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The good, the bad, and the ugly from the Saints win against the Panthers

The defense again rises to the occasion as Saints escape Monday Night Football with a win.

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Good: Defense

The New Orleans Saints defense shined once again, holding the Carolina Panthers to just 239 yards of offense and only giving up their first touchdown of the season with just over a minute to go in the fourth quarter after a Panthers drive against a prevent defense. The Saints sacked Bryce Young 4 times, including one for a fumble, and were in his face all night. Their ability to get consistent pressure without blitzing put the Panthers offense in a bind for most of the game, with all but their final two drives ending in a punt, turnover, or 50+ yard field goal attempt. The Panthers only got into the red zone one time before the Saints shifted to a more conservative defense late in the fourth quarter to protect the lead. Through two weeks, this defense looks like a top 5 unit in the NFL.

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Bad: Red Zone Offense

In the first half, the Saints managed to get inside the Panther’s 10-yard line on back-to-back drives. Despite this, they had to settle for two straight short field goals. They did not try to establish a power run game close to the goal line in the first half, despite these drives predating the unfortunate injury to Jamaal Williams, rather opting to attempt more passes in the red zone. Tight end’s Juwan Johnson and Jimmy Graham did not get a single target despite being the Saints two best red zone options in the passing game. They did fix this in the second half though riding Tony Jones, Jr. to two touchdowns with some help from Taysom Hill as well, but they cannot afford to leave that many points on the board going forward.

The Ugly: Offensive Line

The offensive line once again had a rough outing, as they gave up 4 sacks and were unable to open many significant holes in the run game. Multiple drives ended due to sacks and Derek Carr facing constant pressure for most of the night. The Panthers do have a very good front seven, so I won’t hold too much against the Saints line, which also did not commit many penalties, but some improvement is going to have to happen here if the Saints offense is going to get any better.

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