The Good: Defense
The New Orleans Saints defense played well on Sunday night, forcing three turnovers and holding the Chargers to just 17 points. Standouts include second year defensive end Niko Lalos, who sacked QB Easton Stick three times, and cornerback Lonnie Johnson, Jr., who sealed the game with an interception of Stick at the goal line with 53 seconds left. Despite it being backups vs backups, it was encouraging to see the Saints defense step up this week after a shaky performance in Week 1 of the preseason.
The Bad: Penalties
The Saints had a sloppy game penalty wise against the Chargers as they committed 14 penalties for 141 yards. These include two offensive pass interference calls that wiped away touchdowns on the opening drive of the second half, and multiple holding and false start calls that would cripple Saints drives and force the team to punt. Granted, with backups playing most of the game, penalties like this shouldn’t be unexpected, but any time you have 141 penalty yards and cost yourself a touchdown it is something that will have to be addressed, no matter who is playing.
The Ugly: Run Game
The Saints ground attack was only able to manage 61 yards on 26 carries in this game, for an average of just 2.3 yards per carry. Rookie Kendre Miller, who just a week earlier suffered a knee injury, and new arrival Darrel Williams were the main ball carriers this week with rookie Ellie Merriweather also getting some carries. The lack of ability to move the ball on the ground and run out the clock led to the Chargers having a chance to win the game late, but thankfully the defense was able to seal the victory. As Miller gets healthier and Williams gets more comfortable with the offense, I would be willing to bet the ground game will be fine come the regular season, but tonight it left a bit to be desired.
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