The Saints (1-2) travelled to Detroit this week (1-2) to take on the Lions in a must win game to get their season back on track after a couple of tough loses against the Raiders and Packers in recent weeks. The Lions were coming into the game off the back of an impressive 26-23 win against the Arizona Cardinals so they would be no push overs. The Saints were coming into the game off the back of a close loss to Green Bay and with a long list of injuries with Peat (G/T), Thomas (WR), Cook (TE), Jenkins (CB), Davenport (DE), Lattimore (CB) and Hansen (LB) all unavailable. The Saints players and staff also had to endure a night wondering whether the game would actually go ahead when Saints Full Back Michael Burton initially tested positive for Covid-19, I don’t wish illness on anyone but it would have been a handy game postponement given our injury list, thankfully (Cough) it was not to be and the game would go ahead after the initial test was found to be a false positive.
Ok.. so we are going to gloss over the first four minutes of the game and review it very quickly…the Lions scored off their first offensive drive then when it was the Saints turn on offence Drew Brees threw an interception with his first pass of the game to give the Lions the ball back, they then went onto score again. 14-0 Lions. Moving on…to the drink’s cabinet …early.
The Saints have clearly missed Michael Thomas since his injury, and it was clear after last week that other receivers needed to step up to fill the void and the Saints needed to run the ball more. With Drews long passing game seemingly becoming weaker its vital the Saints utilised all different aspects of offence at their disposal, and stop doing that Taysom Hill run play!. After a poor and quite frankly worrying start to the game the Saints started to fight back, they started with a 13 play 75-yard drive with Latavius Murray scoring the Saints first touchdown of the night. (14-7 Lions). Cam Jordon who had not been his usual self recently racked up his first sack of the season to give the Saints defence a much-needed confidence boost. The Lions offence which started so well completely vanished, the Saints defence had woken up and were doing a great job shutting out Stafford and his offence. Meanwhile the Saints offence were starting to re gain their swagger and were using the run game well, Brees would find Kamara on 4th and 4 early in the second quarter to set the Saints up for a touchdown attempt and a chance to draw level, Kamara was on hand again to run the ball in from 8 yards. (14-14)
The Lions were on offence again and after quite magnificent catch by Jesse James in tight coverage the Saints gave away a pass interference penalty to set Stafford up in the red zone, the subsequent pass into the end zone was picked off by Patrick Robinson to turn the ball back over to the Saints, this really swung momentum our way and gave us a new found confidence right across the team. The Saints would then go on to have an offensive field day, Brees (19/25 246 yards 2 TD 1 INT) was looking back to his best with Kamara and Murray complimenting his passing with a strong run game. Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith also added to a great offensive display by adding 147 receiving yards between them with Kamara also racking up 3 receptions for 36 yards. Special mention to Tre’Quan Smith (4/54 yards 2 TD’s) who stepped up in Michael Thomas’s absence to score two touchdowns on the night. With 3 minutes left in the second quarter and the scores tied at 14-14 Smith would finish off a 9 play 80-yard drive to put the Saints up 21-14, this would quickly become 28-14 just before half time with Smith adding his second TD of the night.
The Saints began the third quarter fumbling the ball then luckily recovering it again to set up another scoring drive, Latavius Murray (14 ATT/ 64 Yards 2 TD’s) with his second TD of the night. 35-14 Saints. Lions Tight end T.J Hockenson would make it 34-21 just before the end of the third quarter with an easy catch in the endzone. The Lions would go onto to convert two fourth downs in the fourth quarter leading to another touchdown and a two point conversion to bring the game to within one score (35-29) but they could not do enough to re gain the possession they needed to try and tie the game with the Saints taking a much needed win on the road. Given the poor start to the game and the fact the Saints players and staff had been up most of the night providing Covid Tests and unsure whether the game would even go ahead it was a very good night all round, it was not by any means an easy night on the Saints fans blood pressure early on but we got what we needed. The defence were a lot better and the offence looked dangerous on every attack and fought back brilliantly after going 14-0 down in first 5 minutes. We had a game plan, stuck to it and executed it well, the run game worked and played a massive part in this win. The Saints moved on to 2-2 for the season and continue chasing down current NFC South leaders the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1).
The Saints take on the LA Chargers next week and will be looking to go on a much-needed winning streak.
In a new feature I will be awarding a UK Saints Game Ball each week to my MVP of the game: this week I am giving it to Drew (Tre'Quan Smith was very close second) just for his composure in a tough game and for steadying the ship after going behind early, given the criticism he has endured on some Saints fan pages this week he replied in perfect fashion and was back to the Drew we know and love.
Until next time