The New Orleans Saints suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football. New Orleans rallied back from a 24-9 deficit and had a chance to tie the game up at 31 before tight end Foster Moreau dropped an easy touchdown catch on third down and the Saints couldn't convert on fourth. New Orleans fell to under .500 after their loss.
Up: Alvin Kamara
Alvin Kamara had a big workload on Thursday night with 29 touches going for 153 scrimmage yards. After being smothered in the first half, at one point having 8 carries for 9 yards, Kamara started to get it going when running the football and finished the night with 17 carries for 62 yards. But that wasn't where the seven-year veteran made his impact. Kamara had 12 receptions for 91 yards and was Derek Carr’s best receiver. The versatile back was always available when Carr had nowhere else to go with his passes. Since returning from suspension, Kamara has had 35 receptions in four games and has been a big reason the offense was able to move the ball.
Up: Michael Thomas
Wide receiver Michael Thomas scored his first touchdown since week one of the 2022 season. Thomas has been one of the most consistent pieces in the Saints’ offense this season pulling in at least 40 yards in every game. The eight-year Saints receiver made a big play as he made an incredible catch to score and help the Saints tie the game evenly at 24. While it often seems like Derek Carr and his receivers aren't on the same page, Thomas has developed a nice connection with his quarterback. While the Saints offense continues to struggle, it's nice to see the veterans step up and be a positive example for the young guys.
Down: Special teams
During training camp, the Saints opted to go with youth when they traded kicker Wil Lutz to the Denver Broncos and released punter Blake Gilikin. This decision has looked iffy at best through six games. Kicker Blake Grupe had a bad game last week against the Houston Texans where he missed two field goals including a 29-yard chip shot attempt. Grupe’s struggles continued on Thursday when he missed his first field goal attempt against Jacksonville. The NFL is very unforgiving when it comes to kickers and the Saints may be looking to move on from the undrafted free-agent kicker.
Lou Hedley’s biggest flaw has been his inability to flip field position, and this proved costly late in the game when Hedley punted the ball short, putting Jacksonville in a short field that they would later turn into a touchdown. Hedley is currently bottom three in the league in yards per punt and has put the Saints’ defense in tough positions. New Orleans could look to move on from the 30-year-old rookie as well.
Down: The fan experience
New Orleans has been well known for their overwhelming support for the Saints, but patience is running low. During Thursday’s game, you could often hear Saints fans booing the offense when they failed to effectively move the ball. Every home game Saints fans show up and show out with support for their team, but the boring and slow offense has put out a bad product that isn’t entertaining. Later in the fourth quarter when the offense started to put points on the board and the game began to get competitive, the Superdome was rocking, and doing everything they could to affect the opposing offense. With the team now below .500 and following two straight years of missing the playoffs, the fans’ support may slow down. Tickets for Thursday night’s matchup were some of the cheapest they've been in recent years, some of this due to it being a Thursday night game, but fans may also not be as excited to watch the product the offense is putting out on the field.
This is the most I've heard the Saints fan boo at home in a long time. Offense staying on for 4th and 3— John Hendrix (@JohnJHendrix) October 20, 2023
Saints prices have gotten cheap on secondary market in last few years but not sure I’ve ever seen them as low as tonight.— Scott Kushner (@ScottDKushner) October 19, 2023
Get in price less than $25, and plenty of lower levels for less than $90.
Fans are speaking with their feet. pic.twitter.com/dOJGHKNQ0X