Saints by the Numbers: Defense comes up big again

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On a day when Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t on point and Alvin Kamara clearly appeared to be less than 100 percent, the Saints’ defense stepped up in a big way in their 13-6 victory at Jacksonville.

New Orleans allowed just 226 total yards and held the Jaguars to two field goals.

It was the third straight game Dennis Allen’s defense has held its opponent to less than 260 total yards, after allowing 257 yards to the Cowboys and 252 to the Buccaneers the last two weeks.

The Saints’ last streak of three or more regular-season games allowing less than 260 total yards – go all the way back to the Dome Patrol era, when New Orleans ran off five consecutive such games from Oct. 4-Nov. 8, 1992 – all victories. In fact, in four of those games, Steve Sidwell’s defense held the opposition below 200 yards.

The longest streak in franchise history occurred one year earlier, when the Saints defense ran off a streak of six straight games allowing 260 yards or less from Sept. 15-Oct. 27, 1991.

Going back to 2008, the Saints have won 20 of their last 21 games when holding the opposition to 300 yards or less.

Low-Scoring: The 19 total points marked the lowest-scoring game of the Sean Payton era. The previous low for combined points was 20 – a 20-0 shutout of Miami two years ago in London.

The 6-6 score after three quarters was the lowest for a Saints game since a 2010 home game against Pittsburgh, which was 6-3 going into the fourth quarter before the Saints won 20-10.

Slow Starting: For the fourth time in six games this season, the Saints failed to score a first-half touchdown. Going back to the end of 2018, New Orleans has failed to score a first-half TD in eight of its last 11 games.

Sunday was the eighth time since the start of 2017 the Saints have been held to three points or fewer in the first half. Interestingly, New Orleans is 4-3 in those games, including a Week 1 victory this year over the Texans.

From 2011-16, the Saints were 0-9 when getting three first-half points or fewer.

But If They Start Slow: Going back to the Jim Haslett days and the start of the 2000 season, Sunday marked the 35th time the Saints have held their opponent to three points or less in the first half.

New Orleans is 33-2 in those games, losing only in 2009 at home to Tampa Bay and in 2014 at Detroit.

Still Can’t Guard Mike (This Week’s Edition): Michael Thomas got things going late on Sunday to finish with eight receptions for 89 yards.

Thomas has 53 receptions for 632 yards through the first six games of the season, becoming just the sixth player in NFL history with at least 50 catches for 600 yards after six games.

The others to reach that threshold early in the season: Marvin Harrison of the Colts in 2002, Wes Welker of the Patriots in 2011, DeAndre Hopkins of the Texans and Keenan Allen of the Chargers in 2015, and the Vikings’ Adam Thielen last season.

Of those five, only Thielen had more than Thomas’ totals for catches and yards. The others had lower totals in one or both categories.

Thomas is on pace to break his own Saints single-season records for receptions and receiving yards, both set a year ago.

Double Sack Day: Cam Jordan was credited with both sacks of Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew on Sunday, giving him five sacks on the season.

Since the start of the 2017 season, Jordan has had nine games of at least 2.0 sacks, tied with Aaron Donald for the most in the NFL in that span.

Research assistance provided by the website database Pro Football Reference.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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