Takeaways From The Saints’ 25-22 Loss In London

October 3, 2022

The Saints looked the best they’ve looked all season in their loss to the Vikings. Despite the internal mistakes and lack of discipline the team looked improved as a whole unit.

The Saints Offense Went Back To Fundamentals

The Saints went into Sunday’s game against the Vikings without Running Back Alvin Kamara, Wide Receiver Michael Thomas, and starting Quarterback Jameis Winston. However, this didn’t prevent the team from putting up their best performance of the season on offense. As a whole, the offense looked more consistent playing Saints fundamental football.

There’s no secret that the offense has lacked identity to start the 2022 season. With a game-managing offense and a gun-slinging quarterback, it makes sense why the offense hasn’t had an identity. Well, what we saw from the Andy Dalton-led offense looked very familiar. It looked like the offense that we’re accustomed to seeing Drew Brees run.

The Saints went back to their fundamentals of running the ball to set up play-action passes with some screens thrown in there and Taysom Hill QB powers. Dalton did a good job of finding the open guy and taking what the defense gave him. Something that we’ve heard Brees preach about for years, and it worked. Sunday’s game vs the Vikings was the best we’ve seen the offense all season. Dalton didn’t have to make any crazy throws or plays, he just had to be average. He did just that, and credit to Dalton as he was without Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Dalton did enough to win the game, unfortunately, that wasn’t the outcome.

Latavius Murray Deserves A Spot On The Saints Roster

Running the ball hasn’t come easy for the Saints this year. It didn’t look like it was going to get any easier with the absence of Alvin Kamara in Sunday’s game. With the elevation of Latavius Murray from the practice squad, it seemed like the Saints would have some depth in the backfield. But once Mark Ingram went into the injury tent, Tay Train stole the show.

The nine-year veteran took over the backfield. Murray ended the game with 57 rushing yards on 11 carries with an average of 5.2 yards and one touchdown. It felt that Murray was always one broken tackle or one move away from breaking free for a big gain. What Murray did against the Vikings is more impressive than what Mark Ingram has done this season so far. I believe Murray is RB Two and deserves a spot on the roster.

The Saints Defense Bends But Doesn’t Break

Aside from the opening drive, the Saints defense did what they had to do to win the game. Just like every other week. There were some pretty rough situations that the defense found themselves in, like being backed up into your red zone because of a fumble. The adversity didn’t prevent them from doing their job. Multiple times the Vikings found themselves in the red zone ready to score but the defense held their own.

The run defense was solid. The pass rush and coverage overall were good in my opinion. The only issue that came from the defense is leaving Marshon Lattimore one-on-one with Justin Jefferson with no safety help at the end of the game. The Vikings are going to get the ball to their best player when it matters most, so to not have any safety help over the top is head-scratching to me. Outside of that, the defense was great.

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The Saints Are Undisciplined And Lacking Attention To Detail

The Saints are missing the foundation of football. Attention to detail. If you do the little things right you win games. A good team does the little things right. The Saints simply aren’t a good team right now. Another week of unacceptable penalties, ten total to be exact, gifting the Vikings 102 free yards. Now we all know two of those penalties were very questionable, that’s all I’m going to say on that.

Something that is supposed to be a strength of the team once again played a big part in another loss. The Special Teams was terrible. They lack discipline. The Saints had just taken the lead, and on a kickoff return, the Saints get an unnecessary roughness penalty setting the Vikings up at their own 45. The Vikings would end up running a fake punt which they wouldn’t have run if that penalty never occurs. The drive would result in a field goal. It’s the little things that the Saints need to work on.

Where the Saints need to put all their attention towards is protecting the ball. The team has six fumbles in four games. Unacceptable. That is the first thing they teach at the lowest level. Protect the ball. The Saints haven’t done so. Dennis Allen needs to bench the next person who fumbles. Dating back to 2016, Sean Payton benched Mark Ingram for fumbling once.

Benching someone will get everyone’s attention and respect. The players will notice and work on improving ball protection. As I said, it’s the little things and attention to detail.

The Saints Have A Gem in Olave

Through four weeks of the season, there haven’t been too many positives on offense. Chris Olave has been the best positive and the rookie continues to shine. With Andy Dalton, the looks to Olave significantly decreased, but that didn’t prevent him from making plays. The wideout had four receptions for 67 yards and scored the first touchdown of his young career. Three of his four receptions went for a first down, the other one was a touchdown. There’s nothing else to it. Olave has been the light shining in this dark and gloomy offense.