Saints defense proved they have what it takes to beat the Chiefs, and anyone else
The New Orleans Saints defense left everything on the field in their 15th week against the Kansas City Chiefs, playing as strong a game as could be asked of them against Patrick Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Mahomes never made a single pass attempt 20 yards or more behind the field, and his offense was triggered six times - the first in 2020 and only the third time since Mahomes was named starting quarterback. And it didn't go unnoticed. The Saints trainer Sean Payton called her, recognizing the efforts of C. J. Gardner-Johnson, Marcus Williams, Marshon Lattimore and their teammates.
“I was proud of the way we competed. I thought we were flying around, "said Payton after the game. “I thought we played our hearts out. It wasn't good enough, of course, but I'm proud of the effort. "
The defense came home without a flash, sacking Mahomes four times, putting him on 24 of his 54 dropbacks (44% per Pro Football Focus). He linked only 26 of his 47 pass attempts with his second lowest completion percentage (55.3%) of the season. It was again as great an accomplishment as could be asked of the Saints' defense against a crime by the NFL's top quarterback and a reception corps with the likes of Travis Kelce (8 catches for 68 yards) and Tyreek Hill (6 catches) was quoted for 53 meters).
But the Chiefs still got 32 points. Mahomes put on his Superman cloak and made some spectacular throws, countering the pressure and hitting his receivers in the smallest imaginable window - a game that stands out is his touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman as he threaded the ball between several defenders Hit Hardman at knee level in the far corner of the end zone.
That will happen, frustrating as it is. It's just too difficult to play consistently good defense in the modern NFL. But the shortcomings of the Saints on the offensive put them in default from the start. Drew Brees was unable to complete any of his first six passes, including a crucial early game interception.
Perhaps they could have overcome it if Michael Thomas had aimed targets at the recipient rather than a group of calls from exercise groups. But this game made it clear that, for once, the Saints will go as far as the offense (not the defense) requires.
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