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Film Study: Despite result, Saints defense showed out versus Mahomes

Turns out Patrick Mahomes is hard to play defense against!

Kansas City Chiefs v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Sometimes, you just get beat. You can do everything right, make no mistakes and play a near-perfect game, and still just get beat. When you’re playing Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, you just get beat a lot. No fault of your own, that dude is damn good at football and can do magical things with the pigskin in his hand, as the Saints defense learned firsthand this past Sunday during their 32-29 defeat at home to the defending Super Bowl Champions. It’s easy to say that the Saints defense struggled and while they weren’t faultless, there was more good than bad, so let’s look at some of the key plays from Sunday’s contest.

With the Chiefs starting with possession, they quickly faced a 3rd down and short near midfield, and Patrick Mahomes looked for his most reliable target, Tyreek Hill. Hill, the inside slot man on the left side, runs a quick out route that’s well covered by Kwon Alexander forcing Mahomes to throw the ball further outside than anticipated to avoid the interception, and out of the reach of Hill to force an early punt.


The then-birthday boy, our beloved nickname enthusiast Chauncey C.J. Ceedy Duce Gardner-Johnson makes a great play on a 3rd-and-long to deny Mahomes and the Chiefs. Mahomes puts this on a plate for Mecole Hardman, who got a step on CCJCDGJ off a corner route out of the slot, and Ceedy Duce does a phenomenal job of catching up to Hardman and ripping his arms away from the ball. Good offense. Better defense.

It’s hard to pick just one play where Trey Hendrickson wreaked havoc. The Saints’ breakout player of 2020 had a star-making performance in Sunday’s contest. Hendrickson notched six pressures, two QB hits, 2 hurries and a pair of sacks on the former MVP. Thanks to good coverage by the Saints defense on this play, Mahomes has to hold onto the ball for a second longer than he would’ve liked, and by that time Eric Fisher has been properly bull-rushed right into Mahomes’s face by Hendrickson, who steps inside to get the sack.

For as great as a pass rusher the aforementioned Trey Hendrickson is, he’s equally not good in the run game, as evidenced here. Hendrickson bites immediately on the play fake to the right, loses outside contain and allows Clyde Edwards-Helaire to pick up 16 yards.

The play that de facto sealed the game for the Chiefs. Fresh out of the two-minute warning with the ball up by three, the madman Andy Reid decides to throw the ball. The Saints run out a Cover 1 look with man across the board along with a deep safety, and Malcolm Jenkins gets caught on the play action, leading to a wide-open Travis Kelce to ice the game for the defending champions.