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?
Well, what didn’t happen? For a start, yesterday the Saints were welcoming the mighty Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Caesars Superdome for a clash of NFC South divisional foes. Once the game started, it did not take long for the first big blow to land: early in the second quarter, with the game tied at 7, Saints’ quarterback Jameis Winston was taken down on a horse collar tackle by Bucs linebacker Devin White. On the play, Winston’s left leg bent awkwardly, and reports are that his season could be done with a potential torn ACL. New Orleans then turned to a man who at the beginning of the season was the third-string quarterback behind Winston and Taysom Hill: Trevor Siemian. It felt like a lost cause for New Orleans, when Dennis Allen’s defense decided that “death would not come today.” Cam Jordan forced a fumble by Brady, which newly-returned defensive tackle David Onyemata recovered. The Saints converted the takeaway into three points and a 10-7 lead. Next, cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson intercepted Brady and returned the ball into Bucs’ territory. The Saints turned that turnover into six, taking a 16-7 into halftime.
At the start of the third quarter, the Saints would extend their lead to 23-7 with a touchdown run into the end zone by Alvin Kamara. The Bucs however were not going to go quietly into the good night. Tampa Bay proceeded to score the next two touchdowns, with Brady finding Gio Bernard and Mike Evans for consecutive scores, quieting the Superdome crowd. Suddenly up only 23-21, the Saints would add another field goal to take a 26-21 lead, one that would not last as Tampa would quickly find the end zone again and go up 27-26 after a missed two-point conversion.
Those were to be the Bucs’ final points of the game however: the Saints added a field goal to take a 29-27 lead with 1:44 left in the game. The defense would then seal the win, with cornerback P.J. Williams intercepting Brady in the two-minute drive and returning the pick for a touchdown, providing the final margin of victory for New Orleans, a 36-27 victory over the Bucs with a bittersweet taste given the injury to the team’s starting quarterback.
Beignets and Café au Lait Awards
Fresh Beignets and Hot Café au Lait: Jameis Winston
If Winston’s 2021-22 NFL season is over as many fear it might be, then we must pay a tribute to his work with the Saints through six games and a little over a quarter as the Saints’ starting quarterback. New Orleans is 5-2 so far this season thanks in part to Winston’s transformation as a starting quarterback under Sean Payton. The former Bucs number one overall draft pick humbled himself when he came to New Orleans and sat out behind Drew Brees last season to learn how to improve his own play as an NFL starting quarterback. So far this year, Winston has a 102.8 quarterback rating, 14 touchdowns against only three interceptions, which was the big bugaboo for him over the years. Although the Saints’ offense wasn’t anything like it used to be in the Drew Brees’ era, Winston did what the coaches asked of him and had a chance to get better and better in this offense. If we must say goodbye for this year, thank you Mr. Winston, get better and see you next year!
Extra Fresh Beignets with Hot Café au Lait: The Saints’ Defense
You’ve heard me say for years that just looking at yards is a treacherous way to look at football stats. Well, on Sunday, the Saints gave up 421 total yards to the Bucs, while compiling only 361 yards themselves. What worked well for New Orleans however is that they gave up only 3.3 yards per rush to Bucs’ starting running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette really is the straw that stirs Bruce Arians’ offense in Tampa, and the Saints’ defense would not let him get off. While Tom Brady threw for 350 yards and had four touchdown passes, the Saints strip-sacked him and intercepted him twice. All three turnovers led to New Orleans points. They made Brady uncomfortable, especially in the first half, and then turned up the heat again in the fourth quarter when it mattered, sacking Brady twice in the frame, including a sack to seal the victory. With Jameis Winston likely out of the season and the Saints turning to either Taysom Hill or Trevor Siemian, the Saints are going to need their defense even more than ever now. Thankfully, this is a defense that has answered the call in every game this season, you can expect that to continue.
Oh, you know what time it is, don’t you? The
hated highly disliked Atlanta Falcons come to the Superdome for a 12 PM CT contest next Sunday. The Falcons (3-4) lost a 13-19 decision to the Carolina Panthers (4-4) at home in Atlanta, in a game that saw Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold leave with a concussion. The Falcons will also be without their number one wide receiver, Calvin Ridley, who is taking some time away from football to deal with some personal issues. We wish Ridley all the very best, while we certainly hope that the Saints can notch their second consecutive NFC South win next Sunday in the Dome.
Who should start for the Saints against the Falcons next Sunday?
This poll is closed
Trevor Siemian: with more reps, he will look better than Taysom could.
Taysom Hill: knows the system better, gives the team the best chance to win.
Trevor Siemian: this way Taysom Hill can remain in his joker role.
I should start eating more burgers to deal with all this stress.
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