Saints play sound, error-free game to handle Jets

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The streak is over.

The New Orleans Saints had lost five straight games for the first time since Sean Payton arrived in New Orleans in 2006.

The Saints were sporting the longest active losing streak in the NFL entering Sunday’s game in New Jersey against the New York Jets.

Against a bad team, the Saints showed they were not a bad team, were motivated and were not done.

The defense was very good, not allowing a touchdown.

The offense was efficient, running the ball well and making enough plays in the passing game and committed no turnovers. That will always bode well on the road.

The kicking game was solid, featuring the great coverage of J.T. Gray, the outstanding punting of Blake Gillikin and the solid place-kicking of Brett Maher.

Most of all, it was great having Alvin Kamara back.

After missing four weeks, the team’s best player showed just how valuable he is, accounting 145 yards and a touchdown, including 120 rushing on 27 carries and 25 yards receiving on four receptions.

Kamara posted his second 100-yard rushing game of the season and the fifth of his career. New Orleans rushed for 203 yards and you are not going to lose in the NFL when that occurs.

Simply put, the Saints stepped down in class and handled the lesser opponent.

Here are my Quick Takes from the 30-9 win for the Saints over the Jets:

**C.J. Gardner-Johnson was activated from injured reserve and the Saints elevated guard James Carpenter, linebacker Chase Hansen, wide receivers Kevin White and Easop Winston and tight end Ethan Wolf from the practice squad.

**Cameron Jordan, Mark Ingram and Ty Montgomery all missed the game due to testing positive for COVID-19.

**New Orleans kicked off, forced a 3-and-out and drove 65 yards in 14 plays, taking 7:21 off the clock with Maher kicking a 23-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 6:37 to play in the opening quarter. Taysom Hill was 3-for-3 for 26 yards and he rushed four times for 20 yards on the drive.

**Hill was keeping the injured middle finger on his throwing hand in a hand warmer while not in the game.

**With Deonte Harris suspended, Winston returned punts for New Orleans.

**It was as bit of a milestone for the Saints, who had not scored a point in the first quarter in their previous five games.

**Hill tried to throw a screen pass on the first play of the second quarter and he lost the grip on it and fumbled, losing 21 yards.

**The Jets got good field position, as a result, and drove 38 yards in nine plays, taking 3:07 off the clock with Eddy Pineiro booting a 36-yard field goal to tie the game 3-3 with 10:01 to play in the half.

**New Orleans recaptured the lead, driving 54 yards in six plays, taking 3:06 off the clock with Kamara breaking free on a 17-yard touchdown run to make it 10-3 with 3:42 to play in the half. Kamara accounted for 48 of the 54 yards on the drive.

**The Jets pulled closer, cutting the deficit to 10-6 at halftime on a 46-yard field goal by Pineiro on the final play of the half, capping a 10 play, 47-yard drive.

**The New Orleans defense forced four New York possessions which went 3-and-out in the first half.

**Kamara accounted for 95 of the 129 total yards for the Saints in the half. The Saints had the ball for 18:34 to just 11:26 for the Jets.

**New Orleans then drove 80 yards in 15 plays, taking 8:57 off the clock with Maher kicking a 31-yard field goal to increase the lead to 13-6 with 58 seconds to play in the third quarter. Hill was 6-of 7 for 65 yards on the drive.

**The Saints went up 16-6 with 12:22 to play in the game on a 37-yard field goal by Maher after a 31-yard drive in seven plays. It was set up by a 21-yard completion from Hill to Tre’Quan Smith.

**The Saints put the game away with a 51-yard drive in eight plays with Hill scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 23-6 with 5:28 to play in the game. On the play, fullback Adam Prentice and tight end Garrett Griffin had nice blocks.

**The big play of the drive was a 26-yard completion to Marquez Callaway, who broke two tackles to get to the 2-yard line.

**The Jets finally got on the board in the second half with a 36-yard field goal by Pineiro with 3:29 to play in the game to make it 23-9, completing a 53-yard drive in 10 plays.

**The Jets have now allowed 11 of 13 opponents to rush for at least 100 yards.

**Hill then put the cherry on top of the whipped cream with a 44-yard run on a straight sweep to the left side to make it 30-9 with 1:07 to play in the game. It was the longest run of Hill’s career. That capped a three play, 42-yard drive.

**The Jets have now allowed 30 points or more in six of their last eight games.

Playing with the damaged finger, Hill played a winning football game.

Hill completed 15-of-21 passes (71.4 percent) for 175 yards and he rushed 11 times for 73 yards and two scores. The two rushing touchdowns tied Hill’s career high.

While he was not flashy, Hill managed the game well, was accurate, made enough plays with his legs and did not turn the ball over. Against a team with a poor offense in New York, that was the proper tonic for a victory.

The Saints dominated time of possession at 38:52 to just 21:08 for the Jets. The Saints were only penalized four times, though one went for 31 yards for pass interference against Paulson Adebo.

At 6-7, the Saints are back in the playoff chase.

Now comes a huge step up in class as New Orleans heads to Tampa Bay for a rematch with the current Super Bowl champion next week. The Saints whipped the Bucs 36-27 in New Orleans on Halloween but that is when Jameis Winston was injured. That, along with a bundle of other injuries, sent New Orleans on a downward spiral and the 5-game losing streak.

Can the Saints, who beat the Bucs with Trevor Siemian playing much of the way in New Orleans, beat the Bucs at Tampa with Hill at quarterback? Will Jordan, Ingram, Montgomery and, hopefully, Ryan Ramczyk return?

The Saints will certainly need all hands (and legs) on deck if they want to beat the Bucs for a fourth time in five tries with Tom Brady at quarterback.

By running the ball well, taking care of the ball, playing solid defense and having a sound kicking game, the Saints would have a chance. Now, it is time to replicate that formula.

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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 NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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