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The mistakes the Saints have cleaned up and why they’re still contenders

Defense and a running game win championships.

After a terrible 1-3 start, Tyrann Mathieu was quoted saying the New Orleans Saints weren’t panicking but there’s “definitely a sense of urgency.” We saw it on full display against Seattle.

Like last year (not to the same extent), New Orleans has dealt with key injuries to starters. Still no excuses, next man up. There were a lot of bright spots from the game on Sunday.

Offensively, New Orleans ran the ball for 235 yards on 48 carries, 5 YPC - Kamara tallied 194 all-purpose yards on just 29 touches, while Taysom got all the highlight plays, tallying 134 all-purpose on just ten touches with four touchdowns. Noting that Seattle has a bottom 5 run defense, the offensive line still looked pretty great. They’ve gotten noticeably better since week one, particularly in the run game. They’re firing off the ball like we’ve expected, and you can tell they’re having fun run-blocking. This could really be the key piece in this team reaching its ceiling.

Outside of the interception, Andy Dalton continued to be a good game manager and did enough for the W. New Orleans dominated time of possession (37:35 to 22:25). The team had six penalties against Seattle which isn’t great, but we’ve seen way worse. We saw Kamara hitting another gear on some touches and OC Pete Carmichael should go back to the well weekly - 20 touches should be Kamara’s minimum every game. Get him the ball in SPACE, let him do the rest. Simple and beyond effective. Look for Taysom to be implemented into the offense more now. You know what’s coming when he’s at QB but still can’t stop it. because of his patience, vision, & most importantly. again, the offensive line.

I’m not advocating for Taysom to take Jameis’ snaps when he returns healthy but I’m advocating for Taysom to be on the field more. He simply makes plays. Coach Dennis Allen on Taysom’s snap count for the future: “Look, I don’t know if you ever know exactly how many snaps somebody is going to receive. It just depends on how the game is being played out, but I thought we were able to do some things in the running game and utilize him in those areas. Look, I’ve got to give the staff a lot of credit for the game plan they put together – they operated it very well and that was a big part of it.”

This o-line will be better later down the road also, as rookie tackle Trevor Penning is expected to return during the back half of the season, possibly sometime in November.

Chris Olave has been great all year and the team expects both Michael Thomas/Jarvis Landry back any day now. All signs point to both players being available this upcoming week against Cincy. So, at 2-3 with most of the key pieces back you can somewhat say New Orleans weathered the storm.

Defensively, the scoreboard says they allowed 32 points, but the team played much better. Adebo got burned for three touchdowns, all in man to man. The safety play didn’t help him at all, but he simply has to be better, as he almost wasted a masterclass from the offense running the ball. The run defense was stellar again, excluding the two runs of 30+ yards they allowed. Demario Davis and Pete Werner are objectively the best LB duo in the league, the eye test clears. The eye test also clears for Lattimore being the best corner in football. Cam Jordan hasn’t fell off and this defense hasn’t fell off. Now they await better safety play as Marcus Maye should also be back any day and Tyrann Mathieu should start to do a better job of tackling in the open field.

The defense will keep this team in football games every week this season, it’s ultimately up to the offense to sustain drives and take care of the ball. With MT, Juice and Jameis all on the way, we should see this team put the first month (and all of its mistakes) behind them for a Super Bowl run - Obviously there’s still things to clean up and they have to take it one week at a time.

There is a lot of football left to played but winning the division should be a priority for New Orleans. Next up is the Cincinnati Bengals in the dome - New Orleans matches up fairly well with Cincy and should come up with a 6+ point win if they simply execute. A win next Sunday would be huge for the morale of the team and could spark a real win streak.

Saints host Cincy at 12 pm on 10/16.

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