After Further Review: Five takes from Saints win over Seahawks

New Orleans Saints' Alvin Kamara runs for a touchdown after a pass reception as Seattle...
New Orleans Saints' Alvin Kamara runs for a touchdown after a pass reception as Seattle Seahawks' Ryan Neal defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Seattle.(Source: AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 12:03 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Take One: Ugly win in Seattle

In the NFL, ugly victories will always matter more than moral victories. The Saints fourth win of the season was as ugly of a performance as we’ve seen under Sean Payton.

But it still counts.

The weather was crappy. The execution was sloppy. The team had too many penalties, a fumble and only converted two third downs. Plus, they were bailed out by two missed Seahawks’ field goals. They know they will not get away with a performance like that against many teams.

But for one Monday night in Seattle, they did just enough.

In the end, that’s all that really matters. Now the Saints are 4-2 and kept pace with the team ahead of them in the NFC South coming to New Orleans next week.

Take Two: Defensive Dominance

With DeMario Davis leading the way, the Saints defense smothered the Seahawks offense all night long. Davis was an absolute madman on the field with ten tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks.

A struggling pass rush finished with five sacks. They got two of them on the Seahawks final drive of the game.

To be fair, Geno Smith had a little to do with that. Smith is not a good quarterback and looked uncomfortable all night long in the pocket. By the end of the night, he was seeing ghosts.

Short of one first quarter explosive play, Marshon Lattimore shut down D.K. Metcalf all game. Plus, the Saints once again shut down their opponents’ run game.

All in all, the defense took control of the game and helped carry them to victory.

Take Three: AK saves the offense

Thank goodness for Alvin Kamara. Without him, the Saints simply do not win this game. Kamara was a beast Monday night with 30 touches, 179 yards and a touchdown.

He saved his best work for the final drive of the half. With the score 7-3, Jameis Winston threw five completions to lead the team to their lone touchdown. Four of those completions went to Kamara including the final one for six.

Pete Carroll eventually adjusted to Kamara in the second half in the passing game by doubling on his option routes. They also kept him in check for most of the game running the football until a 3rd & 10 at the 5:26 mark. Sean Payton rolled the dice and ran it with Kamara on an inside zone. Payton said he called it expecting to get seven and kick a field goal, but Kamara had other plans. He ripped off his longest run of the game with 12 yards and moved the sticks. More importantly, it allowed the Saints to kill more clock.

As for the argument that Kamara is getting overused, I understand it. However in a game like that, getting him the ball clearly gave the Saints their best chance to win. Thus, they really had no choice but to keep feeding him.

Take Four: Offensive Issues

Kamara is the only consistent thing about this Saints offense now six games into the season. It’s late October and that side of the ball is still struggling to find its way. Monday night was one of their worst efforts to date.

Seattle had the NFL’s worst defense coming into the game, but they made the Saints grind for every inch. In the end, the Saints offense managed just 13 points against them.

Jameis Winston was streaky. He looked great in the two-minute drive that proved pivotal in the game but struggled with accuracy at times and overall pocket presence. Plus, outside of Kamara, the Saints pass catchers aren’t getting enough separation. On back-to-back deep passes, Kevin White and Kenny Stills both dropped catchable balls.

This all came on a night when the Saints had their starting offensive line back for part of the game and gave Winston good protection.

Michael Thomas’ return will certainly help, but it’s unknown if he alone will give the Saints the firepower they desperately need.

Take Five: Other Observations

- Punter Blake Gillikin is a weapon. His ability to dictate field position has become a key part of the Saints’ new formula for success. Gillikin landed four of his six punts inside the 20-yard line and put another one at the one-yard line.

- The Saints missed Deonte Harris and Taysom Hill tonight. Harris’ return ability and consistency on the deep ball had an impact. Hill’s ability in short-yardage both running and blocking was sorely missed.

- Welcome back, Marcus Davenport. His consistent pressure was a problem for Seattle.

- Tre’Quan Smith struggled in his season debut.

- Kwon Alexander was in on a few situational snaps on defense, but Pete Werner played most of the game at weakside linebacker.

- Kudos to Brian Johnson. The rookie made his NFL debut and went 2-for-2, including the game winner from 32 yards out. It was just the second and third made field goals of the season for the Saints.

- Marcus Williams has to make that tackle on Metcalf. What should have been about a 25-yard gain, turned into a 84-yard touchdown because of that miss.

- On the Saints marathon 19-play drive that resulted in their first field goal, they were clearly offsides on a fourth down conversion that wasn’t called.

- Speaking of that drive, Marquez Callaway was open in the end zone on the final offensive play. Winston waited too long to pull the trigger and had the ball tipped by the linebacker.

- Adam Trautman has to secure the football. That fumble gave the Seahawks great field position which was the one thing they had to have to stay in the game.

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