The New Orleans Saints marched into Jacksonville and came away with a 4th straight win beating the Jaguars 13-6 at TIAA Bank Field. Another game “won in the trenches” with a stellar defensive display from the Saints giving up no Touchdowns on the road. A sluggish display from the offense with just the one Touchdown but backed up by the strong defense. As usual, let’s look into some individual performances.
Not a performance by the offense I will be telling the grandchildren about, but job done, a win is a win. RedZone efficiency needs increasing again, just 1 of 3 today, opportunities have to be taken.
Staring with Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Not Teddy’s best game since becoming the starter but okay shall we say. 24/36 for 240 and a TD the stats don’t tell the whole story. A couple of drops by the Saints but Bridgewater over or under threw receivers on multiple occasions, including a wide-open Ted Ginn for what would have been a big gainer.
However, he did do his usual game management style with two very long drives. One 4:49, 11 play, 57 yarder for a FG but the crucial one on the next possession another 11 play but 75 yarder for 6 minutes 22 and a Touchdown pass to Jared Cook on 3rd down. Clock eaten, score completed he included some nice throws throughout but needs to work on his accuracy.
Latavius Murray was actually the better running back on the day for the Saints. Seeing more of the field due to Alvin Kamara’s slight injury. More yards on the ground from less carries (44 from 8) plus an equalling 35 yards of 3 catches it was a nice day for Murray and probably his best in black and gold. Murray also had a touchdown chalked off for a hold by Michael Thomas which was a great play down the side-line, a shame for him, he deserved it on the day. Kamara now has a week to rest up and get healthy for the Bears on the road in week 7.
Speaking of Michael Thomas, he again was the favourite receiver for the Saints. 89 yards off 8 catches for CGM, he was crucial during that TD drive. A big catch on 1&20 for 26 yards a key play. Wide receivers are going to have to help out Thomas soon as he will be getting more and more attention as the games keep on coming.
We saw some Jared Cook scoring today! Well one score with the endzone catch for the Saints only Touchdown of the day. Nice throw and catch for this one but the Saints still need to use him more, 3 catches for 37 yards needs doubling to remain competitive in other games, especially on the road next week. However, he did get his catches at pivotal moments in the game which maintained drives and sealed the win, got the score and kept the momentum with the Saints. Clutch Cook.
More evidence today that this is a great unit. Top 10 for sure but people aren’t talking about them as much as say the Bears or obviously the Patriots who have been lights out so far this season. Just 226 total yards allowed, 4 of 14 third downs converted, an interception and a turnover on downs. Great performance.
Marshon Lattimore forced Jags rookie QB Gardner Minshew’s first NFL interception as a starter which the Saints turned into 3 points. Lattimore also had 3 solo tackles and 3 passes defensed. He looks to be enjoying playing and it was another great week for Lattimore. QB’s are now worrying about him in coverage again so looking elsewhere, still not finding a whole lot. DJ Chark followed Amari Cooper and Mike Evans into the Lock down Lattimore book.
The secondary as a whole only gave up 151 passing yards with usual suspect DJ Chark being held to only 43 yards off his 3 receptions. More productive day for Leonard Fournette for 46 yards but off double the receptions. The Jaguars tried to used Fournette in a similar way to the Saints using Kamara but didn’t have this same effect.
The Run Defense continued to be great with only 3.1 yards a carry over the piece with Fournette held to 72 off 20 himself. The Jags continually tried to establish a run game but found it tough with the strong game upfront and the excellent Linebacker corp.
Cam Jordan had a nice day. 2 sacks for the leader of the defense. One sack ended any potential hopes Jacksonville had at getting a quick score before the half. The other was massive. 3rd and 2 in the RedZone, Jordan comes up strong and gets to Minshew before any hope at getting a first down, let alone a TD. Massive momentum switch as the Jags would have had the lead if they scored but Cam was so physical and pulled out the usual ladder celebration. I like to think I helped by wearing my #94 jersey to the London game yesterday 😉.
No other big-time players on the stats sheet but it was a unit effort and Demario Davis, Eli Apple and Marcus Williams all came up with defensed passes. Davis had 6 solo tackles and did manage to knock out Jags TE Geoff Swaim with a shoulder to helmet hit. Although he got penalised for it, I know he didn’t mean harm. It was a bang-bang play and he was just doing what he does with his physicality. He has wished him well also.
Wil Lutz hit all his kicks, again. 3 out of 3 (2 FGs and an XP) for Lutz and he hasn’t missed in 34 straight road game attempts.
Thomas Morstead had busy day. 6 punts for 251 yards and all but 1 within the 20. He is helping the defense massively with his skill, always giving opposition deep field position to deal with.
Justin Hardee make one nice play at the Jacksonville 2-yard line to stop the ball going for a touchback. The special teams really have stepped up this season to support the rest, they really can make a positive impact.
Like I said earlier, a win is a win. It certainly wasn’t the most exciting game and not one I will be watching for weeks to come but the result is the same. The Saints are consistently finding a way to win. With a tough looking road game in Chicago to come, it was important to keep that 1 game lead from the Panthers intact. The Bears didn’t overly impress me when they were over here, losing to the raiders but, they are coming off their bye so might be rested and healthy enough to give this tiring Saints offense something to think about. Hopefully Kamara and get healthy, Bridgewater can find his groove again and the defense can continue this form because it may well be needed again.
Until next time……