Another Sunday has come and gone for the new NFL season which means it’s time to dissect what went down during the Saints divisional showdown with the Panthers. This was definitely a game that the Saints will look to try and put behind them, but before doing that, they need to remember what went wrong and make efforts to fix that. Let’s dive into the few ups and many downs of the Saints loss to the Panthers.
Up: Taysom Hill
With Winston occupying the QB1 position, Taysom Hill returned to his versatile role within the team’s offense. On a few crucial 3rd down plays, Hill rushed to gain yardage for the first down. Even though it wasn’t much, Hill would attempt two carries for a total of 16 yards. The Panthers didn’t seem to have an answer for Hill’s speed and power, one has to wonder if this game would’ve went a diffrent way had Hill been in at QB...who are we kidding? This game was about way more than the QB position. I have a feeling the Saints would’ve lost this game regardless of who led that offense out on the field.
Down: the O-Line
This must be addressed, the offensive line cannot perform like that again. I don’t care who is injured, if your number is called to go out there and perform, you have to play your heart out. It didn’t seem like that was the case for the Saints o-line on Sunday. They got bulldozed on almost every play with caused for pressure to blow up in Winston’s face. I believe this is one of the main reasons the Saints were sent running out of North Carolina.
Another thing, Erik McCoy & Andrus Peat need to step it up. Especially Peat on this one, there’s too many times where he’s face first in the ground mere seconds before the quarterback is sacked. There’s a specific play that I’ll highlight here below where the both of them are literally blocking the air, you can’t make it up.
*sigh* pic.twitter.com/LPc8GLncaC— (@KevinWashJr) September 20, 2021
Up: Payton Turner
If there was ever a small victory to take away from this game, it came in the form of rookie defensive end, Payton Turner. Turner caused problems all night for the Carolina offensive line which culminated in him breaking through to get a sack on Sam Darnold. With a long season ahead, you never know what injuries will strike some of your heavy hitters on defense. With that being said, it’s good to know the investment the front office put into this young talent was well placed.
Up/Down: Jameis Winston
I’m going to give an unpopular take here, but Winston had a 50/50 performance from my standpoint. Let’s get one thing clear, you cannot be an effective QB in the NFL when your o-line fails you. I’m not going to let that be Winston’s soul excuse for his overall performance, but let’s cut the man some slack here.
Ups: I liked Winston’s hustle. There were a couple of plays where Winston rushed to gain yardage as opposed to forcing the ball into windows that were obviously closed. There were also a few plays that blew up in his face and instead of just launching the ball, he tossed it to the ground or at least attempted to. You can really tell that Winston is growing into the QB that we all hope he can be. My standout play from Winston being his 8 yard TD run as seen below,
8-yd TD run for Winston #NOvsCAR : FOX pic.twitter.com/AKrSV4EefU— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 19, 2021
Downs: Oh boy, the interceptions. The first interception I wasn’t super upset about, it happens. Pressure got into Winston’s face and he couldn’t really see where that ball was going. I would’ve rather he threw it into the ground, but hey, it happens. The second interception is what concerns me. There were 3 Panthers down there in coverage and I’m not sure where he was trying to fit that ball into. Winston is going to have to be more cautious with pressure in his face. I can see the improvements, but careless interceptions cannot continue.
Next up for the Saints are the New England Patriots, check back here next week for what will hopefully be more ups than downs.
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