After Further Review: Five takes from Saints win over Chargers

After Further Review: Five takes from Saints win over Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers vs New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on Monday, October 12, 2020. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI/Pool (Source: AJ SISCO)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Take One: Resiliency in victory

We’re five games into the 2020 season and it’s still tough to get a true read on this team.

Are the Saints good? Average? Bad?

The answer at this time is unknown.

What is known is they were down 17 points against the Chargers Monday and playing some of their worst football of the season. Yet somehow they clawed their way back to a three-point win in overtime.

That’s not easy to do in the NFL. In fact, it was only the second time Drew Brees had ever come back from that large of a margin in his career.

There something to be said about showing that kind of resiliency to fight back and win. For that, the Saints should feel good. But anyone realistically looking at where this team is right now knows they still have glaring issues to fix. The good news is it’s a lot easier fixing those problems at 3-2 instead of 2-3.

Take Two: Drew Brees' performance

Jameis Winston was trending on twitter in the first half. That’s all that you need to know about where Saints fans' heads were at during the first half.

Brees looked old and indecisive early and many took to social media to jump off the Brees bandwagon. His second quarter interception was a terrible throw and terrible decision. Brees was a big reason why the team has sunk so far into that double-digit hole.

But then, as he usually does, Brees found his rhythm. For nine Monday, it came on the two-minute drill before halftime. After an incompletion, he hit his next five straight then finished the drive with his signature leap over the top for a touchdown.

Later in the game, he made a fantastic read on his connection to Jared Cook on third and long in the fourth quarter for a touchdown.

On the final two drives of the game, Brees went 10/12 and moved the ball downfield to set up the game-tying touchdown and game-winning field goal.

Bottom line, it was a little more blue collar and workmanlike, but ultimately Brees got the job done and helped bring his team to victory.

Take Three: Secondary issues

The Saints were able to overcome it Monday, but they know they will not win consistently if they don’t solve their coverage issues in the secondary.

The busts on the back end have officially become problematic. Name a defensive back that’s playing good football right now?

Other than maybe C.J. Gardner Johnson in the run game, it’s truly hard to name one.

Marshon Lattimore made an incredible tackle to seal the Saints win, but overall he had a bad night. He was beaten for three huge plays in the game: an early deep ball that set up their second touchdown, that second touchdown pass and the Mike Williams catch that could have set up the game winner at the end of regulation.

Patrick Robinson and P.J. Williams combined for a coverage bust right after the Cook touchdown that allowed LA to go up seven late in the game.

Marcus Williams was beat early in on Justin Herbert’s throw to Keenan Allen.

Overall, this group has to get better for the team to have any chance at a big run.

Take Four: Michael Thomas situation

It’s impossible to ignore the Michael Thomas situation.

First, it had to have been a significant incident for Sean Payton to suspend Thomas, not just your average practice squabble between two competitors that went too far. Payton doesn’t make a habit of suspending superstars.

Second, they went public by updating his status to out and labeling it ‘non-injury related.’ Remember, Thomas was already listed as questionable, and if he was just inactive for the game ruled out for the game many would’ve assumed that it was a precaution due to his injury, which would have allowed them to keep the discipline under wraps. But ultimately the Saints wanted it out in the open.

On the field early on, the offense looked like they had practiced and game planned with Thomas all week, then struggled to adjust with him not there.

As for Thomas, he has to be better than this. He’s one of the highest paid players on the team. They’re counting on him to be a force for good in the locker room.

Hopefully, this discipline will officially squash the situation and everyone moves forward. This team will need him at his best if they truly want to be a contender.

Take Five: Other Observations

  • A contrast in kicker consistency Monday. Wil Lutz was 3/3 on field goals. Michael Badgley missed an extra point and missed the potential game-winner off the upright.
  • For Alvin Kamara to make that catch on the sideline over the defender and then have the presence of mind to get both feet in was truly impressive to watch.
  • Emmanuel Sanders is becoming Brees go-to guy at the second level (10-20 yards)of the field. In particular, he was very effective working the middle of the field. He finished with 12 catches for 122 yards.
  • The run/pass option touchdown for Taysom Hill helped him break out of his funk. Before that, he was not playing well when he dropped a pass, threw an incompletion and was stopped short on a third down power play. It’s been a struggle for Hill thus far this season. The magic touch he had a year ago is nowhere to be found. Hopefully, he can bounce back after the bye.
  • Malcolm Jenkins has to make that interception on the sideline.
  • Kudos to Herbert. The rookie belongs. He had an impressive showing Monday. His future looks bright for the Chargers.
  • Impossible to ignore the improvement of Trey Hendrickson.
  • The defensive front as a whole played well applying pressure Monday.
  • Marquez Callaway on Monday is what making the most of an opportunity is all about.
  • Brees has still never lost to his former team.
  • The Saints have now won 14 straight games in the second quarter of the season.

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