It was a tale of two games in the rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints. In the first matchup back in September it was the Panthers defense that stifled the Saints. In a complete 180 the Saints defense was absolutely dominant in this one and they needed to be considering how inept the Saints offense was at times. The win put the Black & Gold at 8-8 on the season with a scenario to make the playoffs still. Here’s a look at my biggest takeaways from the Saints final home game of the season.
For as lackluster as the Saints offense has been the last few weeks, the defense has been much more impressive. The defense has given up just 2 touchdowns in the last four weeks and may have saved their best performance for the second half of this game. Carolina had 5 drives in the second half that only netted them 41 total yards. 4 out of those five drives ended with Carolina gaining less than 5 yards on those drives and 2 of those drives the Panthers netted negative yardage. The defense was on the field to seal the victory when C.J. Gardner-Johnson picked off Sam Darnold with under a minute to play to ice this one away. The catalyst for this defensive dominance has been none other than Cam Jordan who has had a second half resurgence and been outstanding in this stretch run. He has had 3 straight multi-sack games including 3.5 on Sunday and 7.5 in the last 3 games for 11.5 on the season. What makes it even more impressive is that he didn’t record his first sack until Week 7 meaning those 11.5 have come in the last 10 games. The defense has more than proven to be playoff caliber and they have put this team in position for a shot at the postseason.
For as much turmoil as this team has had with injury, suspensions, Covid, and misfortune, with a win on Sunday the Saints would end the season with a winning record. Whether that nets a playoff appearance is still up to the result of the Rams-49ers game, but a 9-8 record with this team may end up being Coach Sean Payton’s finest job. Considering the Saints have started 4 quarterbacks this season, have had the most starters in a single season in NFL history, and have week in and week out had to play musical chairs with key position groups like quarterback, kicker and offensive line, Payton even remotely having this team where they are is worthy of Coach of the Year accolades. Never in recent memory can I recall a Coach who had to do more with less than what Payton is presented with. Just heading into this game against Carolina, the Saints were without these starters on offense alone, QB1, RB2, TE1, WR1, LT, RT, LG, C. It is truly remarkable what Payton has dealt with and endured this season so more recognition needs to be shown for such a great job he’s done.
Those were 2 of my takeaways from the game. What were yours? How about the Saints makeshift offensive line? Or about Taysom Hill as a quarterback? Sound off in the comment section below. Final game of the season will be Sunday afternoon in Atlanta when the Saints will fight to keep their playoff hopes alive. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Twitter @SaintsCSC, on Instagram at @SaintsCSC, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel.