Saints’ altered game plan gets the job done in Denver

Saints’ altered game plan gets the job done in Denver
Saints linebacker Kwon Alexander recovers fumble in Denver. (Source: Saints pool videographer)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

“Just because they don’t have a quarterback doesn’t mean that’s an automatic win,” says Saints linebacker Demario Davis.

The Saints weren’t taking anything for granted. With the news coming late Saturday that Denver wouldn’t have a true quarterback available for the game, there were changes all over, but primarily on offense. Why? Because the last thing they wanted to do was beat themselves.

“There are a few ways to lose a game like that, and we weren’t interested in one of those,” says head coach Sean Payton.

Saying the Saints went conservative is understating it. Payton says he was in Taysom Hill’s ear all game about taking care of the football. And it showed. Risk taking wasn’t in the cards today in Denver, especially on first and second down where Hill says the play-calling changed most. At one point, they ran the ball on 13 straight plays.

“The game plan changed the last 24 hours,” says Hill. “My mindset changed as well. I really became a game manager at that point. And certainly, the way Sean (Payton) called the game reflected that.”

44 runs. 16 pass attempts. Far from balanced, but playing with a clear advantage defensively, that’s OK. And contrary to what many of us thought coming into the game, the Saints say rather than making big, sweeping changes on defense, they simplified.

“There wasn’t a huge chalk board session up into the wee hours last night as much as it was, ‘All right. Here are the things that we think we’re going to see,’” says Payton.

“As far as the type of plays that they would be able to run, we’ve faced a lot of teams that run wildcat,” says Davis. “We knew a lot of their gun runs would probably still be in. So we had already game planned to stop that.”

The moral of the story, this is just the latest example of the Saints having the perfect game plan for the situation. This is a team that’s seen just about everything you could imagine thrown their way this year, and through it all, they’ve now won eight straight games.

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