Saints defense played to standard against Raiders

Published 11:21 am Tuesday, November 1, 2022

By John DeShazier

The New Orleans Saints

While obviously cognizant of the New Orleans Saints’ dominant defensive performance on Sunday in a 24-0 win over the Raiders in the Caesars Superdome, whatever victory lap linebacker Demario Davis might or might not have taken was complete by Monday afternoon.

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Possibly, it ended before he exited the postgame locker room because Davis has helped sculpt heavy-handed defensive showings by the Saints (3-5), who applied their heaviest hands of the season against the Raiders: A shutout for the first time since a 9-0 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 14, and Week 15, of last season, with 183 yards allowed (38 rushing on 13 carries), an interception, four sacks, seven tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits, eight passes defended and nine stops on 14 third-down attempts.

“What we did last game wasn’t anything great,” said Davis, who finished with three tackles and is tied for the team lead with five sacks, which ties his single-season high. “That’s our standard.

“It literally has to be at that level or better, because that’s foundational to who we are – stopping the run, getting after the quarterback and finding a way to take the ball away. We have to do those things for our team to be where we want to go. For us to get to where we want to go, it has to be at that level or higher.”

The Saints entered the game allowing 28.6 points per game, second most in the league, and 123 rushing yards per game on 4.6 yards per carry. Four opponents had rushed for at least 137 yards and no offense had scored less than 13 (the Buccaneers had a defensive touchdown in their 20-10 victory over New Orleans).

But the Saints put it all together against the Raiders.

“We were able to go out and stop the run, able to get pressure on the quarterback, able to take the ball away,” Davis said. “Those are things that you’ve got to be able to do to be successful and we were able to do that.

“(The run defense) wasn’t anything unique. That is who we are, and that’s the standard so it has to be at that level or better. It was good to put that on display.”

Davis said that though New Orleans hadn’t played to the level it anticipated on defense, it hadn’t lost sight of its expectations.

“The standard never changes,” he said. “I think it’s a measuring point to know if you’re on track or if you’re not on track. The great thing was we were able to look at it and say we weren’t on track. We were able to move back toward the right direction. The job is still not finished, we’ve still got so much to improve on and that’s where we are this week.

“There’s still stuff out there that we left on the table that we’ve got to find a way to correct immediately to get to where we’re trying to go. It was good because that was on par with who we are and what we’re capable of doing, but there’s still more out there. We’ve got to get it.”

Attempting to extend it will occur on Monday night, in a nationally televised game against Baltimore (5-3) in the Superdome. Davis said the shutout was nice, but not totally necessary.

“We just played good football,” he said. “That’s what we’ve got to play. (The shutout) was cool to have, but that’s or standard.

“So it’s, we’re on to Baltimore. That game has happened. Wiped it. We’re on to Baltimore and we’re locking in, because where we win these games is in our work. That’s the level we have to be at all the time.”