Saints Defense Holds On To Beat Seattle
On Halloween weekend, the Saints gave their fans a scare, but they held on for the 25-20 win over Seattle, thanks to the defense.
New Orleans put themselves behind the eight ball to start, when Mark Ingram fumbled the ball and Earl Thomas returned it for a Seattle touchdown and an early lead. After that, he watched from the sidelines as Tim Hightower came in and carried the ball 26 times for 102 yards. Hightower did the dirty work on the ground, but the defense did the heavy lifting.
Seattle only scored one offensive touchdown, and the Saints kept them out of the endzone on multiple occasions. The most important stop came at the end of the game, when the Seahawks were threatening to steal the win.
With two seconds left on the clock and the ball at the 18-yard line, Russell Wilson floated a ball to the back pylon, but B.W. Webb didn't let the receiver come down with the ball in bounds. That was the last play of the game, but it wasn't the most important one.
Nate Stupar's interception in the second quarter set up the Saints first score, and it flipped the momentum of the game. Cam Jordan also provided pressure all day, and his lone sack was a big one. It forced Seattle to kick a field goal, something the Saints did twice in the second half when they badly needed a stop.
Jordan spoke with the media after the game, and he gave love to his brothers.
"The defense played a full game, putting pressure on and then keeping that pressure on," Jordan said.
The defenders got the job done, but so did Wil Lutz. Since the offense was only able to punch the ball in the endzone twice, once with a QB sneak from Drew Brees and again with Brandin Cooks, Lutz booted four kicks through the uprights, which ultimately decided the game.
Offensively, it was a frustrating performance. For example, the Saints had a 1st and Goal from the one-yard line and had to settle for a field goal, and they generally struggled in short yardage situations. Brandon Coleman went down short of the sticks on a crucial third down inside the redzone too, leading to another field goal. If Seattle would have scored at the end of the game to steal the victory, the Saints' offense would have taken a lot of heat. Thankfully, the defense saved the day.
The silver lining for the offense was, unsurprisingly, Brees. He played a clean game, throwing for 265 yards without an interception. Michael Thomas led the team in catches (6) and yardage (63) again, but Cooks caught the only score.
Another bright note was the lack of penalties. The officials only flagged New Orleans twice, as opposed to the 11 penalties against the Seahawks. Several times, the Seahawks gave the Saints gifts in big spots in the game, which shouldn't be overlooked in the full story of the win. The Saints got away with a couple "pick plays" in the passing game, but if the refs don't throw the flag, nobody in Who Dat Nation will complain.
The victory improves the Saints' record to 3-4, keeping them in the hunt for a playoff spot. It's rare when the offense doesn't tote the line in New Orleans, but this time, they owe the defense a big "thank you."
The question moving forward is, what is the future of the Saints backfield? Ingram didn't carry the ball once after a costly fumble for the second straight week, and Hightower took full advantage of his mistake. The formerly-retired running back provided some tough yardage and a spark off the bench, but he might not be a backup anymore.
Next week, the Saints play the struggling 49ers with a chance to draw their record back to even keel. Things are looking up, Who Dat Nation.
--(Full Box Score)--