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Alvin Kamara requests, then supplies swagger for New Orleans Saints in victory over Raiders

Kamara scored first three touchdowns of season, defense pitches shutout


Running back Alvin Kamara said that the New Orleans Saints hadn't been playing with the requisite amount of swagger.

That wasn't a problem Sunday, when New Orleans hammered the Raiders 24-0 in the Caesars Superdome to end its two-game losing streak. The Saints (3-5) gave themselves a reason to swag out against Las Vegas, and several players led the way in the definitive victory.

OFFENSE: Kamara has been on a roll. In his previous three games before Sunday, he'd totaled 423 yards on 72 touches but Sunday, he raised the level higher. Against the Raiders, Kamara scored his first three touchdowns of the season – a 3-yard run, and 16- and 36-yard receptions – and rolled up 158 yards on 27 touches (62 rushing yards on 18 carries, 96 receiving yards on nine catches). His value to the Saints' offense – especially one that has been missing receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry – is monumental, and he continued to show that he can carry a heavy workload when called upon to do so. His nose for the goal line might be unmatched since he entered the NFL in 2017.

DEFENSE: All of 'em. Because when a defense pitches a shutout, it's the result of the collective group, even though individual standouts were all over the place. Pete Werner's 11 tackles and pass defended, which led to Tyrann Mathieu's interception, were a huge contributing factor. Four sacks – two by Payton Turner, one by David Onyemata and a half-sack by Cam Jordan and Kentavius Street – were major. Three passes defended by rookie Alontae Taylor, in his second start, were almost half of New Orleans' eight and provided more evidence that Taylor can be a force at cornerback. But as impressive as each was individually, the group painted the picture, and the final rendering was that the group kept the Raiders off the scoreboard and allowed just 183 yards. That's impressive.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Another collective effort, especially by the coverage teams. The Raiders returned one punt for three yards and two kickoffs for 42. The Saints gave no ground in the return game, and that was valuable because they didn't allow the Raiders to start drives with advantageous field position. It's something that goes unnoticed unless an opponent pops a long one, and it shifts momentum. That didn't happen because New Orleans didn't allow it, because Zack Baun, Chase Hansen, Daniel Sorenson, J.T. Gray and Kevin White combined to make the stops on special teams to prevent it.

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New Orleans Saints players in action during their 2022 Week 8 game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

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