We are back! The 2021-22 NFL season is underway, with the ecstasy of victory and the agony of untimely interceptions. So, let’s take a look at what happened in the Saints’ game yesterday. But before that...
As always, for our novice or non-New Orleanians readers, welcome!
Let’s start with some definitions:
Beignets (English: /bɛnˈjeɪ/; French: [bɛɲɛ], ben-YAY literally bump) are distinctly New Orleans, a delicacy intimately connected to the city’s rich French heritage. Best enjoyed heavily powdered with sugar.
This is your “After-Saints-Game” brunch, where we talk about the state of the Black and Gold, we debate the goings-on with the team and talk about what’s next at this point of the season. So, sit back, take a bite and a sip while your brain slowly wakes up, and let’s catch up on some football.
What Just Happened?
We have seen this movie before, haven’t we? The New Orleans Saints as a big home-favorite, welcoming a wounded, winless underdog. A cake walk right? But then the referee blows the whistle and here is what we watch unfold: penalties, poor execution, wasted opportunities and eventually an unfathomable loss. That, my friends, is the art of laying an egg, and the Saints have perfected the craft.
New Orleans was a 7-point favorite over the New York Giants yesterday, a game that marked the team’s return to the Superdome after a month on the road. It was also the first time in nearly two years that the Saints had a full-capacity crowd in the Dome. Leading 21-10 with only seven minutes left in the game, the Saints had seemingly erased the numerous mistakes that they had made in the game. Like a touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenny Stills negated by a holding penalty on tight end Adam Trautman, a failed fourth-down play in Giants’ territory, a missed 58-yard field goal that should not have been attempted, or an interception thrown to James Bradberry by Taysom Hill.
But it wasn’t to be, not this past Sunday. Down 11, the Giants needed only one play to score a 54-yard touchdown with Daniel Jones finding Saquon Barkley on a wheel route with Saints’ cornerback Marshon Lattimore caught peeking into the backfield. After a two-point conversion, the score was 21-18 and it was up to a pedestrian Saints’ offense to see the game out. Despite chewing up nearly three minutes off the clock, Winston and company would stall and punt the ball back to Daniel Jones. New Orleans’ defense which had absolutely no pressure on Jones the entire game would survive the drive, holding New York to a field goal, but allowing the Giants to tie the game at 21 with 31 seconds left in the game. Before long, the game was headed to overtime.
In overtime, the Saints’ offense never saw the ball. The Giants won the toss and continued to dice a defense that had held them to 10 points for about three quarters and a half. On the afternoon, Jones went 28-for-40 with 402 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked exactly zero times, emblematic of a defensive issue that the Saints need to fix before they travel to Washington next Sunday to play the Football Team.
Beignets and Café au Lait Awards
Fresh Beignets, Hot Café au Lait: Alvin Kamara.
When the Saints paid Alvin Kamara, let go of Mark Ingram and subsequently Latavius Murray, they were telling him: we believe in you. They weren’t going to repeat the Reggie Bush mistake, as New Orleans never really exploited Bush’s ability to run between the tackles. While he had never even approached a 1,000-yard rushing season in NOLA, Bush tallied 1,086 rushing yards in his first season with the Dolphins after leaving the Saints following the 2010 season. He then had 986 and 1,006 rushing yards in 2012 and 2013. Meanwhile his highest rushing total in a single season with New Orleans was 581 yards.
Back to Kamara: yesterday against the Giants, the Saints’ 5th-year back toted the rock 26 times for 120 yards and a healthy 4.6 yards-per-rush average. He is now up to 297 rushing yards this year, on pace for 1,262 yards on the ground this season. For a Saints’ offense that has started the season tentatively in the post-Drew Brees era, No. 41 has showed up game in a game out, and on Sunday he showed once again that the Saints were right to make him a focal point of their offense.
Stale Beignets with Cold Café au Lait: Cameron Jordan
I am sounding the alarm: the Saints need to do something about their defensive leader, but what exactly? I am not entirely certain. Last season, Jordan had 7.5 sacks for the year, his lowest total since 2016. This season, Jordan has zero sacks through four games. Is that worrisome? Yes, it is. And here’s why: in the past, Jordan would get double-teamed on nearly every snap and still produced. These days, Jordan is losing a lot of one-on-one battles and almost looks like a decoy on the D-line. With Marcus Davenport out and Payton Turner and Tanoh Kpassagnon just building up their reputation with the Saints, Jordan is still an unquestioned starter at defensive end for the Saints. It is my contention however that should he continue to be as ineffective as he is now, the Saints might want to consider benching him for a younger player and have him play mostly on passing downs. Father Time comes for us all, and at age 32, Jordan seems to be on the decline, something the Saints will have to come to terms with sooner than later.
The Saints travel to Washington to face the Football Team, which defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-30 yesterday in Atlanta. Thanks to Washington, Atlanta remains at 1-3 in the NFC South and a game behind New Orleans. The Football Team is now 2-2, and still alive in the NFC East, which the Dallas Cowboys lead at 3-1. Washington boasts a stout defensive front, led by second-year pass-rushing specialist Chase Young. On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Taylor Heinicke leads the team in the absence of the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick and has acquitted himself quite admirably.
The Saints have a bye week after the game in Washington, and going into the bye at 3-2 would feel much better than with a 2-3 record and a road-game against the Seattle Seahawks looming right after the bye. You ready for this roller-coaster y’all? Buckle up!
What is the Saints’ biggest weakness in this young season?
This poll is closed
Sean Payton is scared to let Jameis Winston loose.
The absences on the D-line (Davenport, Onyemata)
CB Paulson Adebo: He is good, but has some growing to do.
The next franchise quarterback is not on the roster.
The triple bacon cheddar cheeseburger is flawless.
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