By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Happy Thanksgiving! Last time the Saints and Falcons played was Nov. 10th in the Mercedes Benz Super Dome. A contest that Atlanta won in dominating fashion, 26-9. The Saints were not only look to avenge the loss to the Falcons. But to clinch the NFC South Division as well. They accomplished both, as New Orleans handed Atlanta their 9th loss of the season. But it wasn't easy. The Falcons would recover two onside kicks late in the 4th quarter, setting up an opportunity to pull out a victory. However, the Saints defense would slam the door shut. With the score, 26-18, Atlanta had the ball 4th and 8 at the Saints 44 yard line. Cam Jordan would record his 4th sack of the game to seal the victory and the Division.
The Saints started the game quickly. Atlanta received the opening kickoff and started their drive at the 25. On first down the Saints defense set the tone, sacking Matt Ryan on the play. Two plays later Taysom Hill blocked Atlanta's punt and the Saints recovered the ball at the 30 yard line. From there, the Saints quickly drove into the red zone. On 1st and goal from the three, Drew Brees hit Taysom Hill in the near flat. Hill followed blockers into the end zone for the score. Wil Lutz pushed his PAT through the up-rights and the Saints took an early 7-0 lead. Play slowed down, as both teams traded possessions. The quarter ended with Atlanta driving 73 yards on 8 plays, setting up a 4th and goal at the Saints 2 yard line.
Matt Ryan's pass fell incomplete in the end zone on 4th and goal from the 2, as the Falcons turned the ball over on downs to start the 2nd quarter. New Orleans was unable to drive out of the shadow of their goal line and punted. Three plays later, Matt Ryan hit TE Jaeden Graham for a 18 yard TD. Atlanta kicker, Younghoe Koo missed the PAT. 7-6, New Orleans, with 12:34 left in the 1st half. The Saints answered with a Wil Lutz 22 yard field goal as their 77 yard drive, stalled at the Atlanta 4 yard line, increasing their lead to 10-6. The Falcons' started their next drive, moving the ball 50 yards in 11 plays, eating 5:08 off the clock. However, Younghoe Koo missed a 42 yard field goal attempt. Drew Brees made the missed scoring opportunity sting as he quickly drove the Saints 68 yards in only 4 plays, as Taysom Hill took a direct snap and took it 30 yards for the score. The key play on the drive came on 1st down, when Drew Brees hit a wide open Jared Cook for a 29 yard gain. Saints led, 17-6 after the extra point by Lutz. Matt Ryan and the Falcons continued to move the ball well, as they responded, moving the ball 48 yards in nine plays, setting up Koo's 45 yard successful FG with only 3 seconds left. Atlanta Head Coach, Dan Quinn decided to roll the dice on a 4th and three at mid-field with 26 seconds left in the period. The gamble proved to be the right choice, as Matt Ryan scrambled nine yards to keep the drive alive,to set up the FG. Drew Brees finished the half 11/15, 147 yds passing, and 1 - TD. QB - Taysom Hill was the Saints leading rusher at the break with 30 yards on 1 carry for a score. Jared Cook lead the Saints with 85 yards on 3 grabs. The defense sacked Ryan three times. Both teams headed to the locker rooms with the Saints up, 17-9.
New Orleans received the kick off to start the 2nd half, but needed Thomas Morstead to punt. The Falcons would go three and out as Marcus Davenport got his 2nd sack of the game on third down. Next would be the Alvin Kamara drive, as he had a 6 yard off tackle pop on 1st down. A 7 yard blast on 2nd down. Then three plays later showed speed and strength on a nice 24 yard carry. The drive however would end at the Atlanta 29 yard line as the Falcons defense did a great job of pressuring Drew Brees into two straight incompletions. Wil Lutz added another FG to make the score, 20-9 with 5:54 left in the quarter. Atlanta then committed the first turnover of the game. Saints defensive linman, Shy Tuttle, intercepted a short pass attempted by Ryan. Drew Brees and the offense couldn't take advantage of the turnover, and went three and out, punting the ball back to the Falcons. The 3rd quarter would come to a close, with the Saints still on top, 20-9, with Atlanta driving the football.
Matt Ryan drove the Falcons to mid-field, but two plays later threw his 2nd interception of the 2nd half. Safety, CJ Gardner-Johnson picked off the pass and returned it to the Atlanta 29 yard line. After three plays only netted 5 yards, Lutz would hit from 42 yards out to push the score to 23-9, New Orleans. Three plays into Atlanta's next possession, Matt Ryan turned the ball over for the third time. On 3rd and five, Ryan scrambled for what looked like would be a 1st down. But before he could go down, Marcus Davenport hit him from behind causing the ball to come loose. Vonn Bell recovered the ball, setting up 1st and 10 for New Orleans at the Atlanta 39 yard line. The Saints could only manage another three points from Wil Lutz with 6:27 left to go in the ball game. Atlanta would score nine unanswered points late in the game. But the Saints defense stood tall to finish the contest.
The New Orleans defense again made big plays late in the game for the 2nd week in a row. They recording three turnovers and sacked Matt Ryan nine times. Drew Brees finished the game with 184 yards passing. Alvin Kamara lead the team in rushing with 61 yards on 11 carries. Jared Cook and Michael Thomas each had a solid game. But the true player of the game goes to Saints kicker Wil Lutz. He was perfect. Converting his PATs and going 4/4 on his field goal attempts.
New Orleans, now 10-2, will host the 49ers next Sunday at 12 noon, in a huge game that will go a long way in deciding the NFC Playoff seeding.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Wil Lutz kicked a 33 yard field goal with no time left to lift the Saints to an exciting 34-31 win over the Carolina Panthers. The Saints defense deserve the game ball for this victory. Carolina drove the ball deep into New Orleans territory after the Saints failed on a 4th and inches from their own 45 yard line. With the score tied at 31-31, the Panthers had it 3rd and 3 at the 5 yard line. Kyle Allen threw an incomplete pass. However, Head Coach Ron Rivera tossed out his challenge flag and the officials found that there was pass interference on the play, setting up Carolina 1st and goal at the three. On 1st down the Saints defense stuffed Christian McCaffrey for a one yard loss. Allen then rolled right and threw the ball away on 2nd down as the Saints had solid coverage on the play. On 3rd down, Marcus Davenport sacked Allen at the ten, taking the game to the 2 minute warning. Carolina kicker Joey Slye pushed his 28 yard field goal attempt to the right. The goal line stand probably saved the game for New Orleans. Now Drew Brees and the offense would set up the Saints to win it. Starting the drive at their own 20 yard line with 1:56 left in the contest, Brees lead the Saints 65 yds in 11 plays to the Carolina 15 yard line, where he spiked the ball with 3 seconds on the clock. Lutz hit his kick for the victory. This was the 50th meeting between New Orleans & Carolina, (the series now tied 25-25).
The Saints jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, scoring touchdowns on two of their first three possessions. Latavius Murray finished off the first drive with a 26 yard scoring run, as New Orleans went 75 yards in 7 plays after taking the opening kick off. The Saints then got a turnover as a Thomas Morstead punt hit a Carolina player's leg. J.T. Gray recovered the live ball. From there, Brees ended up hitting Tre'Quan Smith from 13 yards out to extend the lead to 14-0. Carolina responded on a 4 play, 75 yard drive with Kyle Allen throwing a 51 yard touchdown pass to DJ Moore. The PAT was missed and the 1st quarter ended with the Saints holding a 14-6 advantage.
New Orleans extended their lead to 17-6 with a Wil Lutz field goal early in the 2nd quarter. Carolina responded by going 52 yards in 10 plays, kicking a field goal with 8:09 to go in the 1st half. 17-9 New Orleans. The Saints went three and out surrendering possession back to the Panthers. On the last play of the half, Carolina scored with Allen tossing a one yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey. The two point conversion failed as the game went to the half with the Saints on top, 17-15.
Carolina went three and out to start the 3rd quarter. New Orleans then increased their lead, driving 62 yards in 6 plays with as Jared Cook hauled in a 20 yard scoring pass from Brees. Brees finished the game, 30/39, 311 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT. Both teams played well on offense in the 3rd quarter as they traded scores on the next three possessions. Joey Slye added 3 points for the Panthers as he made a field goal from 52 yards out. The Saints then responded with a nice 75 yard touchdown drive with Brees hitting Michael Thomas for the score. The 3rd quarter track meet ended with a 4 yard touchdown plunge by McCaffrey with 1:28 left on the clock, as the Saints took a 31-24 lead into the final period.
The Panthers controlled most of the 4th quarter. After each team traded punts, Drew Brees made his first mistake of the game as he threw into double coverage and was picked off by Tre Boston at mid-field. Carolina took advantage of the turnover, as they tied the game at 31-31. On 4th and goal from the two, Kyle Allen hit DJ Moore for the score.
Michael Thomas had a great day, as he had 101 yards receiving on 10 catches and a touchdown. Jared Cook caught 6 ball for 99 yards and 1 score. The duo of Latavius Murray and Alvin Kamara combined for 118 yards on 18 carries. (Murray, 64 on 7 rushes/ Kamara, 54 on 11 touches)... Drew Brees pulled even with Tom Brady for 2nd in all-time touchdown passes in a career with 531. Both are chasing Peyton Manning who is sitting at the top spot with 539. The Saints are now 9-2 and can clinch the NFC South Division with a win in Atlanta this Thursday on Thanksgiving night.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
The Saints bounced back from last week's embarrassing loss to Atlanta by dominating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium today. Drew Brees was Drew Brees, as he carved up the Tampa defense all day long. Alvin Kamara also had a solid outing, rushing for 75 yds on 13 carries, adding 47 yds receiving on 10 catches. Michael Thomas had a big day with 8 catches for 114 yds and a touchdown. But the most impressive part of the 34-17 victory was the solid performance by the defense, which totally shut down Tampa Bay's running game, only allowing 36 total yds on the ground. They also intercepted Jameis Winston 4 times, returning one for a score, with the last coming with 2:45 left in the game to thwart the Bucs last scoring opportunity. Winston finished the day with 30/51, 313 yds passing, 2 TDs, 4 INTs. He was also the teams leading rusher with 23 yds on 2 carries. Overall, Who Dat Nation have to be very happy with today's performance by their team, as the Saints again showed that they are one of the most solid teams in the NFL.
New Orleans started quickly, with Will Lutz kicking FGs, (44 & 26 yds), on their first two possessions of the game. The Saints scored on the final play of the quarter with Brees hitting Michael Thomas on a 16 yd pass, which was set up my an interception by Damario Davis deep in Buccaneers territory.
In the 2nd qtr, the Saints increased their lead to 20-0, on a 13 play, 51 yd drive, capped off with a 3 yd TD pass from Brees to TE Jared Cook. Tamps Bay finished off the 1st half scoring with a Winston to Peyton Barber TD completion from 6 yds out, after going 75 yds in 7 plays. The teams went to the break with New Orleans holding a 20-7 lead.
To start the second half, the Buccaneers struck first as Tampa Bay kicker, Matt Gay split the uprights on a 55 yd FG, making the score 20-10. The Saints eventually answered on a long 10 play, 85 yd drive, eating 5:41 off the clock, with Drew Brees completing a 6 yd TD pass to Ted Ginn. The PAT by Lutz, put the score at 27-10. Tampa finished out the scoring in the quarter with 75 yd TD drive, as Chris Godwin grabbed a 6 yd pass in the end zone from Winston..
The only score of the final period came on a beautiful 55 yd pick six by Saints safety Marcus Williams. Late in the game Jameis Winston drove the Buccaneers to the Saints goal line. On 3rd & goal at the 1 yd line, Winston attempted a pass into the far side of the end zone. The pass was poorly thrown and intercepted by PJ Williams ending Tampa Bay's final scoring threat and the game. FINAL SCORE: Saints 34, Buccaneers 17
The Saints improve their record to 8-2 on the season and host the Carolina Panthers at 12 noon in the Mercedes Benz Super Dome next weekend. New Orleans will look to extend their 3 game Division lead on Carolina as the Panthers, (5-5), fell to the Atlanta Falcons today, 29-3.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Drew Brees and the (7-2) Saints will attempt to bounce back from an ugly 29-9 loss to the Falcons as they travel to Tampa, FL to rematch the Buccaneers. The last time these two NFC South rivals met back in week 5, New Orleans won 31-24 without Brees. The Bucs couldn't stop Teddy Bridgewater, who passed for 314 yards and 4 touchdowns. Expect a similar type of game this weekend as both teams have high-powered offenses. The (3-6) Bucs look to win consecutive games after an encouraging victory over the Arizona Cardinals last week, which broke a four game losing streak. The Saints look to protect their two game lead in the Division, while hoping not to carry over last week's performance. New Orleans has not loss back to back games since the 2017 season. I see New Orleans winning another close, hard fought game, 24-17...