offense who thought it would need to score points to help keep a lead.
Instead, the Saints defense saw a majority of the snaps out of the wildcat formation instead of a more traditional NFL offense. The fact that they were able to adapt, overcome, and even thrive, shows the communication and level of knowledge needed to combat something that could have been construed as abnormal.
Additionally, Hill and the rest of the offense were asked to go into a game manger-type mode and protect the ball. Players like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara saw what could be considered reduced roles from a typical outing in order to carry out the gameplan. Likewise, players like Latavius Murray thrived with 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns. It was clear that when the Broncos announced a lack of a true quarterback that this team had to adapt. Even in a game they likely should’ve won, they did it in a non-traditional way compared to their previous performances. That’s an impressive thing from any team, and it’s one of many reasons they currently hold the first seed in the NFC.
What are your biggest takeaways? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, Instagram at @SaintsCSC, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. And as always you can follow me on Twitter at @KadeKistner.