Saints eliminate mistakes, handle Patriots, 28-13

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This was not your father’s New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots matchup.

Yes, Sean Payton and Bill Belichick were on the sidelines coaching their franchises, the two longest tenured coaches in the NFL.

No, Drew Brees and Tom Brady were not on the field running the show.

Instead, it was Jameis Winston and Mac Jones.

Still, it was at New England, a tough place to play.

When you go to New England, you must not beat yourself.

Historically, the Patriots have thrived on turnovers at home, going 108-7 under Belichick when winning the turnover battle.

The Saints won the turnover battle in huge fashion Sunday.

The Saints won the line-of-scrimmage Sunday.

The Saints ran the ball effectively Sunday.

The Saints incurred just two penalties.

Jameis Winston, playing very conservatively, did not make any mistakes.

The defense was stout from start to finish and the offense made enough plays.

The result was a solid 28-13 road win, as an underdog, for New Orleans.

Here are my Quick Takes on the victory:

**Taysom Hill was on the field on the first snap of the game, lined up in the slot left.

**The Saints made one yard and went three-and-out on the first series of the game.

**Tanoh Kpassagnon lined up inside on the first series and got great penetration.

**Deonte Harris got the Saints out of the hold with a 25-yard punt return, an outstanding return, to the New Orleans 31-yard line early in the game.

**Left tackle Terron Armstead went down on the second offensive series of the game for the Saints. Armstead rose and went straight to the locker room, replaced by James Hurst. It was an elbow injury for Armstead.

**New Orleans took a 7-0 lead with 7:35 to play in the opening quarter, driving 69 yards in 11 plays, taking 4:58 off the clock with Winston hitting Alvin Kamara on an 11-yard touchdown pass.

**On the play, linebacker Kyle Van Noy was matched up with Kamara, a bad matchup for New England. Van Noy released Kamara, appearing to expect inside help but got none and Kamara broke wide open. Winston hit him in stride and Kamara scored easily.

**CJ Gardner Johnson sacked Mac Jones on the next series while Demario Davis blew up a screen pass for a loss to force a three-and-out.

**Garrett Griffin was in the game at tight end to block in the first quarter.

**Aldrick Rosas hooked a 52-yard field goal attempt badly late in the first quarter.

**The Saints dominated the first quarter with eight first downs to none for the Patriots and with 121 yards to just 13 for New England but led just 7-0.

**New Orleans had more first downs in the first quarter than it did in the entire game at Carolina the previous week.

**The Patriots made their initial first down of the game on a 6-yard run by James White with 11:34 to play in the first half. On the play, White was hit hard by Demario Davis and was injured.

**Andrew Dowell then blocked a punt by Jay Bailey, giving the Saints the ball at the New England 49-yard line. It was the first punt blocked in his three-year career.

**Unfortunately, the Saints failed to capitalize. Winston was sacked by Matt Judon and the Saints had to try a 36-yard field goal and Rosas missed it wide left.

**The defense then did what the kicker and offense could not, scoring a touchdown.

**Kaden Elliss got great pressure on Jones, hit him as he threw, the ball wobbled in the air and PJ Williams intercepted it and it looked like he would return it for a score but he stumbled, was caught and tackled and fumbled. Elliss, hustling and alert, recovered it but upon replay, Williams was down by contact by Brandon Bolden.

**New Orleans took advantage, needing three plays to go nine yards and on third-and-goal, Winston, getting hit, threw it up and Marquez Callaway went up and out-jumped Jonathan Jones for a 7-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 with 1:44 to play in the half.

**It was the first career touchdown reception for Callaway.

**New England finally got a drive before the half to get on the board, going 48 yards in six plays, taking 1:10 off the clock and Nick Folk knocked through a 45-yard field goal to make it 14-3 at the half.

**For Folk, it was his 34th consecutive made field goal, a franchise record.

**The Saints had 27 plays to just 28 for New England in the half. Kamara had 16 touches for 85 yards in the half. New Orleans had the ball for 19:18 to just 10:42 for the Patriots.

**The second half started brilliantly for the Saints as Jones passed short to Jonnu Smith, who let it go right through his hands, popping right to Malcolm Jenkins, who took the interception to the house, 34 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-3 with 14:51 to play in the third quarter.

**It was the 21st career interception for Jenkins.

**Shy Tuttle went down early in the third quarter, though he jogged off the field and was able to return. The same was true of C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

**The Patriots then staged a long, long drive of 16 plays, covering 72 yards, taking 9:02 off the clock but the Saints held and Folk kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it 21-6 with 1:32 to play in the third quarter. It was the 35th straight made field goal for Folk.

**New England pulled within one score with 9:22 to play in the game, going 44 yards in just three plays after a short punt with Jones hitting Kendrick Bourne on a 22-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-13. On the play, Bourne was tightly covered by Paulson Adebo but went up over him for the catch and snuck in just inside the pylon for the score. It was a great throw and catch.

**Needing a drive, the Saints got it, going 75 yards on 13 plays, taking 6:45 off the clock with Hill rushing for a 5-yard touchdown to make it 28-13 with 2:37 to play in the game. On the drive, the Saints ran it 10 times for 48 yards. Hill rushed four times for 26 yards and a score on the decisive drive.

**Marshon Lattimore then sealed the deal with an interception in the final minute.

The defense forced three turnovers and the offense committed none. Those were the biggest, most important numbers in the game.

The offense was modest, to be certain, with just 252 total yards.

Kamara was very good, rushing 24 times for 89 yards and catching three passes for 29 yards.

Though it didn’t look great at times, Winston was quietly effective, completing 12-of-21 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked three times, holding the ball a long time while trying not to make mistakes. Winston’s quarterback rating of 110.8 is a winner.

Hill was more involved with six rushes for 32 yards and a score.

Interestingly, no tight end caught a pass for New Orleans.

Davis was great, per usual, with eight tackles, including two for loss and had two passes broken up.

Playing with a surgically repaired broken thumb, Lattimore was superb, with a team-leading 10 tackles, a pass defended and the interception.

Another factor that was very pleasing is that New Orleans was penalized just two times for 15 yards.

The Saints finally return home for the first in a month, since departing prior to Hurricane Ida for Dallas. They do so at 2-1.

The numbers are clear.

Since 1990, teams that are 2-1 have reached the playoffs 54 percent of the time.

In the same time frame, teams that are 1-2 make the playoffs just 25 percent of the time.

The Saints return home to face an inferior New York Giants squad next Sunday at noon and will do so as a heavy favorite and before a raucous, hungry home crowd which will fill Caesars Superdome for the first time in two seasons.

Will the Saints get Wil Lutz back next week? They certainly need him.

Will Erik McCoy return next week?

How bad is the elbow injury to Terron Armstead?

The questions remain but the Saints had plenty enough answers Sunday in Foxboro to pass the latest test with flying colors.

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Ken Trahan


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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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