The Good: 4th quarter offense
The New Orleans Saints scored 17 unanswered points on three straight drives in the fourth quarter. Helped by quarterback Jameis Winston finally gaining a rhythm, and Jarvis Landry’s clutch 40 yard catch and run to set up the game winning field goal from Wil Lutz, the Saints came all the way back from a 26-10 deficit with a little over 11 minutes left in the game. Michael Thomas also found the end zone twice for his first two touchdowns since 2019. The slow start was hard to watch, but honestly could have been expected due to how little Winston played in the preseason. It was clear he needed the first half to get back into a groove after returning from injury.
The Bad: Run defense/offense
The Saints defense gave up 201 yards to Atlanta, including a 120-yard performance from Cordarrelle Patterson and an additional 72 yards to Marcus Mariota. The Saints run defense has been stout for the last 5 years but did look good on Sunday. Meanwhile, Alvin Kamara was only able to manage 39 yards on 9 carries for the Saints. Taysom Hill did manage 81 yards, but 57 of them came on one play. The Saints got down quick and had to abandon the run so Kamara’s stat line isn’t all that surprising, but more success on the ground both on offense and defense would have helped the Saints not fall behind so quickly.
The Ugly: The first half
The first half of this game was hard to watch. The offensive line could not keep Jameis protected, the defense was giving up yards and points, and special teams failed to convert a 44-yard field goal. The Saints scored just one touchdown set up by a 57-yard run by Taysom Hill and gave up 16 points to Atlanta. If the Saints start this slow to a team not as prone to choking as the Atlanta Falcons, I doubt they would have been able to get away with a win.
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