The New Orleans Saints trip out west did not go as planned, as they were shutout for the first time since the 2001 season. This loss hurts as the defense did more than enough to win by holding the San Francisco 49ers to just 13 points, but costly turnovers and a lack of big plays stymied the Saints’ offense. The team now shifts their focus to their most important game of the season, a matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football, a game that if they win, they will be within half a game of first place in the division.
ESPN - #21 (From #21)
Realistic expectation: Evaluating young players.
The Saints mathematically have a shot at the NFC South like everyone else, but they’ve squandered every opportunity they’ve gotten to make any progress in the division by beating themselves with poor play. While a best-case scenario has them winning out to finish with a winning season, a more realistic one has them getting more snaps for players like Trevor Penning, Rashid Shaheed and Alontae Taylor to get them ready for next season. — Katherine Terrell
USA Today - #27 (From #25)
Now 4-8, they’re headed for double-digit losses in a season for the first time since 2005, the year ruined by Hurricane Katrina and the season before former coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees arrived.
CBS - #21 (From #19)
The offense didn’t score a point against the 49ers. Is it time to go back to Jameis Winston?
NFL - #26 (From #21)
You can’t win if you can’t score, and the Saints saw their fading playoff hopes take another hit in a dispiriting shutout loss to the 49ers in Santa Clara. Alvin Kamara lost two fumbles and New Orleans came up empty on two trips into the red zone, wasting a game effort by a Saints defense that cooled off a Niners attack which had entered Sunday on a roll. Kamara has now matched a career high with four fumbles, and the New Orleans running attack remains completely missing in action. Sunday’s leading rusher? Andy Dalton, who churned out 21 yards worth of scrambles. This is not a very good or disciplined team, and it’s fair to wonder if Dennis Allen will pay for it with his job.
Bleacher Report - #24 (From #21)
It has been a long while since the New Orleans Saints were shut out—in fact, it hadn’t happened since 2001.
Until Sunday, that is.
It’s not like the Saints didn’t have opportunities against the San Francisco 49ers. Twice in the second half, the Saints drove deep into San Francisco territory only to be turned away. Five times, the Saints made it inside the San Francisco 45-yard-line, only to come up short each time. After the loss, an exasperated Dennis Allen made no excuses about his team’s Week 12 performance.
“We had some opportunities, and you’re not going to beat a good team unless you make plays that are there to be made,” the Saints coach said. “If you turn the football over, you’re not going to beat a good team.”
Now at 4-8 and in last place, any hope the Saints had on making the postseason is gone.
Or at least, it should be. The Saints play in the NFL’s worst division, so while they are a bad team with no real shot at the playoffs, they are still mathematically alive.
But let’s be real. This isn’t a good team. And with no first-rounder in 2023 and the worst salary-cap situation in the NFL, it’s not easy to see how things are going to get better.
PFT - #28 (From #24)
Is it crazy to think they should offer Sean Payton $30 million a year to come back?
Sporting News - #28 (From #23)
The Saints marched into San Francisco with no offense despite a scrappy performance by Dennis Allen’s defense. It’s been trying overall season of injuries and inconsistency and there’s not enough duct tape.
Average ranking: 25 (From 22)
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