The New Orleans Saints put the perfect bow on Thanksgiving with a 26-18 win over the Atlanta Falcons that could have easily been better.
While they were a touchdown favorite, the New Orleans Saints still had a lot of dangers entering their Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Not only were the Saints playing on short rest but they were playing a tea that shocked them at home just three weeks prior.
It also did not help that the Saints were missing the left side of their offensive line as both Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat were out with injuries. For a team that sacked Drew Brees six times last time around, this was music to their ears.
However, the Falcons were still unable to strike lighting in a bottle twice and fell to the Saints, 26-18. The final score looked a lot closer than the game really was as well, as the Falcons added nine late garbage-time points to nearly get the backdoor cover.
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The defense was the star for the Saints. The Saints’ defense forced three turnovers and every time the Falcons got something going the Saints’ D would make a stop. Perhaps the most pivotal play of the game was Shy Tuttle‘s interception and subsequent stiff arm on Matt Ryan.
The game was 20-9 at that point and the Falcons were putting together a good drive. With Devonta Freeman open in the middle of the field, the Falcons probably would have made this a one-score game at the very least with a field goal.
The Saints only scored a field goal after the interception, keeping the Falcons in the game, behind by 14. The Saints only scoring a field goal in this situation was indicative of what was a struggle on the offensive side of the ball all night.
The Saints’ offense had just 279 yards in this game, granted, they only ran 45 plays comared to the Falcons’ 85. But still, this was a Saints’ offense that went 2-10 in third-down chances and only had two drives that were longer than six plays.
For the most part, the Falcons defense did its job of bending and not breaking. The problem was that the Saints were in great starting field position time and time again because of the defense and special teams unit.
That is great, there is nothing wrong with that, but the offense needs to play better in the coming weeks than it did on Thursday. They do get a pass with it being a Thursday game but this kind of offensive showing will not get the job done against the San Francicso 49ers, who have one of the most smothering defenses in the league.
The Saints need the same high-octane offense that we got out of them last week against the Carolina Panthers. They certainly have it in them, but they also have these duds in them as well.
Brees has looked older and missed some throws in this game, whether it was overshooting a wide-open Jared Cook or miscommunicating with Alvin Kamara on an option route. That part of this is a concern. While Brees is still good enough to win a Super Bowl, the chances of him having a dud game in the playoffs against the right defense is higher than it once was.