If this year and this New Orleans Saints football team has taught us anything it’s that we really don’t know what we are about to be taught. The unpredictability week in and week out with this team swings the emotional pendulum to insane levels. After a 9-0 win at Tampa over the Buccaneers, Saints fans are on Cloud 9 and are even speaking on the forbidden word we had all just about erased from our vocabulary just 2 weeks ago, playoffs. We can’t move forward without looking back so here are a few takeaways from the big win against the Bucs.
If you were to tell me Dennis Allen’s real name is Steven Strange then I would believe you. The absolute mastery his defenses have had against Tom Brady the last couple of years has been nothing short of magical. He has pretty much made Brady disappear. In the last 5 games versus the Saints (including the postseason), Brady had thrown for more than 250 yards just once versus the Saints. Yes, this is the same Tom Brady who has the all-time career passing yards record. He has 8 touchdowns to 8 interceptions and has been sacked 14 times. To add insult to injury (literally for the Bucs), it was done once again in prime time in Tampa, this time shutting Brady out at home. It was the first time in Brady’s career that he’s been shut out at home. Fun fact, the last Tampa Quarterback to throw a touchdown against the Saints in Tampa was Jameis Winston and that was November of 2019, but I digress. This night was about the players on defense who executed a perfect game plan under Allen’s direction. Allen acted as the interim head coach as Sean Payton was not able to coach since he tested positive for Covid earlier in the week. One has to think that soon Allen will be offered the opportunity again to be a head coach in this league. He has certainly earned it.
One of the reasons Allen can scheme so well is because of the pressure the Front 4 can get on Brady without having to blitz constantly. The man leading that charge Sunday night was Cam Jordan who played like a man on a mission after he himself missed a game due to Covid. The week off was Cam’s first in his illustrious career where he had to miss a game and he wasted no time making up for it. He was an absolute monster accounting for 2 sacks and a forced fumble deep in Saints territory that negated the Bucs from scoring any points. The second sack put Cam in rarified air as that marked his 100th sack of his career, making him only the 2nd player in Saints history to achieve that mark and one of only 38 players officially in NFL history. What Cam Jordan has meant to this franchise and community as a player and leader cannot be understated. Sunday was a special moment to enjoy just how special Cam Jordan is.
All season Saints fans have been screaming for any kind of sustainable production from the Saints receiving corps. They finally got a small glimpse on Sunday from Marquez Callaway who become the first Saints wide receiver to go over 100 yards receiving this season in a game. When you only score 9 points in a game, you look for any silver lining on offense and Callaway’s fast start was it. He had 88 yards receiving in the first quarter alone and his big-time catches led directly to field goal drives for the Saints. He finished with 112 yards and flashed some of the brilliance we saw from him in the preseason. The key will be if he can build upon this game with another big-time performance next week. If so, maybe Callaway can finally be an answer to a question the Saints have been searching for all season.
These were a few of my biggest takeaways from the game on Sunday night. What were yours? Sound off in the comment section below. The Saints have another big-time prime time matchup when they host the Miami Dolphins Monday night in the Superdome.
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