The stage seemed set for the New Orleans Saints to gloriously return home. They had just come off an impressive road win in a place they hadn’t had much success. They were going to finally be playing in front of a packed, raucous crowd at the Caesars Superdome against a winless team coming in who was supposed to be hobbled and overmatched. The Saints were also riding a 15 game win streak in the month of October so this game seemed tailor-made for a win. I think you know how this story ends and here are my biggest takeaways from an utterly disappointing loss on Sunday.
What has been an unfortunate trend this season is the slow start to games for the Saints. Through 4 games, the Saints have only scored one 1st quarter touchdown and have a grand total of 10 points in the 1st quarter. It’s not like the Saints are totally anemic in moving the ball. On Sunday, the Saints moved the ball into New York Giants territory on their first 3 possessions but came away with 0 points. Not being able to score early and put bad teams away allows confidence in the opposition to embolden. This was the case Sunday as another slow start kept the Giants closer than they needed to be and you see the end result.
Questionable Play Calling
Sean Payton is a brilliant head coach and offensive mind. Sunday however, none of that seemed to be on full display. How a player like Alvin Kamara who is your biggest offensive threat gets zero catches and zero targets in a game is mind-boggling. How a game in which Jameis Winston was 15/19 for 202 yards and a touchdown in the 3rd quarter (mind you he had a 50 yard touchdown strike called back due to a holding penalty) ends up completing just 2 more passes for 24 yards in the 4th quarter is baffling at best. Why would Sean trot a struggling kicker to attempt a 58 yard field goal when you pass up the chance to let him attempt a 47 yarder to build confidence just a possession earlier makes no sense. This was certainly not Sean’s finest hour making decisions. He seemed to play not to lose in the 4th quarter and inevitably that’s what happened.
A unit that seemed like an absolute strength of the team after Week 1 has been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to say the least. The team came in this season with a 20 game plus streak of not allowing a 300 yard passer. They have subsequently had that streak abrupted in 2 of the last 3 games by the likes of Sam Darnold and Daniel Jones. On Sunday, Jones threw for a career high 402 yards while completing 70% of his passes. It wasn’t as if they were dinked and dunked to death. The Giants were getting massive chunk plays through the air. 2 of the Giants touchdown drives looked like this, 1 play, 52 yard touchdown pass; 1 play 54 yard touchdown pass. The onus was a trial by fire for rookie Paulson Adebo. The Giants targeted him early and often and at times like rookies do, he looked lost. The Saints will have to sure this aspect up, otherwise teams will go air raid on the Saints the rest of the season.
Those were just a couple of my takeaways from Sunday’s game. Sound off in the comments about what caught your eye. The Saints will look to bounce back this Sunday, on the road against the Washington Football Team.
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