The Good: Defense
The Saints defense pitched just the third shutout we’ve seen in the NFL this year after the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year. They forced five punts, intercepted their second pass of the year, and held the Raiders to just 183 total yards. The pass rush also showed up, sacking Derek Carr four times, with first round pick Payton Turner accounting for two of those sacks in his first game back since Week 4. Alontae Taylor and the defensive backs held Davante Adams to just one catch for 3 yards in what was the All-Pro receiver’s lowest output in a game since 2015. Josh Jacobs, who had ran for 441 yards and 6 touchdowns over his last three games, was held to just 43 yards. This was one of the best defensive performances in the league this year, and is even more impressive considering the Saints did it without Marshon Lattimore. Hopefully this will give them the confidence that they can still be an elite unit moving forward.
The Baaaaaaaaaaaaad Man: Alvin Kamara
Putting a little spin on the Bad this week because I honestly can’t find anything bad about this game. So instead let’s talk about the baaaaaaaad man that is Alvin Kamara. Kamara scored three touchdowns Sunday to go with 158 rushing yards. His name was swirling in a bunch of unsubstantiated and baseless trade rumors this week as well, and this performance just hammers home the idea that the Saints should not even think about trading Kamara. He is the undisputed centerpiece of the offense which has been the best side of the ball for the Saints this season, he is not in a contract year, is still in his prime, and despite the 3-5 record the Saints are still very much alive in the division. Kamara is arguably the Saints most valuable player and he should not be even discussed in trade talks this year.
The Ugly: Special Teams
The Saints special teams wins this by default as they were really the only unit that wasn’t perfect on Sunday. They were by no means bad, but Wil Lutz did miss a 38 yard field goal and Rashid Shaheed only managed 15 total return yards on his two punt returns. This is by no means bad, as they obviously did not cost the Saints the game, but when you win 24-0 missing a 38 yard kick is really the only hole you can poke in the Saints performance. Lutz has been great this year so this definitely was an anomaly and not the norm, let’s just hope it doesn’t happen in a closer game down the road.
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