Welcome everyone to the latest edition of #4Downs where each game is broken down into four key takeaways! This week, it’s the Saints win over the Seattle Seahawks.
1st Down: Controlling Possession
The Saints completely controlled the first half of Sunday’s matchup against Seattle, especially when it came to time of possession. The Saints held it for 21 minutes and 22 seconds and got 13 points out of it. If this were any other Seattle team, the Saints would have been shut out but taking the ball out of the hands of Russell Wilson and wearing down the defense with lengthy drives led to a win.
2nd Down: Nearly Spotless Game
The Saints at this point of the season have had penalties that wound up costing them the game. You can look at the end of the Oakland game to start the year as one such example. This week, the Saints only had two penalties for 10 yards. Meanwhile, the Seahawks were caught all game long with penalties that either killed drives offensively or extended drives for the Saints. It was one of those games where the Saints had control of almost everything.
3rd Down: Ingram In Doghouse
After a fumble from Mark Ingram for the second week in a row led to the Seahawks taking a 7-0 lead, the former Heisman trophy winner was benched in favor of Tim Hightower, who would record 102 yards on one of the best run defenses in the league. It seems like Sean Payton has grown tired of Ingram’s lack of ball control in the last few matchups and needed to switch things up to try and light a spark under this underperforming run game. That may have been the answer and Hightower is continuing to have a resurgence with the black and gold.
4th Down: Defense Pressures Wilson
Russell Wilson has been getting wrecked all season long and may have had a slight reprieve only getting sacked one time, but the Saints definitely affected the passing game. According to Pro Football Focus, when Wilson was under pressure he completed only five of nine for 63 yards. When he was blitzed, the star QB completed four of nine for 31 yards. If the Saints defense can continue to do these things, more wins will happen. It did feel refreshing to see a close to complete performance from a defense that’s been far from complete. Add the fact that Sheldon Rankins may be ready to go based off of a tweet from fellow rookie Michael Thomas, the front seven might be ready to bring the pressure for a sustained period.
— Mike Thomas (@Cantguardmike) October 30, 2016