The season opener was fun while it lasted, but Jameis Winston and this New Orleans Saints offense sure have some wrongs to right in Week 3 after a horrific outing against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The offense mustered just 128 total yards, six first downs and a third-down efficiency of 2/11 on 3.0 yards per play in what was undoubtedly one of the worst offensive outputs by a Sean Payton offense...ever.
Now there obviously were some injuries at play, not to mention the lack of eight coaches due to COVID-19 protocols. But as coach Payton would tell you, even that is no excuse for this level of performance.
While a lot of the blame nationally has been directed at Jameis Winston for going back to his turnover-prone ways — and I’ll admit that while watching live I had similar reactions — it turns out that after watching the all-22 tape, the guy just had very little shot at being successful in this game.
I went back and took a look at every Jameis Winston dropback (29), and here’s how I charted them:
-10 sacks/throwaways/bad balls due to quick pressure
-6 expected throws/checkdowns
-3 turnover-worthy plays (2 in garbage time)
-2 big time throws
-2 effective runs on dropbacks where nothing else was there
-2 completions where he created a play by his pocket movement
-1 inaccurate, uncatchable ball not due to pressure
-1 batted ball at line of scrimmage
-1 intentional grounding call where his primary route gets jammed and pressure hits him
As you can see, 10 negative plays due to quick pressure is, um, a lot.
The offensive line did such a poor job of communicating stunts and overload blitzes by the Panthers defense, that there were just free rushers all over the place in Winston’s face. And in the first half, he honestly did a decent job of avoiding the pressure and making plays when nothing was initially there.
Panthers spin to 3 sky in a 2 down look against YY pic.twitter.com/wiZAqCXNsc— SyedSchemes (@syedschemes) September 21, 2021
But as the game went on, it got to him and he made a few errant decisions and throws.
I thought this three-play series captured Jameis’s experience in this game pretty well.
He gets immediately pressured on the first two plays, resulting in incompletions. And then on the last play, the defense finally forces him into a poor decision.
It’s hard to tell which of the miscommunications on the line are due to pre-snap judgements by Winston or Cesar Ruiz at center or just poor reactions and decision making in the moment by various members of the line, but it wasn’t just that. Dudes were getting straight up beat one-on-one as well.
Andrus Peat and Ryan Ramzcyk gave up a combined eight QB pressures, five hurries, two hits and a sack, while Terron Armstead, Cesar Ruiz, Adam Trautman and Alvin Kamara gave up six pressures and four hits combined.
Peat actually ended up with a — wait for it — 6.2 PFF pass blocking grade in this game on 31 snaps. Yes, that’s 6.2 out of 100.
That’s just not going to get it done in any sense of the phrase.
There were definitely plays where receivers weren’t getting the separation you’d hope for, but I definitely gathered from what I watched that the blocking was far more of an issue. On the plays where there were guys open, he simply didn’t have time to get to them.
Not to mention, the slew of penalties and stuffed runs on early downs put Winston and the passing offense in so many long downs and distances that he was just continuously behind the eight-ball.
Naturally, when you’re in second and third and long situations, you’re going to be sitting in the pocket longer waiting for receivers to come open on long-developing routes, and he just didn’t have the time to do that.
Overall, it really just seemed like a perfect storm of events that coalesced into a nightmare game for the Saints offense.
It will be important to see how this affects Jameis Winston mentally moving forward. He can’t let this game lower his confidence or cause him to go into panic mode more often when he gets in disadvantageous down and distance circumstances — because that will happen more as the season goes on.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen this much again.
As I said in last week’s article, it’s ever so important to keep Winston and this offense on schedule. The exact opposite was done on Sunday.
Facing a stout Patriots defense coached by none other than Bill Belichick, there will be little room for error. If the O line can hold up at least a bit this time out, it could be a good barometer of where Jameis is at as a QB in this offense in a more standard atmosphere.
What were your biggest takeaways from Winston’s performance? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @AndrewBell_98.