The New Orleans Saints’ week 5 matchup against the New England Patriots resulted in a 34-0 win for New Orleans. The Saints controlled possession the large majority of this game, and finally got the offense moving. With the struggles they have seen the last two games, it is a positive sign to have a game such as this where both sides of the ball are playing well. With that, we continue our weekly series by choosing one player who broke out in the previous game, and going over why their contributions were so critical to the game.
This week we have a player in their rookie season with the Saints, who has proven to be a valuable addition to the RB room so far. This week, we have selected running back Kendre Miller as the breakout player of the game, and here’s why:
Success in the receiving game
The main sign that Kendre Miller was really starting to succeed in this offense was the fact that he was able to find a role in the receiving game. Despite Alvin Kamara returning, who had 13 receptions last week and 3 more this week, Kendre had 4 targets this week and made the most of them. He caught all 4 targets (has caught 6/6 this season as well) and accrued 53 receiving yards (13.3 per reception). On top of this, 33 of those yards came on one chunk play, which was enormously impressive to watch.
He falls into the designed swing route, hits a chip block on the edge (#55 Josh Uche), and then continues his route which Derek Carr sees and throws to him. Kendre makes it to about the midfield point, where Michael Thomas throws an absolutely devastating block without getting penalized. Kendre then jukes the shoes off of linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, and then continues until he is dragged down from behind by Adrian Phillips.
While he did not necessarily produce at an exceptionally high level prior to this game, this one play showed what Kendre can bring to this offense. His versatility as a true halfback but also a receiving threat is noticeable, and something this offense should utilize more in the weeks to come. He ended up with 16 total touches this week for 90 yards.
We saw this versatility in the preseason as well, where Kendre had a diving catch against the Los Angeles Chargers and then rushed for a touchdown to end the drive right afterwards.
Kendre Miller LAYING OUT for this grab.— Jeff Mueller, PT, DPT (@jmthrivept) August 20, 2023
Then gets the rushing touchdown to finish the drive.
What a sequence for the rookie, his knee is looking good.
Overall, a great breakout game for Kendre Miller, and hopefully one of many to come for the rookie halfback out of TCU.
With this article, and with such a promising win, there are also some players worth noting who were not chosen for this. While they had great games in their own right, they may also either be already established as successful or just had a slightly lesser impact on the overall game. This week, those players are:
- K Blake Grupe - Despite only having to kick 2 field goals, both of them came from 50+ yards (54 and 53 yards respectively). Both of them were made, which is extremely impressive, especially in an outdoor stadium that was experiencing pretty substantial wind. He also made all four of his PAT kicks on the day as well.
- DE Carl Granderson - Carl Granderson also had an extremely successful game, impacting the struggling Patriots offense all game. While already relatively established, his impact was seen, nonetheless. He ended the day with four tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, and two QB hits.
- P Lou Hedley - Lou Hedley has received a lot of criticism the first few weeks due to his punts not traveling as far as one would hope, understandably. But in this game, he had 7 punts for 307 yards (43.9 per) with 3 of them landing inside the 20-yard line. He also had a 53-yard punt on his first of the day, and a 55-yard punt in the 4th quarter. Overall, he seemed to improve from previous weeks and played well throughout the day.