The Saints moved to 4-0 on Sunday with a win in Florida against the Jags. For the first time this season, Michael Thomas and particularly Alvin Kamara proved to be very quiet. Having followed the Saints all season, that’s normally bad news.This week though it was the defence that starred for the Drew Brees-less New Orleans.
So far this season, Gardner Minshew has averaged 255 yards a game. The Saints limited Minshew to 163 yards, the first time he was held under 200 yards this season, including when coming on in relief in week one. The running game was limited too in a truly suffocating performance. While the Jags did manage three yards a carry, they only rushed for 75 yards total.
Saint’s vice-like grip
It’s hard to win any game with 226 yards of offence. Especially today in a league focused on high power offence. Add to that a turnover thrown by Gardner Minshew and it’s no wonder that a late 75 yard touchdown drive, the only one of the game, was enough to win the game for the Saints.
Despite the low figures, the Jags held the ball for 26 minutes and had 10 drives. Even so, they were unable to get anything going with the ball, while also limiting Teddy Bridgewater and co. It was another case of the fact that New Orleans can win games in multiple ways.
It’s not that the Jags are the most explosive offence in the league. It’s how big a demolition the Saints did. Minshew had a completion percentage of 48.3%, well below his season average of 63%.
The Saints hardly register in the top of stats categories because they have been a real chameleon of a team. One week they win a shootout, the next in a shutout. This all bodes very well given that we are only a couple of weeks from when Drew Brees is expected to return.
Rest is critical
One thing they need to be careful of is wearing key pieces out. Alvin Kamara looks like a man who needed to sit for a week and the defence will need to be protected too. If they can keep everyone healthy and rested, is there a more well-rounded team in the NFL? On their day, they can beat anyone and New Orleans aren’t off form very often.