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?
Adversity? What adversity? The New Orleans Saints proved yesterday in their 38-3 demolition of the Green Bay Packers that they are a team that does not flinch. Displaced by Hurricane Ida, the Saints have been practicing in Texas, then they had to play their 2021-22 NFL season-opener at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, because the Caesars Superdome is still unavailable following the damage inflicted by the storm in New Orleans. Across the field from the Saints stood the mighty Green Bay Packers, with the reigning regular season MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his plethora of offensive weapons, the likes of wide receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard or running back A.J. Dillon.
None of that seemed to phase New Orleans, as the Saints raced to a 17-0 lead in the first half, led 17-3 at halftime and never allowed the Packers to recover. New Orleans controlled the time of possession, enjoying a ridiculous 21:51 to 7:09 advantage in the first half. They would finish the game with an edge of nearly 9 minutes of TOP over the Packers.
The Saints’ defense harassed Aaron Rodgers all game long, limiting him to only 15 completions out of 28 passes for 133 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, despite sacking him only once. By the time it was over, New Orleans had scored 38 points, but even more impressively, had held the potent Packers offense to a measly three points.
New Orleans is now 1-0 on the young season, with a tiebreaker over the Packers, one that could come in handy later this season. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s time to give out some awards.
Beignets and Café au Lait Awards
Tons of Beignets, Unlimited Café au Lait Refills: Jameis Winston
Winston completed 14 passes (less than Rodgers’ 15) out of 20 attempts. Nothing to write home about, right? Except: he also threw five touchdown passes, and did not throw an interception, with the caveat that he was bailed out by the refs on a questionable throw in traffic that was picked off, but erased by a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty. That aside, Winston looked in control all game. He gained first downs with his legs, threw the ball away when nothing looked open, and did not lose the game for the Saints. For a man who basically took a cheap deal to sit behind Drew Brees last season, then had to compete for the job with Taysom Hill despite being a former number one overall pick in the draft, this is an incredibly auspicious start for Winston as the Saints’ starting quarterback. Here’s to thing continuing to improve for Winston, as he takes on the arduous task of replacing a living legend in New Orleans, one Drew Christopher Brees.
Tons of Beignets, Unlimited Café au Lait Refills: The Saints’ Defense.
At first, I was tempted to give this one to the Saints’ running game, after all New Orleans ran for 171 yards as a team, a 4.4-yard average that allowed Jameis Winston to feel as comfortable as he was during the game. I also considered tight end Juwan Johnson, who played his best game as a Saint, catching two touchdown passes. But think about this: the Green Bay Packers were 1-of-10 on third down yesterday (10% conversion rate). They had only 43 rushing yards, and a 2.9 yards-per-rush average, as the Saints’ defensive line showed up to play and Marcus Davenport recorded his first sack of the season, showing a burst reminiscent of his rookie season. The Saints did not allow a single touchdown the entire game, and until garbage time, Green Bay had not reached the 200-yard mark in total offense. The Packers would end up with 229 total yards on offense. So, Dennis Allen’s men get the nod this week and it seems that despite the absence of defensive tackle David Onyemata, the Saints’ defense will continue to show the high level of play it has for the past four years.
The Saints are back on the 12 PM CT time slot next Sunday when they travel to Bank of America Stadium to take on the new look and 1-0 Carolina Panthers. Matt Rhule’s team got a hard-fought 19-14 win over the New York Jets yesterday, and welcomed back do-everything running back Christian McCaffrey, who returned after an injury-plagued 2020-21 season. Barring a tie, either the Saints or Panthers will start the season 2-0 and get off to a very good start when it comes to this unprecedented 17-game season.
What is your confidence level in Jameis Winston after the victory over Green Bay?
This poll is closed
Very high, I think they Saints have found Brees’ heir
Cautiously optimistic. It’s just one game, but Jameis looked good.
Meh, the jury is still out. Ask me when the Saints are 5-0.
I never lose confidence in a juicy Double Whopper with cheese.
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