The New Orleans Saints’ week 3 matchup against the Green Bay Packers resulted in a 18-17 loss for New Orleans. While the Saints started off strong, they ended the game by giving up 18 uncontested points and losing on a missed walk-off field goal. With that, we continue our weekly series by choosing one player who broke out in the previous game, and going over why their contributions were so critical to the game.
This week we have a player entering their second season with the Saints, who has proven to be one of the best up-and-coming players at his position. This week we have cornerback Alontae Taylor as the breakout player of the game, and here’s why:
Improved performance in the slot
Now, is Alontae Taylor being good necessarily new? Or, in this case, a “breakout”? Not necessarily. We saw how good he was last season going up against players like Davante Adams and holding him to one reception for three yards. Being able to play on the boundary is one thing, and Alontae did it well, but playing in the slot?
Prior to this week 3 matchup he had allowed 16 receptions on 20 targets (80% completion rate allowed) for 105 yards and a touchdown. On Sunday, he allowed 3 receptions on 11 targets (27.27% completion rate allowed) for 70 yards and 0 touchdowns. How much of this was in the slot you may ask? He had 57 snaps in the slot Sunday compared to 9 snaps on the outside, 5 in the box, and 8 alongside the DL as a blitz option.
The other component of Alontae’s game that was strong Sunday was his ability to fly all over the field and make plays at every level. Against the Packers, he also had 3 pass breakups, 4 tackles, a sack, and 2 tackles for loss according to PFF. On top of that, as previously mentioned, he had a pretty heavy workload in coverage with his 11 targets.
The only time we really saw issues for Alontae was his 2 missed tackles and DPI call (which can be interpreted either way to be completely honest). He has proven to be a threat for this New Orleans defense in only his second season for the team, and when given the opportunity to step up this weekend, absolutely did so.
- DB Jordan Howden - A respectable performance in his first career start at safety for New Orleans in the absence of Marcus Maye.
- CB Isaac Yiadom - While he had his down moments, he was also targeted 10 times and only gave up 4 receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown.
- WR Rashid Shaheed - 76-yard punt return touchdown to put the Saints up 14-0 in the first half.