Another week and another victory for the Saints as they defeated the New York Jets 28-13 at MetLife Stadium. The team had some good, some bad, and some ugly moments. Overall, there are still many questions to be answered going into the final preseason game next Thursday against the Dolphins. Let us dive into the in-depth analysis of Saturday’s game:
One and Done
Drew Brees finally got some action in the preseason and the opening drive was all we needed to see. He completed four of his six passes for 68 yards and a touchdown pass to Michael Thomas. The key moment was a floating pass to Alvin Kamara on a third down to extend the drive. Needless to say, the drive was almost flawless and is a good sign going into the regular season. The first team defense also stayed consistent by forcing a fumble on the second play thanks to Marshon Lattimore. Complimentary football is what we love to see.
Teddy Bridgewater continued his struggles from last week’s game but he was not the only one. Dwayne Washington had a couple of dropped passes which hurt him considering he had several good runs. The biggest issue was the backup tackles. After the first drive, the Jets defense had a field day, instantly getting pressure on Bridgewater with ease. Definitely an area of concern going forward with cuts less than a week away. It’s worth remembering that the Jets first team defense stayed out for almost the entire first half facing off against the Saints offensive line depth. Concerns against the Saints starting unit are close to nil, but some individual evaluations for guys fighting for spots might have taken some hits.
Already Making House Calls
Deonte Harris came to the Saints as an undrafted free agent as a return specialist. So far, every touch he has gotten has had several positive results. It was only a matter a time before he would return a punt for a touchdown and he did so for 79 yards in the 4th quarter. With Marcus Sherels not playing in any games to this point, it is safe to say that Harris has earned a spot on the roster. Not to mention, he had a fumble on a kickoff and hustled to recover it and got some time on offense. With a lot of emphasis put on special teams this off-season, I believe it is safe to say that Harris will be the return man Week 1.
Second Half Lockdown
For the second straight game, the Saints defense held the opponent without a touchdown in the second half. Impressive would be an understatement but encouraging would be the term for this type of performance. Knowing that the second and third unit players are capable of this type of effort speaks volumes to the coaching and their playmaking abilities. It will only make cut down day a lot harder than it already is to this point.
The game in itself took a lot longer than expected. A little more than four hours. The factor being the amount of penalties that were called during the contest. It was calculated that 31 penalties were called between both teams. Now some of the calls were questionable but makes you thankful it was during the preseason and not the regular season. Overall, these penalties will be studied and reviewed to ensure that they get called correctly when it matters the most.
This game was another good team effort. However, there are still plenty of holes to be filled before the last preseason game. Thursday night will be the last opportunity for a plethora of players to show what they have to warrant a roster spot. Regardless, it has been fun to watch all the competition not only on the Saints but the opposing teams as well. Who knows, there may be some guys on other teams who could sneak on the team after final cuts and vice versa.