After some early offensive struggles on Sunday afternoon, the Saints offense came alive in the second half and were able to hang on for a 38-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans that saw yet another record broken by a Saint.
How It Happened:
After both teams fizzled on offense on their respective opening drives, Ryan Tannehill connected with a wide-open Jonnu Smith for a 41-yard touchdown to take an early lead. It didn’t get much better for the Saints after a three-and-out on offense. Only three plays later, the Titans went up 14-0 when Tannehill found AJ Brown on a 49-yard touchdown pass.
The Saints offense finally put things together on the following drive, going on a methodical 13-play drive that ate up a little more than six minutes off the clock. However, a sack by Jurrell Casey on a third-and-eight forced a 47-yard field goal from Wil Lutz to make it 14-3 with 13:41 left in the second quarter.
After that field goal, both teams struggled to find the endzone until late in the second quarter when Brees connected with Jared Cook on a 61-yard touchdown pass thanks to a great block by Alvin Kamara. That touchdown from the former Titan made it a 14-10 ballgame before both teams headed into the locker room at halftime.
The Saints took control of the ballgame from the beginning of the second half with a two-play drive that saw Alvin Kamara record his first touchdown since the week three win over the Seattle Seahawks with a 40-yard run to take a 17-14 lead. After Tennessee was forced to punt, Brees and crew marched down the field with a nine-play drive with a one-yard touchdown from Kamara sealing the deal, making it a ten-point ballgame.
The Titans fought back on the next drive with another deep ball from Tannehill, this time to Tajae Sharpe from 36 yards out to make it a three-point ballgame. It only took five plays though for the Saints to make it a double-digit ballgame with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cook.
Tannehill found Sharpe once again early in the fourth quarter with a short pass, making it 31-28. It looked like the Titans were going to close things out after a failed fake punt attempt by New Orleans set them up with solid field position. However, a fumble by Kalif Raymond turned the momentum back to the Saints.
The next drive saw history made with Michael Thomas passing Marvin Harrison with the most receptions in a single season when Brees found him on a 14-yard pass that was initially ruled a touchdown but was reversed after it was reviewed. Two plays later, Brees found Thomas yet again with a two-yard pass in the endzone and that sealed the deal for the Saints as they improved to 12-3 on the season.
Big Number: 145
The former Ohio State Buckeye passed Marvin Harrison for the single-season receptions record with 145 receptions on the season. He’s still got one more game in the regular season to further the gap and possibly eclipse 150 receptions on the season.
Player of the Game: Alvin Kamara
After being relatively quiet the last few weeks, the former Tennessee Volunteer went off with two touchdowns and 80 yards off of 11 carries. The spark for his outburst on the field may have been that huge block that resulted in Jared Cook finding the endzone late in the first half. Credit to the third-year player for finding that spark just before the postseason.
Next Up: Sunday vs Carolina; Kickoff at 12 pm