Saints Report: New Orleans improves to 2-1 with win against New England
The New Orleans Saints 28-13 week three win against the Patriots looked a lot more like their week one performance than it did week two and that’s certainly a good thing heading into week four.
Head Coach Sean Payton said, “Just being in this league long enough, that sometimes that formula has to change. We felt like going in that we wanted to effectively run the football.”
Alvin Kamara’s only touchdown of the day came through the air, but he made his living as a workhorse running back, turning a career high 24 carries into 89 yards, just one week after his lowest yardage total since 2017.
Overall, the Saints outgained the Pats by 93 yards on the ground. Kamara said, “Yeah, I mean Sean said it early in the week, he wanted to win the running battle. He didn’t care. He wanted to protect the ball and win the rushing battle, so I think we came out and went run heavy and I think it stuck throughout the game.”
After a career low passer rating in week two, Jameis Winston also had a bounce back game at quarterback, going 13-21 for 128 yards and two touchdowns with no picks.
His rookie counterpart Mac Jones threw three interceptions leading to a pair of Saints touchdowns including a Malcom Jenkins pick-six. New Orleans won the turnover battle 3-0. Winston said, “Yeah, well we just knew that we had to protect the football, and we were going to come out winning this game. I think we ran the ball really well. I think our defense played really well, and we protected the football, and that’s the formula to winning games in the NFL.”
“When you’re 108-7 at home when you win the turnover battle, that’s significant. Obviously, that’s a testament to their program, and so we just had to be – we’re mindful of it every week, but it had to be something that was etched into our heads every day.”
New England is now 0-2 at home for the first time since 2000, Bill Belichick’s first season as head coach, thanks in large part to a Saints defense that’s proving to be the team’s best unit.
In addition to the three picks, they punished Jones with three sacks and hit him 11 times.
Through the first three weeks of the season, New Orleans is top four in the league in points and rush yards allowed. Malcolm Jenkins said, “We’re the strength of our team, and we’re going to have to play big in order for our team to have success. And that’s just the identity and the formula that seems to be working for us. When we play stingy on defense, we take the ball away, we give our offense opportunities, and then when we get our special teams contributing as well like they have, we’re going to be hard to beat. And we think the heart of our team is going to be on our defense.”
Going forward, consistency will be key for this fire and ice Saints team that’s yet to play a one-possession game, but in two out of the first three weeks that’s been a good thing. “I think the best thing is, it’s so challenging to win in this league, so any way that you do it, you do it to the best of your abilities. Obviously, I know I’ve got to get better at the quarterback position, and I’m going to continue to do that. But I’m happy that we got this win.”
The last team in the league to play a home game, the Saints finally return to the Superdome for a week four clash against the New York Giants. Kick off is set for noon on Sunday.