Welcome everyone to the latest edition of #4Downs where I break down what went right and what went wrong for the New Orleans Saints! This week, I look at the Saints 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
1st Down: Second Half Defensive Performance Best of the Season
There’s second half adjustments and then there’s what the Saints did on Sunday night. After allowing 242 total yards in the first half, the Vikings only had 181 total yards of offense, two-of-five on third down conversions, and most importantly a pick six in the third quarter.
It really showed just how good this Saints defense can be, but it’s going to be an uphill climb if they have the type of first half defense they had next weekend against the Los Angeles Rams.
2nd Down: Great Opening Drive
The Saints have had some strong starts the last couple of weeks, but the opening drive on Sunday may have been of the most entertaining. You had the Saints march down the field and the biggest play didn’t come from Drew Brees, it came from Taysom Hill with a 44-yard bomb to Michael Thomas to the Vikings eight-yard line.
This wasn’t your typical start for New Orleans, but it didn’t matter because they showed exactly how lethal the offense can be against what many thought was a solid defense.
3rd Down: Breakout Game by Rankins
The second-year defensive tackle just keeps getting better and better. He may have only had three total tackles, but the big thing is that he had two sacks last night. The former first-rounder along with Marcus Davenport’s solid game shows that the youth of the defensive line is poised to do big things.
4th Down: Short Field
The big story for the Saints was definitely seeing Drew Brees only throw for 120 yards and a touchdown. This wasn’t a game where Brees has to play hero ball to get this team out of a jam and a lot of that has to go to the defense setting them up with great field position after that fumble and the turnover on downs to start the second half.
Having that short of a field doesn’t happen often for the Saints and those two drives gave them a better than expected average starting position and sometimes that’s all that matters when two very good teams are locking horns.
Extra Point: Battle for Top Seed?
Next weekend was already feeling like a big-time matchup, but after what happened on Sunday night this could very well determine who gets home field advantage throughout the playoffs with New Orleans hosting the undefeated Los Angeles Rams. We’ve seen that you can neutralize the high-powered offense, especially in the first half of the Packers game. If the Saints can attack the offensive line, they could be on their way to winning their seventh straight game.