Saints flex offensive muscles

Published 11:25 am Monday, October 10, 2022

By John DeShazier

New Orleans Saints

If the New Orleans Saints (2-3) were going to halt their losing streak at three (they did) on Sunday in the Caesars Superdome, they were going to need enough standout team and individual play to do it.

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That happened, a few times over in some instances, in their 39-32 victory over Seattle. There were more than enough head-turning performances to cover the bases.

OFFENSE: Taysom Hill will receive strong consideration for NFC Offensive Player of the Week. He’s a football player. Pigeonholing him as a quarterback, or a tight end, or anything else boxes him in when, essentially, he appears to be able to do enough of that – and three or four other things – to help the team win. Sunday, it was taking direct snaps and helping punish Seattle’s defense on the ground, with 112 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries. And, he completed his lone pass attempt for a 22-yard touchdown to tight end Adam Trautman. And, on special teams he recovered a fumble and returned three kickoffs for 69 yards. It was a thoroughly dominating performance, particularly armed with the knowledge that opponents know pretty much what Hill is going to do when he lines up at quarterback, and some are almost powerless to do anything about it. He and the offensive line hit singles early, then tapped the Seahawks for a 60-yard home run to close out the scoring.

DEFENSE: Defensive end Cameron Jordan did enough to earn solo recognition. He had 1.5 sacks – his 14-yard solo sack of Seattle quarterback Geno Smith ended the Seahawks’ last offensive possession – and he added two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits. Jordan’s relentlessness remains on display (a Smith rollout couldn’t fool him, he stayed home and forced an incompletion) and he’s as formidable against the run as ever. But linebacker Pete Werner stole an extra possession for New Orleans’ offense, and that’s always noteworthy. Seattle opened the third quarter with possession, but on the first play, an 8-yard completion from Smith to D.K. Metcalf, Werner flew in to clean up the tackle initiated by safety Justin Evans, and with a strike of violence that he should frame, knocked the ball loose from Metcalf. Defensive tackle David Onyemata recovered at the 31 and six plays later, the Saints took a 24-19 lead on Andy Dalton’s touchdown pass to Chris Olave. Werner finished with seven tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Hill recovered a fumble by punter Michael Dickson. Defensive end Carl Granderson and running back Dwayne Washington had the heads ups on the play, because they tackled Dickson – who appeared to have time to get off the punt, but chose to roll to his right and keep the ball – and were credited with the stop. When the ball came loose, Hill was able to pounce on it and the Saints were able to turn the recovery into a two-play, 13-yard touchdown drive that lasted 45 seconds. That’s the kind of impact play that New Orleans has been looking for from the unit.