5-1 Who Dats, and 4-0 since Teddy has started! Tulane, LSU, and the Saints are a combined 16-2! It’s the salad days of South Louisiana football, so appreciate these moments. Teddy Bridgewater had his worst day as a starter this year, and you know what?? Who cares?!?!? (Throw papers in the air, slap a drink out of a stranger’s hand, kick a dog, or whatever your interpretation of “fuck it” is!!) The New Orleans Saints’ defense has been quickly turning into a juggernaut that will make fantasy football brats whine about how their star receiver or quarterback or whomever didn’t get them squat for points, and it’s glorious. I’ve got DJ Chark on one of my fantasy teams, and I could’ve given a rat’s ass that he had a bad outing. Awesome defense and special teams are fantastic to watch when they are YOUR TEAM.
Jared Cook had his best game as a Saint to date, and Latavius Murray looked like he should’ve been fed the ball about 10 more times. Don’t count these guys out yet, because this season is still full of surprises. And these 2019 Saints are beating the odds, and they are flipping the proverbial finger to the shoddy refereeing, the national sports media, the league, and anyone else that wants to stop this team. Be proud, love it, and jump in that steamy jacuzzi even if it’s too hot. YOLO!! Let’s geaux!!
The Saints won what felt like a slugfest in the trenches and a defensive battle with a final score of only 13-6. The Saints had the lone touchdown ultimately, but it didn’t matter. They could’ve won 9-6 even. Most of the Jags’ offensive success was because of dumb penalties called on the Saints. Of course there were some legitimate calls, but once again it was a game where the Saints got no love from the officials. That’s 4 of 6 games this season by my count. A lot of penalties in this game either weren’t accepted because of successful free plays by the Jags, or because the Saints and Jags “both” had penalties to negate each other on the same play.
Teddy struggled all day, but especially in the first half. He missed on several short throws, including a simple lob to Michael Thomas. On paper his day didn’t look bad, but the offense left a lot of points on the field. That game should’ve ended in a landslide victory, and instead we won by a touchdown. Bridgewater finished 24-36 on completions for 240 yards, had the one touchdown, no turnovers, and he took 3 sacks. See? On paper, not bad. There’s about 5 easy passes that he’d like to have back. 2 of his 3 sacks were from him holding onto the ball too long. Our offensive line has been back to playing at a high level, but it’s unfair to them for him to hold onto the ball too long. He’ll have to play much better next week for us to have a chance. On a positive note, Jared Cook’s three catches were clutch: a crucial third down conversion, a great first down catch in the fourth quarter, and of course the touchdown with a sick pass from Teddy Two Gloves. Also, Michael Thomas only having 8 receptions for 89 yards is hilarious and amazing to say since better defenses are trying so hard to shut him down.
In the run game, Kamara started the game a little banged up, and finished the game even more banged up. Latavius Murray (Murray, present. A la “Flight of the Conchords”) was looking like a beast each time he touched the ball, but Sean Payton kept going back to Alvin Kamara again and again. This is one of those Saints head scratcher moments. Why not rest Kamara, who clearly looks not 100%, and feed the ball to Latavius, who just became a dad and is running with purpose? And we’re paying for him, so use him.
Now the defense and special teams were a different story. Demario led the team with 5 solo tackles, which might not seem too high, but that’s because this team spreads the wealth in that department. Cam enjoyed 2 sacks. Marshon had an interception. Morestead was back on his game burying them deep on punts. All 5 of his punts landed inside their 20. Deez Lutz needs fun T-shirts in his honor. Jacksonville’s offense was given almost no chances in this game, and it was sexy.
Lastly, Sean Payton even made a comment in the postgame presser, “I told the guys that I think we could’ve played 8 quarters, and they wouldn’t have scored a touchdown”. When, in the last 13 years…do you EVER remember Sean Payton gloating about his defense?!? That’s what is happening right now. Oh to have had this D anywhere from 2010-2016…
I’m like most Saints fans: I’m somewhat confused by the subpar offense, and jaw-dropped by the sudden shutdown defense. Yes, we saw this D last year. Yes, there’s no Drew Brees. Yes, I understand the whys. But this is all backwards from what we’ve grown accustomed to under Coach Payton. And this is the exact football we should expect from the Saints over the next few weeks. Yes, the gameplan will change a bit and adapt to the team and the week, but for anyone old enough to remember, this is how Dome Patrol days operated. Will anything change with Drew back? Let’s hope so. But no one should be hating on Teddy Two Gloves. He’s 4-0!!
Back to the penalties! I love having to dedicate time to penalties. There’s the offense as a whole, defense and special teams can be roped into one, aaaaaand penalties. For me typing these articles, do you know what’s great? Average, even-called, officiating. But that’s too much to ask apparently. There were several weak calls (most infuriating were the rare times they penalized the Jags, there was a convenient off-setting penalty to negate both), but two that were significant that I want to mention were the Michael Thomas hold and the Demario Davis helmet to helmet. Latavius Murray had a beautiful run for a touchdown (28 yard run?), and Michael Thomas was called for a hold. Now he did hold on to the guy’s arm a half second too late (if you want to split hairs), but it was nooooowhere near as aggregious as the holds all game that weren’t called on the Jags’ linemen. The other, more complicated call was the Demario Davis hit on the tight end. I understand why they called it. It’s knee jerk, it’s helmet-to-helmet at face value, and I know there was no way that they would not call it, because the league is stupid. But if you go back and watch it closely, Davis stops his momentum as best as he can, turns his body sideways, and braces for the hit. It’s the Jags’ tight end that has the momentum and lowers his head into the hit. The tight end is taller, so lowering his head put the helmets at even level. It’s what it is, but Davis better not get fined. Also, Demario Davis is a brick wall apparently the way that guy bounced off of him. This season is reaching a new high in terrible calls all over the league.
The Saints head to Chicago for what looks to be another defensive battle. Trubisky should be back starting, and we should consider that a bonus for us. If Chase Daniel was starting, we would be looking at a much “safer” and less “risky” offense. Trubisky gives us more youthful risks and greater turnover odds. If our defense continues to play the way it has, don’t be surprised to see multiple turnovers, and that might be the difference maker in this game. Because…
Teddy can’t afford a bad game considering how limited the offense is. We’re possibly down one healthy Alvin Kamara, one healthy Jared Cook, and we have a L’Jords Humphrey and one Austin Carr that eat up 30% of snaps with 0 catches. Josh Hill has our 3rd highest receptions. We have a new running back named Zack Zenner that’s a nobody, and a new tight end that blocks and who cares what his name is. Our offensive power looks like the Miami Dolphins right now.
Bridgewater has played a pretty safe, relatively turnover-free game up until now. He will have to get rid of the ball quickly, and try and pound the ball against a difficult Chicago front seven. Latavius will have to earn his $6 mil this week, while Payton stays patient. I’ve been on the fence about this game all week, but this is still a winnable game for the Saints. Our defense is better than theirs, I believe. The name of the game is quick release throws, and patience with the ground game. This Sunday will definitely force Sean Payton into a Coach of the Year conversation. Why he’s not in it yet is already stupid. The man schemed up a new playbook for a new QB after losing Brees to injury for god’s sake.
The keys to this game are turnovers, smart and safe football, and shutdown defense again for the win. Deonte Harris needs to rebound this weekend. I’m sweating already Who Dats!
SAINTS 23 – BEARS 17
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