clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Week 3 Saints Rewatch: The clunker in Carolina

The Saints are facing a winless team with a coach about to be fired. This sets up perfectly for an easy win. Right?

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

To get ready for the upcoming New Orleans Saints season, we’re rewatching all of last year’s games to remember what happened to who and pick up clues on the Saints 2023 approach.

Week 3: The Saints are 1-1 after losing to the Bucs. Everyone knows Jameis is hurt now, but the Saints are in Carolina and the axe is about to fall on Panthers coach Matt Rhule (he would be fired three weeks later). The Saints are favorites on the road. This is the easiest game on the schedule!


What To Remember

Jameis fumbles the snap on the first play, picks it up and gains five yards.

Alvin Kamara has the ball stripped from him and its run back for a Panthers touchdown by Marquis Haynes Sr.

The Saints are called for illegal procedure on offense two times in a row.

Will Lutz has a short field goal blocked before the end of the first half.

I’ve watched a lot of bad Saints football in my life, and this one ranks right up there. The same problems in Week 1 and Week 2 persist in that every time the Panthers bring pressure there’s mass confusion and trouble.

Yet as bad as the Saints are, the Panthers are just as bad. Baker Mayfield, who since this game has now been with the Rams and (checks notes) Bucs can’t complete a pass over 10 yards. Carolina kicks two field goals and it’s 13-0 at half, but the Saints have more offensive yards.

In the fourth quarter, the Saints finally pick it up. Michael Thomas makes a couple of circus catches. Tre’Quan Smith makes catches. The Saints go down the field and make it 13-7. They have all the momentum early in the fourth.

Then Mayfield throws a quick hitch to Laviska Shenault Jr., two Saints defensive backs completely whiff, and he’s gone for a touchdown.

The rest of the game is a mess. The Saints defense has another chance to get off the field because its third and 14, Carolina runs a ‘give up’ play, a short pass to Shenault Jr. but the defense isn’t there and he gets a first down. It’s the greatest NFL game of Shenault Jr.’s life. (Seriously, I try not to do this – look at the season stats - but this is the most yards he gets all season and the only game all year he scores a TD).

The Panthers entered the game 0-2 with a coach on his deathbed, they hadn’t won a home game in over a year, yet they look faster, quicker, and more interested. Chris Olave is magnificent for the Saints, but the defense is flat footed, the special teams are bad. Panthers win it 22-14.

What We Thought At the Time

As the kids say today… ruh-roh-Raggy. Yes, Winston was banged up, but the offense had all the big pieces in place: Kamara, Ingram, Thomas, Olave, Landry... but it just wasn’t working. The offensive line was struggling in blitz pick-up, and the play calling seemed predictable. First down pass, incomplete, second down run for a small gain, third down, panic pass because the Panthers would blitz.

Everyone was thinking Jameis was the problem and should probably be benched.

Saints Player of the Game

Olave was everything we hoped for and more. This was his breakout game with nine catches for 147 yards. He looks like Marques Colston, able to run deep routes and make contested catches. Demario Davis also played a heck of a game, but the defense can’t get a turnover for nothing.

Up Next

We get up early to go to England to play the Vikings, who are 2-1. We hate the Vikings. England games always mean soft grass and the crowd cheering at random times.

Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC. “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube Channel.