The Saints (2-2) where back in the dome this week to take on the L.A Chargers (1-3). Drew Brees would be taking on his former team (albeit from 15 years ago), and when he played for the Chargers tonight’s Quarterback opponent Justin Herbert was just 6 years old. Herbert is a Quarterback I have been watching closely since his time at Oregon and I am massive fan, although Tyrod Taylor is still seen as the Chargers number 1 QB… for me Justin is better and if I was them I would start him all day everyday over Tyrod.
The Saints defence would be in for a tough ride tonight so would have to have their concentration hats on, Herbert can pass long and accurate so the Saints secondary would need to be on point, something which they have not been in recent weeks. The Saints went into the game without Michael Thomas, after seemingly recovering from his ankle injury he was due to play but after some fisty cuffs with CJ Gardner Johnson in training he was would miss the game. The Saints offence coped well last week without him but its clear we need him back. On the Saints injury list tonight Justin Hardee (CB), Wide Receiver Deonte Harris and CB Janoris Jenkins.
The Chargers started the game really well with Running Back Justin Jackson finding a big gap in Saints D Line to make up 30 plus yards early on setting up Justin Herbert on the Saints 20 yard line, on the next snap Herbert was then flushed out the pocket and looked to be in trouble before finding Keenan Allen for the first Chargers touchdown of the evening. They would go on to miss the extra point kick. 6-0 Chargers. Justin Herbert would go on to get sacked on the next Chargers drive by Trey Hendrickson (4th sack this season) who I thought had a great game. Will Lutz would go to put the Saints on the board on the next offensive drive with a field goal. (6-3 Chargers). The next time the Chargers offence got the ball back Herbert would go on to find Jalen Guyton (1 Rec, 49 Yards, 0 TD) with a lovely pass deep into the Saints Secondary early into the second quarter, the stand out receiver tonight for the Chargers Mike Williams (Rec 5, 109 Yards 2 TD’s) finished the drive adding another touchdown. Not a good start at all by the Saints. (13-3 Chargers).
Drew Brees would go on to throw a quite shocking interception on the next Saints drive: it really was a poor pass I thought thus gifting the Chargers another attack and putting them right on the goal line with Hunter Henry (Rec 4, Yards 23, 1 TD) finishing the job this time for another Chargers touchdown. (20-3 Chargers). This is reading more like a Chargers review so far I know…but that’s how it went, we had nothing to review just yet… Drew Brees would go on to add a Saints touchdown before the half time break though to make it 20-10 at HT so it was getting better..just. This was an important score just before half time to give us a chance at entering the second half more positively and within 10 not 17 points.
The third quarter was quiet in scoring comparison to the first two with Will Lutz adding the only points from a 40 yard field goal to make it 20-13 to the Chargers and bringing it back to a one score game going into the fourth quarter.
Time to crack open a strong drink…again.
Drew Brees would start the fourth quarter (looking to find a win for only the 2nd time in his career when trailing by 17+ points) with a strong 10 play drive finishing it off with a 41-yard pass to a wide open Jared Cook for the touchdown (Rec 2, 52 Yards, 1TD) to bring the Saints to within one point. Lutz made the extra point to draw the scores level. (20-20). Mike Williams would go onto put the Chargers back in front after a perfectly flighted pass by Herbert (20-34, 264 yards, 4TD’s) to find him wide open for the touchdown. 27-20 Chargers.
The Saints had 3 mins left on the clock to turn it around. Nervous times ahead. With 1 min 53 left in the game Drew would find Kamara (Rec 8, 74 Yards, 0 TDS) who made a fantastic, pressured catch and just stayed inbounds to set the Saints up within striking distance of the end zone. Taysom Hill (3 for 13 yards rushing 1 TD) who had been quiet so far this season considering how good he was last year ran the ball in from 20 yards to level the game up at 27-27 with 50 seconds left. The Chargers would have once last chance to win the game and avoid overtime which they could not manage so the game went into dreaded overtime.
The Saints would go on to convert a 36-yard field goal off their first drive leaving the Chargers needing to score or they would lose the game. The Saints went on to stop them on 4th and 7 with a wrestling esq body takedown from Lattimore to stop the Chargers in their tracks and to take a much-needed win before bye week.
It hard to define the Saints season so far (I am trying to be positive!), some plays we look brilliant sometimes we look awful and so disjointed. Hopefully, the bye week can give players the chance to rest up: get our injured players back and most importantly get Michael Thomas back. Although its been a bit of a disappointing start let’s remember how tough the NFL can be and given the Covid situation it’s not been an ideal start all round, we have just comeback from a 17 point deficit so it isn’t all doom and gloom, I would rather have problems to fix at 3-2 than 2-3 or 0-5 like the Falcons! Add to this the Saints have been playing in an empty dome, I believe this has had an effect too on our start this season. Do we look like Super Bowl contenders at the moment…in my view no, Drew needs to find his best form again, MT needs to hit ground running when he’s back and for rest of season, we need to find new effective ways to use Taysom and other offensive weapons need to continue step up to share the burden on MT’s shoulders: and the Saints secondary need to take a look at themselves and sort it out, then we may have good chance of playing in the showpiece event in February... until all of the above happens it won’t happen. But there is a long way to go so strap yourselves in, this season is far from done. Let’s take what is a vital win and move on to the next quarter of the season.
This week’s game ball is brought to by UK Saints fan and our Geordie/Aussie Hybrid friend Michael Thorpe who really has stopped moaning this year in the whatsapp group. 2020 hey??? Whatever next a Falcons super bowl parade in 2021…ok maybe it’s not been that mad a year. Anyway over to Michael:
“It was a tough choice tonight given two stand out performances from two contenders in Trey Hendrickson and Emanuel Sanders. I am going to give this week’s game ball to Sanders though. Last night he showed why signing him was so important to us, with the absence of Thomas it was up to him to step up and with 12 targets for 122 yards he certainly stepped up to fill that WR 1 role”
Game Ball Winner: Emanuel Sanders
Feel free to comment your choices below or just argue with Michael that’s allowed too.
See you after the bye week catch up on them zz’s.