3 Takeaways from Saints' Week 7 Win

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 26, 2021

3 Takeaways from Saints' Week 7 Win

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    Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    The New Orleans Saints grinded out a 13-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night in one of the ugliest games of the 2021 NFL season. 

    Jameis Winston was unable to move the ball on a consistent basis, but he did enough on three scoring drives to allow the Saints to take the lead. 

    Winston relied on a heavy dose of Alvin Kamara in the passing game to work the ball down the field. Kamara finished with 10 receptions on 11 targets. No other Saints player had more than three receptions. 

    Defensively, the Saints limited Geno Smith and the Seattle offense to nothing outside of an 84-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf in the first quarter. 

    Smith barely had any time in the pocket to pick out Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in the rainy conditions inside Lumen Field.

    Demario Davis led the Saints' high load of pressure with three quarterback hits and two sacks. Cameron Jordan, Malcolm Jenkins and Tapoh Kpassagnon all had a sack each. 

    The victory handed the 4-2 Saints some momentum out of their bye week, but they need to be much better to compete with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 8.

Jameis Winston Relied Too Much on Alvin Kamara

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    Kamara was the New Orleans offense on Monday night. 

    The running back carried the ball on 20 plays for 51 yards and was Winston's most reliable target with his 10 receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. 

    Without Kamara, the Saints would have floundered on the offensive side of the ball and likely would not have scored a touchdown. 

    An argument can be made that the Saints did the right thing by trusting their best player in a game played in poor weather. That strategy worked because New Orleans did not have to put up a ton of points thanks to its defense. 

    Kamara has now carried the ball 20 or more times in four of six games. He has 15 receptions on 19 targets in the last two contests against Seattle and the Washington Football Team.

    Kamara is more than capable of carrying a heavy workload, but Winston needs to find someone else he can trust in the passing game in the case that his running back is shut down by an opponent. 

    That could be the case in Week 8 against Tampa Bay's vaunted rushing defense. If Devin White and Co. take Kamara out of the short passing game as well, Winston will be forced to target Tre'Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway and others to work down the field. 

    Using Kamara at a high rate worked on Monday because Seattle did not offer much on offense, but that strategy will not fly in Week 8 and beyond. 

Saints Front Seven Was Fantastic

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    If you take away Metcalf's 84-yard touchdown catch, the Saints conceded 135 total yards. 

    The low concession can be credited to a tremendous pass rush that did not let Geno Smith sit back in the pocket and a questionable offensive game plan from the Seahawks that relied on heavily on backup running backs. 

    The Saints sacked Smith on five occasions and the pressure did not let up until the final whistle. They drove the Seahawks back inside their own 10-yard-line on their final drive of the game. 

    The sacks from Malcolm Jenkins and Demario Davis were the perfect cap on a defensive performance that was one of the best of the season from New Orleans. 

    Dennis Allen's unit set a new season best in yards allowed. It gave up 219 total yards to Seattle. Its previous best number was 229 yards allowed in the Week 1 win over the Green Bay Packers

    The Saints rushing defense held an opponent beneath 100 yards for the fifth time in six games. Alex Collins, Travis Homer and Rashaad Penny could not anything going in Seattle's ground attack.

    Seattle did not have a rushing play go over 15 yards. The Seahawks had three ground gains over 10 yards and only one came from a running back. Smith and tight end Gerald Everett were responsible for the other two. 

    If New Orleans' offense sputters again in Week 8, its defense needs to turn in another fantastic performance to beat the Bucs. 

    Even if they lose to the Bucs, do not be surprised if the Saints follow the defense-first strategy to a few more victories with the way that unit is playing. 

New Orleans Might Have Found Answer to Kicking Woes

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    New Orleans has had trouble finding a proper replacement for Wil Lutz at kicker. 

    Lutz underwent core muscle surgery to start the season and he has been designated for return from the injured reserve.

    In his absence, the Saints used Aldrick Rosas and Cody Parkey in an attempt to stabilize the kicking game. Rosas went 1-for-4 on field goals and Parkey was 3-for-5 on extra points. 

    Rookie Brian Johnson stepped into the void on Monday and made both of his field-goal attempts, one from 21 yards and the other from 33 yards. 

    Johnson did not make a kick from an overly impressive distance, but he did the job correctly when called upon. That was important enough with Monday being a low-scoring game. 

    Johnson likely will not last the entire season on the New Orleans roster, but he could help the Saints bide time while Lutz works back to 100 percent. 

    After the kicking woes with Rosas and Parkey, you would not have blamed the Saints for rushing back Lutz to have consistency at the position. 

    With Johnson, the Saints can at least feel more comfortable on a week-by-week basis before their top kicker returns. 


    Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.


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