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Ups and Downs: Two Saints who came up big and two Saints who shrunk against the Chiefs

Big mistakes proved costly in Sunday’s loss against the Chiefs

NFL: DEC 20 Chiefs at Saints Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a game where the New Orleans Saints were missing their top receiver and started a quarterback who had punctured 11 ribs a month prior, the Saints put up a good fight in Sunday’s 30-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Michael Thomas missed the game with an ankle injury, and Drew Brees looked good but clearly was not 100%. The Saints had a slow start in the first quarter, but stepped it up afterwards however, their mistakes were too big to overcome.

Here are two players who came up big, and two players who shrunk against the defending Super Bowl champions.

NFL: DEC 20 Chiefs at Saints Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Up: Alvin Kamara

Kamara had 54 yards rushing on 11 carries, good for an average of 4.9 yards a carry. With Brees coming back from a bad injury, it’s strange that the Saints didn’t hand the ball off to Kamara more, especially since he was doing well in the backfield. Kamara also hauled in three receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown. The Pro Bowler has been balling out.

Down: Cam Jordan

With the Saints down six at the beginning of the fourth quarter and the Chiefs making their way to the New Orleans 20 , CJ Gardner-Johnson deflected one of Patrick Mahomes’s passes for what would have been 3rd and 9. Unfortunately 3rd and 9 never happened, as Cam Jordan punched Chiefs offensive lineman Andrew Wylie on the play and was ejected subsequently. Not only did the Saints lose one of their best pass rushers and give reigning Super Bowl MVP Mahomes a new set of downs, but the Chiefs would score the very next play with Mahomes running through where Jordan would have been before pitching it to Le’Veon Bell who would rush it in for 6. Jordan’s ejection was a pivotal moment in the game that had a clear impact on the result.

Up: Trey Hendrickson

Before suffering a nerve injury late in the game, Hendrickson continued to build on his breakout season. Hendrickson sacked Mahomess twice and hit him five times on Sunday. With those two sacks, Hendrickson tied Aaron Donald for the sacks lead, doing so on less snaps. The Saints will miss him if he misses next week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

NFL: NOV 01 Saints at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Down: Alex Anzalone

Right before the second half, the Saints punted to Chiefs returner Demarcus Robinson. Robinson decided to field the ball and then subsequently fumbled, resulting in a loose ball in the endzone. What transpired next sent Saints fans everywhere into shock. The Saints had three players closest to the ball, but it was Anzalone who dived on the football and somehow managed to fail to grab it, and knocked the ball out of bounds resulting in a safety. That five-point difference between a safety and a touchdown would have been the crucial difference in a three-point loss.

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