Trap game you say? I do not think so my friend. The Saints continued their winning ways against the Jaguars with a 13-6 victory in Jacksonville. The game itself was back and forth the entire way. The Jags get a lot of credit for how well they executed their game plan. Even so, the Saints have now won four straight games without Drew Brees and even further prove why they are the biggest threat in the NFC. There was not a lot of scoring as you can tell but there were a plethora of game changing moments.
He Caught That Ball
Both teams traded punts after their first possession. The Saints were driving in Jaguars’ territory and faced a second down. Teddy Bridgewater hit a wide open Ted Ginn Jr. but the pass was ruled incomplete. Sean Payton decided to challenge the call but to no avail. As the play was looked at more closely, it seems that the ball never even came close to the ground. Alas, the refs said what they said the Saints were already down two timeouts in the first quarter. They ended up punting it away after a missed third down. This drive could have lead to at least three points.
Dynamic Phase Duo
The Jaguars were not able to do much at all in the first half. They can thank Thomas Morstead and the Saints defense for that. He was able to pin them inside the 20 yard line four out of five times in the half. Even better, two of those were inside the 10 yard mark. The icing on the cake is the defense only allowed 39 yards on five of the Jags’ six possessions. The one drive Jacksonville got points on was for 66 yards and came after a punt that was downed at their own 30. The ability to flip the field and keep it that way is outstanding.
Back To Back Miscues
The Saints had a chance to get some points at the end of the first half. Bridgewater hit Michael Thomas for a nice gain close to midfield. But then the next two plays would kill the drive instantly. Bridgewater hesitated to take a shot downfield and got sacked. The next play, the Jags inside pressure flew pass Larry Warford and got another sack. This is the type of play that cannot happen for Teddy when it comes to the future. He constantly second guesses himself and ultimately pays the price for it. Just pull the trigger and take the chance when it is available because taking sacks makes a huge difference.
The last few weeks, the Saints defense has been borderline elite. In particular, the secondary has been phenomenal on so many levels. Marshon Lattimore has returned to his lockdown state and continued that trend at the start of the second half. He picked off Gardner Minshew on a third and long for the only turnover of the game. It would lead to a field goal for the offense. If the defense can keep this same mentality when Brees returns, the league will be in some deep trouble.
Close But No Cigar
In reference to the last section, the Saints offense was able to move the ball on the drive. Latavius Murray actually scored on a 42 yard screen pass. However, the refs once again took points off the board because of a holding call on Thomas. Yet again, the replay did not show much to warrant the call. It was one of those “happens on every play” type deals. Nonetheless, a big play for Murray gets wiped away after he has struggled to get going with the team. Also, Bridgewater missed Thomas inside the five yard line on an easy out route. It seemed like things were just not meant to be on this day.
Sealing The Deal
Jared Cook has struggled early on in Payton’s offensive scheme. He was part of the game plan against the Rams until Brees got injured. Lately, Cook and Bridgewater have finally gotten on the same page and made a connection. Ultimately, they found each other for the only touchdown of the game. The score essentially sealed the deal for the victory. Cook seems to be getting more comfortable and should hold true down the stretch.
I would not say that this was a boring game but uneventful to say the least. The Saints keep the train moving and stay proving the critics wrong. The Panthers are also on a hot streak with Kyle Allen as their starter. The black and gold just have to continue what they do best and win as a team. The Bears will be their next opponent and it is on the road. Their defense will provide the toughest challenge by far this season. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.