The New Orleans Saints lost what could be a Super Bowl matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. The 32-29 loss saw the Saints drop to 10-4 but they still remain the number two seed in the NFC. This loss saw the return of quarterback Drew Brees while also representing the first game Michael Thomas and Deonte Harris hit the injured reserve (IR).
The defense stepped up in a big way, but Brees was not himself after suffering 11 fractured ribs, and showed that Taysom Hill may have provided the best chance to win this game. Additionally, key offensive players did not step up when they were most needed to which helped lead to a Chiefs victory.
Here are our biggest takeaways:
Drew Brees was not himself and it may have costed the Saints
Brees was seemingly rushed back after four weeks from an injury that included 11 fracrured ribs and a punctured lung. I respect the tenacity and competitiveness from the future Hall of Famer, but after a quarter of football he did not represent the best chance for the team to win the game.
It did not help that the rest of his receiving corps refused to help him by getting open and creating separation, but an 0/5 start in terms of pass completions was the worst of his career. Brees has been known to elevate receivers all of his career and he was unable to do that on Sunday. His injury likely prevented him from being that player and he needed a playmaker to step up on Sunday. With Michael Thomas out he was having to rely on players such as Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Juwan Johnson to make plays.
However, Brees was incapable of making the plays necessary in order to win the game. It looked more of Brees dealing with his injury than it did of shaking the rust off after four lost starts.
Key offensive players never showed up
It is not often that you blame the New Orleans offense for its woes, but Sunday against the Chiefs all eyes were on them. Yes, Brees was still visibly injured, but none of the receivers were able to help by creating separation. Emmanuel Sanders was easily taken out of the gameplan by the Chiefs on most plays and forced Brees to have to rely on Jared Cook, Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Juwan Johnson.
Cook was particularly unreliable as he dropped multiple passes and on one of them Brees was clearly upset with the tight end. Cook has had plenty of time to learn this offense, and is a mismatch nightmare for most teams. Yet, even in the biggest of situations Cook cannot come up with the simple plays. This was on full display on Sunday afternoon and it cost the Saints.
The New Orleans defense was incredibly solid
The Saints defense was very effective at pressuring Patrick Mahomes as evidenced by the three sacks and multiple pressures applied to Mahomes. It is crazy to think that holding Kansas City to just 32 points is a success, but that is the standard against the Chiefs.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson was one of the highlights on the defense. He was a key playmaker during the first two Kansas City drives in which they went three-and-out and as soon as he exited the game for a two drives the Chiefs could not be stopped.
The key to beating Kansas City was putting pressure on the Chiefs while also limiting tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Despite the tall order, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and his crew were able to do just that.
Unfortunately, the Sainst offense was not capable of taking advantage of the additional opportunities afforded to them by the defense. Much of that is talked about above, but this was a winnable game thanks to the New Orleans defense. That is a massive takeaway for a potential Super Bowl contender.
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.