Saints vs. Giants: Good, bad and ugly

Drew Brees and the Saints got another tough win. Saints official Twitter account

The Saints continue their “Let’s Make Life Harder Than Necessary” season tour this week with a 33-18 win over the Giants. It was an ugly win in which they made unnecessary errors that could have cost them the game. Here’s how I saw things:

The Good

-If Alvin Kamara is Sean Payton’s favorite toy, Taysom Hill is Payton’s favorite Swiss Army Knife. Hill threw a fake punt pass for a first down, ran over Landon Collins (all-pro safety) for another first down, caught a screen pass (for a loss), returned the opening kickoff 16 yards, and would’ve had a touchdown pass to Kamara if it wasn’t dropped.

- Speaking of Kamara, Payton’s favorite toy had 181 total yards and three touchdowns, including the game sealing 49-yard touchdown run to put the Saints up 33-18 with two minutes left. Many talk of Le’Veon Bell’s gliding running style, but forget to mention Kamara’s effortless style as well.

- The defense finally decided to show up to the party! They held the Giants to 299 yards total, including only 97 in the first half. For a team averaging giving up 403 yards of offense, holding a team 104 yards under that putrid average is a win.

The Bad

-The middle of the field, whether on crossing routes or squatting inside open areas of zone, continues to be open. Several times the Giants took advantage. This has been, and continues to be an ongoing issue defensively, particularly on third and short or medium.

-Michael Thomas didn’t have one of his typical games. Averaging 13 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown every game so far was a bit much to keep up. Only four catches for 47 yards and no touchdowns today. Giants played great defense on the Saints’ biggest threat on the outside.

-Drew Brees didn’t have his A game going today either. He was 18 of 32 for 217 yards and no touchdowns. 56% passing from Brees whose career completion percentage is 67% is not normal. There aren’t many games the Saints have won in which Brees completes less than 60% of his passes.  

The Ugly

-Four of the Saints’ five first half possessions were scoring drives. Good right? Not when they’re deep drives into or start in the red zone and end in field goals. The 12-7 halftime lead should’ve been at least 20-7, if not 28-7. They even had two touchdowns dropped in the red zone on the same possession!

-The Saints started 1 of 8 on third downs. Several of those contributed to their poor red zone offense in the first half. It took them until the fourth quarter to get their second third down conversion. For a team that has been one of the best on third downs over the Brees/Payton era, that was abysmal. 

-Another example of how bad the Saints played was their two minute advantage in time of possession, 31 to 29. With the offense not in the best of rhythms, but the defense humming along just fine (and getting two turnovers), there was no way the Saints should have only gotten a two minute advantage and a win.

This was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. A win on the road against a conference opponent is always a plus. There are several things this team has to fix before playing the Redskins. The good thing is it appears as if the defense is rounding into shape. The offensive woes today can be adjusted. The team will get Mark Ingram back this upcoming week from suspension which will take some of the load off Kamara and add a dimension to the run game. Going 3-1 in the first quarter of the season isn’t bad, but let’s see how the next quarter of the season goes.   

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