Five Saints numbers that will make you want to give your friends a high five after week one’s 38-3 win over the Green Bay Packers
4 - Welcome to the Club, Jameis.
In the history of the Saints’ franchise, only four quarterbacks have thrown for at least five touchdowns in a single game. The fourth is none other than Jameis Winston. Sunday in his regular season début as the Saints’ starting quarterback, Winston threw touchdowns passes to Alvin Kamara (1), Juwan Johnson (2), Chris Hogan (1) and Deonte Harris (1). The other three guys to do it in a Saints’ uniform are obviously Drew Brees who performed the feat a mind-numbing 10 times, including a seven-touchdown game against the New York Giants back in 2015. Aaron Brooks did it once, throwing 5 touchdowns against the same poor Giants in 2003. Finally, Billy Kilmer threw six touchdowns in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969.
3 - Third Time...is the Charm?
The Saints have won their season-opener for the third season in a row, after losing the first game of the year five seasons in a row from 2014 to 2018. Despite starting 0-1 in 2017 and 2018, the Saints still managed to win double-digit games (11-5 and 13-3 respectively) and win the division. The past two seasons, New Orleans won their opener and again finished with double-digit wins (13-3 in 2019 and 12-4 in 2020) en route to their third and fourth consecutive NFC South titles. Are we headed to a fifth season in a row of 10 wins or more? Another division title? I would not put it past Sean Payton and his team.
51.5 - Did You Notice?
On Sunday, for the first time since 2009, the Saints had a different starting punter. Thomas Morstead, he of the “Ambush” fame in Super Bowl XLIV was released this past March after 12 seasons in the Black and Gold. Enter Blake Gillikin, whom the Saints signed back in 2020, and then stashed on injured reserve until he was ready to take over. Gillikin punted twice yesterday to a 51.5-yard average, with a long of 58 yards. At only 23, Gillikin is the same age that Morstead was when he was selected by the Saints in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft out of SMU. It appears that the Saints have settled on their replacement for “Legatron” and here’s to New Orleans’ new punter having as much success as Morstead had in NOLA.
39 - Is This Heaven?
No, it’s Jacksonville, and the Saints ran the ball 39 times against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Say what? Well, think about this: New Orleans threw the ball 21 times (20 for Winston, 1 for Hill). This means that the Saints, the Sean Payton New Orleans Saints had a near two-to-one ratio of run vs. the pass. Pigs have flown.
1 - Heavy is the Crown
Marquez Callaway is the de facto number one wide receiver for the Saints in the absence of Michael Thomas, who is still on the mend following offseason ankle surgery. Callaway has been outstanding for the Saints in preseason, and not only did we notice, Saints’ opponents clearly did also. Against the Green Bay Packers, Callaway was often bracketed by a cornerback and a safety and ended up with only one reception for 14 yards, on just two targets. Of course, Callaway’s opportunities were limited given the fact that the Saints only threw the 21 passes in the game, however the mark of a number one is to rise to the occasion and get open even when double-teamed. Let’s hope that Callaway’s production will improve from here.
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