Man... What seemed like a favorable matchup for the New Orleans Saints, turned into a major headache this week. But they got the job done.
The reason for that was former Division 2 QB Tyson Bagent. Bagent put immense pressure on the Saints defense for a good portion of this game and could not find an answer for him until late. Bagent made great decisions with the football putting points on the board early and torching the Saints on the ground, finishing with 70 rushing yards on the day. The Saints defense spent way too much time on the field and got gashed time and time again versus the pass and against the run in the 1st half. Thankfully, the Saints offense was able to match the Chicago Bears in scoring to keep the game tight.
Tyson Bagent does it all— NFL on DAZN (@NFLonDAZN) November 5, 2023
Saints vs. Bears on NFL Game Pass on DAZN pic.twitter.com/a1adhgnPlU
Derek Carr and the offense were able to find some consistency early on in the game, scoring in the red zone when opportunities presented themselves, completing two touchdown passes to Taysom Hill and Chris Olave in that area of the field. Carr played one of his best halves of football staying poise in the pocket and making throws with the rush closing in on him. Carr finished 25/34 for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The running game was still a major problem in this game. As a team, the Saints totaled only 87 yards on 27 carries. An average of 3.2 yards per rush. Something the team must find answers for especially against better teams. Having a backfield consisting of Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller, there’s no way the team should be struggling in this area. The offensive line needs to tighten up going forward.
The second half was a totally different game for the Saints defense. As it was for the offense as well. The defense found new life starting on their first possession where Paulson Adebo punched out the ball from Bears receiver D.J Moore and recovered it to give his offense the ball back. Bagent and the offense struggled to do much of anything in the second half, giving the ball away three more times closing out the half without a score. A stellar performance by the defense after a rough first half.
Five takeaways for the Saints' defense now.— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) November 5, 2023
Such a weird game for them. So bad for nearly three quarters followed by absolute dominance.
Offensively in the second half, the Saints were unable to capitalize off of great field position given by the defense. When it was time to put the game away up seven, the team turned the ball over on downs, punted and missed a field goal on three consecutive drives. However, the defense was able to come up with one more turnover to ultimately allow the offense to run the clock out and secure the win.
Special teams continue to be up and down. Blake Grupe connected on a 55-yard field goal while missing on a 47-yard attempt as well. To be fair, Grupe should not have been put in that position in regard to the 47-yarder late in the game given the endless chances the offense had to score, but this is the NFL, and his job is to make his kicks.
Statistically, the numbers in this game do not jump off the screen which is surprising going against a team like the Bears. The Saints leading receiver in this game was Chris Olave who didn’t even eclipse 50 yards (46). Alvin Kamara had only 70 total yards on the day and Michael Thomas didn’t have a single reception. With that being said, they were able to have this because they played a very clean game while also turning the ball over many times. The team was only penalized one time losing only five yards on the day. Huge step forward as a team that struggles in that area.
One player that deserves his flowers is this one is cornerback Paulson Adebo. Adebo picked off two passes, forced a fumble and recovered it. Adebo has three interceptions in the last two weeks and has four on the season. After an off year in his second season, Adebo has really came into his own so far this season, giving the Saints an incredible tandem at corner.
A career day for Paulson Adebo— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 5, 2023
2 INTs, 1 FF, 1 FR, 7 TKLS, 3 passes defended
To sum it up, a win is a win. The Saints are now sitting atop the NFC South and a full game ahead of the second place Atlanta Falcons. As many say, it’s easier to correct after a win than a loss but this team knows they have some a lot of work to do to string some more wins together.
This Sunday, the Saints will visit the Minnesota Vikings, where they will be in search for their 3rd straight win.