Ross Jackson

Complete the Sweep

The Saints got back on track by winning their second game against the Carolina Panthers this year. Their first win against Carolina came in week three and was the first win in an 8-game win-streak. There is a lot of praise around the play of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram for their explosive game where they combined for 248 total yards and 3 touchdowns. Rightfully so. But there’s another statistic that’s not being mentioned even though it was the talk of analysts the week leading up to the game. Before this game, the Panthers were leading the league with an average of 33:32 in Time of Possession (TOP).

On Sunday, the Saints held Carolina to a their lowest TOP total so far this season with 26:39. Their previous season low? 28:51 in week 3 against the Saints. The black and gold have found a way to control the ball against Carolina and thus control the game. In both games against the Panthers, the Saints never trailed and were only tied up for just over a quarter’s length including scoreless time.

In addition to limiting TOP, the Saints held the Panthers to their fewest offensive plays so far this year with only 53. Their previous low came, again, against the Saints in week 3 with 59. This year has been a clinic on how to win against Carolina by New Orleans. Keeping the ball away from their offense, limiting big plays (only allowed 3 over 20 yards), beating the living hell out of their run defense which plays very well against seemingly every other team, and creating opportunistic takeaways. It’s a recipe to win anywhere. But there’s something so sweet abut a Carolina sweep.