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?
The New Orleans Saints (7-8) were faced with near-impossible odds on Monday Night Football, playing the Miami Dolphins (8-7) with a team missing a total of 22 players due to either injuries or COVID-19 protocols. Despite the Saints’ defense playing admirably and fighting until the fourth quarter, New Orleans’ offense, which has already clinched the title of the worst in the Sean Payton era, could not muster anything but three points against a stout Dolphins’ defense in a 20-3 loss. Miami won its seventh straight game after starting the season 1-7, while the brief two-game winning streak of the Saints was snapped.
Rookie quarterback Ian Book made his NFL debut last night, and things did not go the way he had probably envisioned in his dreams. Book threw a pick-six on just his second throw of the game, finished 12-of-20 for 135 yards and no touchdowns. He was also sacked eight times, a worst for a Saints’ quarterback in the last 15 years.
Now with two games to go, the Saints are not yet eliminated from playoff contention, but they will need to win out and then hope for a lot of help if they want that fifth-straight postseason berth.
Beignets and Café au Lait Awards
Hot Beignets and Hot Café au Lait: The Saints’ Defense
It was an impossible task for New Orleans on Monday night given the number of players that they were missing. On the defensive side, the missing players were of massive importance: Demario Davis, Malcolm Jenkins and Kwon Alexander, all starters and key players. Despite these absences, the Saints’ defense did what it has done pretty much all year: it showed up and played hard. The Dolphins offense only score 13 points (seven of the team’s 20 points came off a pick six). The Saints held the Dolphins to only 259 total yards, picked Tua Tagovailoa off once and pressured and hit the Dolphins’ quarterback multiple times, sacking him twice. Miami was only 5-of-15 on third down (33%), but the Dolphins would only need seven points to win that game, given that New Orleans’ offense was largely missing in action all night.
More Hot Beignets and Hot Café au Lait: The Superdome Crowd
The fans mostly stayed through the horror that was this game. They showed up despite knowing that this was likely going to be a sad affair. Happy Holidays, Who Dat Nation!
With a squad that hopefully will see the return of most the players that were absent on Monday night, the Saints are facing the Carolina Panthers (5-10) in the Caesars Superdome on Sunday at 15:25 PM CT. The game was flexed out of the 12:00 PM CT window by the NFL, perhaps because of its playoffs implication. The Panthers are ready to pack it in and go on vacation, but you can bet that they will play hard to ruin any chances that the Saints have at a postseason berth. On the other hand, the Saints have absolutely no margin of error: To get a playoff berth, New Orleans needs to win out, then have either the San Francisco 49ers (8-7) or the Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) lose out, and the Minnesota Vikings (7-8) lose at least one game. Unlikely? Yes! Impossible? Stranger things have happened.
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