It seems like forever since the New Orleans Saints and their fans were able to wake up on a Monday morning and enjoy a win from the day before. Coincidentally, it was on All Saints Day the last time this euphoric feeling was felt after the Saints defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the previous afternoon on Halloween Day. That seemed like an eternity ago, but the feeling has finally been restored after the Saints 30-9 victory over the New York Jets. Here are a few of my biggest takeaways from the game.
Welcome Back AK
We’ve all heard the mantra that sometimes it’s not about the X’s and the O’s, but the Billy’s and the Joe’s. In this league talent is everything and not having one of the most talented players in the NFL proved truly detrimental to the Saints during this losing streak. Having Alvin Kamara return quickly got the Saints back on the winning side of things as he was a monster in this one. Kamara finished with a career high 27 carries for 120 yards and a score and also caught 4 passes for 25 yards. He looked like his normal elusive self as he did not appear hobbled at all by the knee and hamstring injuries that kept him out the previous 4 games. He and Quarterback Taysom Hill formed a nice little Thunder and Lightning duo on the ground as Hill himself rushed for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns. As important as Kamara’s production is his presence is equally as effective as he is having the constant attention of opposing defenses and allows the Saints to scheme plays to get others open in favorable positions. Kamara is the best player on the team and the offense will go as far as he takes them.
Yes, this wasn’t the Buccaneers or the Packers that the Saints were playing on Sunday, but it still was an NFL team and it was nice to see the defense step up and stifle a team. By just about every metric, the defense was having a field day with the Jets on offense. While the Jets were missing key players due to injury or Covid protocols, the Saints are not going to feel sorry for any team considering the injury bug they have had to contend with this season. The defense certainly did not feel sorry for the Jets offense. They hounded Jets rookie Quarterback Zach Wilson all afternoon, sacking him 3 times and pressuring him countless others. He finished the game just 19-42 for 202 yards with a chunk of those yards coming in garbage time. The defense was able to get off the field on 3rd down as well with the Saints holding the Jets to just 3 of 14 on 3rd down conversions. This allowed the Saints to dominate the time of possession for the game and keep their defense on the sideline well rested. They also avoided the big play which has haunted this defense at times this season, but they only surrendered 2 plays of more than 20 yards. The defense seemed to have its swagger back and it’s no surprise it coincides with the return of C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
Special Teams a little Special?
This season has been a whirlwind to say the least in the kicking game as the Saints have been playing musical chairs at kicker since Pro Bowler Wil Lutz was lost for the season. It seems like every other week the Saints would trot out a kicker, he’d miss a kick or two, and the next week his replacement would be up. To see the latest kicker in the fold Brett Maher, make all 3 field goals and all 3 extra points hopefully can start the trend upward of consistency. With the Saints still battling for a playoff spot, you have a feeling one of these final games will go down to the wire and the Saints would have to make a big kick to secure a win. The Saints hope they finally have their guy to do it.
Those were 3 of the takeaways I found while watching the game. What were yours? Sound off in the comment section below. The Saints will travel to Tampa Bay this Sunday to take on the Buccaneers in prime time.
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