The New Orleans Saints suffered their first loss of the season in dramatic fashion as they blew a 17-point lead in the 4th quarter falling to Green Bay Packers 18-17. The Saints controlled much of this game with a stifling defense, containing QB Jordan Love and the Packers offense for much of the day. It wasn’t until Saints QB Derek Carr left the game where things got interesting.
Early in the game, the Saints moved the ball a bit more effectively than they had in previous early quarters. On the teams second drive of the game, they were able to cap off a 9-play, 56-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown to TE Jimmy Graham. An incredible moment for Saints fans and for Graham. A couple of drives later, the team was able to get some help from their special teams unit in which breakout star WR/KR Rashid Shaheed returned a punt for 76-yard score to put the team up 14-0 early.
The speed of RASHID SHAHEED.— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 24, 2023
Defensively, the team saw some amazing play from their defensive back group in particular. Second year CB Alontae Taylor maybe had the game of his career coming up with 5 tackles (2 for a loss), 5 PBU’s and a sack in an all-star performance. The team played sticky coverage all day long forcing Packers QB Jordan Love to make a tight window throw on almost every attempt. The Saints defense however, could not seem to get pressure on Love even with the Packers top two starting linemen out in this game.
I've got #Saints CB Alontae Taylor with an insane game from my film watch this morning:— Ross Jackson (@RossJacksonNOLA) September 25, 2023
- 13 targets
- 4 catches for 73 yards
- 5 PBUs
- 1 sack
- 2 TFL
- 1 DPI that I disagree with
Chunk yards on two Jayden Reed completions, though. 22 and 30 yards on the pair.
The crucial moment of this game for the Saints came in the 2nd quarter up 17-0 when QB Derek Carr was sacked by DE Rashan Gary resulting in an AC joint injury for Carr. The offensive line had much to do with the pressure Carr has been receiving as they surrendered another 4-sack game. The execution only got worse after Carr left the game.
The Packers went on to score 18 unanswered points in the 4th quarter with the Saints still having a chance to take a lead, but rookie kicker Blake Grupe sealed the deal for Green Bay by missing a 46-yard field goal. His first miss of the regular season.
Although it hurts that the team let one slip, they’re still 2-1 on the year with a chance to regroup and stack some wins together. Derek Carr shouldn’t be out for too long as he avoided what could’ve been a significant injury which is great news. Along with the return of Alvin Kamara this week, which should give the team some new life at RB. However, the offensive line has to figure it out. They are single-handedly these games close when maybe they shouldn’t be. Carr getting hurt is also something this team can’t afford if they want to go places. It is at the point of extreme urgency.
The Saints take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week for their second divisional game which are always important. Look for them to bounce back and right this ship rather quickly.