Saints Report: Saints win blowout over Packers in season opener
It’s hard to imagine Jameis Winston playing any better as the first New Orleans Saints quarterback to start a season opener other than future Hall of Famer Drew Brees since 2005 in their 38-3 demolition of the Green Bay Packers.
Running back Alvin Kamara said, “I feel like it’s always doubt with us. Every year it’s like the Saints can’t do this because something, or Drew is gone – I’m the wrong person to ask because I don’t care. We’ve still got work to do. We come in every camp and do what we’ve got to do, put in work. We come in every season and our goals are the highest goals.”
Any hesitation about calling the Saints a Super Bowl contender was put to rest on Sunday in a 35-point thrashing over one of the last four teams standing last season. Head Coach Sean Payton said, “It’s hard to go into a game and say hey, this is the outcome that we’re expecting. You just want to go in and put yourself in a position to win and do the things necessary and really not do the things that keep you from winning, so I was encouraged with that.”
Six years later, Jameis Winston looked every bit the part of a former first overall selection, going 14-20 with 148 yards and five touchdowns, the lowest yardage total in a five TD game in NFL history. Yet, he says his best play was an incompletion. “Drew always preached, it’s about the decision, not the result. Sometimes the decision is throwing the ball away. Sometimes the decision is run and tuck it. Sometimes the decision may be taking a sack, so the more that we keep making the right decision, it’ll take care of itself.”
Perhaps most importantly, Winston didn’t turn the ball over once, having shown a propensity to do so in Tampa as the only QB in league history to throw for both 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season. “You see what he did early in his career when he threw for however many yards and touchdowns. You don’t do that on accident in this league. So Jameis is a pro quarterback. And I mean I’m impressed I guess, but that’s what I expect from him. Even if you ask him, he’d feel like he could still get better. So that’s what I love about him.”
All the while out-dueling reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers, who has won the award three times, the same number of points scored by the Packers and the same number of turnovers forced by the Saints defense. “Those guys on the back end played exceptionally well. I thought we rushed them, contained the rush. We got some turnovers, and we did it against one of the better quarterbacks this league has seen in a long time.”
The Saints also won time of possession by more than nine minutes and held Green Bay to just 10 percent on third down conversions.
The game never feeling like it was in jeopardy. “It was a great team effort. We had some people stand out, but our defense, when you hold Aaron Rodgers 1-10 on third down, that’s just incredible.”
Almost as incredible as the strength shown by the City of New Orleans in the days and weeks following Hurricane Ida.
The category four storm relocated what should have been the Saints home opener all the way to Jacksonville and they were certainly feeling the game day love from Who Dat Nation. “That was for the city, so shoutout to the city of New Orleans. We did that for them. We knew how much it would mean to get a great victory for that region. They’ve been through so much, and for us to be able to celebrate this victory with them, it’s just hats off to them for their resilience because they motivated us. They inspired us to come out there and ball.”
The Saints get their first taste of NFC South action in week two with a road game against the Carolina Panthers at noon Sunday.