The New Orleans Saints hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in what was one of the best NFL games of the season. New Orleans fell to the defending Super Bowl champions 32-29, putting the NFC’s No. 1 seed seemingly out of reach.
Quarterback Drew Brees returned from his rib injuries and started under center for the first time since Week 10. He threw for 234 yards and three touchdowns but completed less than half of his passes and threw an interception that led to a Kansas City touchdown drive.
Coming into Week 15, the Saints boasted one of the league’s best defenses. The Chiefs certainly pushed them to their limits as New Orleans’ defense was on the field for 98 plays, a franchise record.
Defensive rookies saw an increased workload as a result of the unit nearly reaching the century mark in snaps. Undrafted defensive tackle Malcolm Roach saw 37 snaps and recorded four tackles, tying his career-high set in Week 2 against Las Vegas.
Third-round linebacker Zack Baun saw 10 snaps on defense and 17 on special teams and recorded a tackle in the first half.
Just three players - Demario Davis, Malcolm Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore - played all 98 defensive snaps. Including special teams, Davis and Jenkins each played at least 100 snaps with 104 and 100, respectively.
With star wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) joining Marquez Callaway (knee) on injured reserve, undrafted rookie receiver Juwan Johnson was promoted to the active roster and made his NFL debut.
Johnson was on the field for 42 of the offense’s 55 plays. While he did not record a catch, he was targeted four times. Third-round rookie Adam Trautman saw 21 snaps at tight end but was not targeted.
The Saints will need to rest up on a short week before they host the Minnesota Vikings on Friday for a Christmas Day matchup. New Orleans can clinch the NFC South with a win. The Saints’ path to the conference’s top seed is almost out of the question, but they could still retain the No. 2 seed with back-to-back wins to close out the regular season.
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