A quarter of the season is over, and after last week’s dominant showing overseas, a surprising feeling may be growing in the hearts of Saints fans: hope. This Saints season can be easily split into two parts.
The first two games during which the Saints suffered two double-digit defeats. The second of which was a 36-20 blowout at home against the Patriots, a team with an incapable defense. It appeared as though this season would mirror the past three. Saints’ fans nationwide heaved a collective sigh and settled in for their fourth consecutive season below 500. All of the offseason excitement was for nothing. Dennis Allen’s “remade defense” was in shambles. Adrian Peterson, the man who would finally bring some balance to the offense, barely even got to see the ball. Another year of Drew Brees’s incredible career would be wasted.
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The second part of the season began when The Saints beat the previously undefeated Panthers at Bank of America Stadium, their home turf. The Saints offense finally warmed up and successfully completed plays we expected them to make. More importantly, the Saints’ defense smothered the Panthers and carried them to an impressive 34-13 win that was incredibly cathartic. Had the Saints turned a new leaf? Would they be able to sustain this winning streak? If the Dolphins game was any indication, then the elevated play from the defense against the Panthers was not just an anomaly. In their matchup against the Dolphins, the Saints shut down an opposing team for the first time since 2012. The final score read 20-0. Both the Saints’ wins against the Panthers and Dolphins were on the backs of strong defensive performances. Suddenly, everything was falling into place.
This early bye week seems to be coming at the worst time, putting an end to the momentum the Saints have built up. On the other hand, this can be an opportunity to fix the Saints’ most glaring weakness: their running game. With a backfield of Ingram, Kamara, and Peterson, and the fear of Brees stopping defenses from stacking the box, there is no excuse for their inability to run the ball. If the Saints can get their ground game going and keep up their defensive strength , we can get ready to watch the Saints play football in January.
COVER PHOTO: Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports
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