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C.J. Gardner-Johnson set tone early for New Orleans Saints in victory over Patriots | Week 3 Turning Point of the Game

Third-year defensive back had a sack, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hit against New England

The New Orleans Saints head East to take on the New England Patriots in Week 3 on September 26, 2021.

We learned early on Sunday, Sept. 26 what kind of game it would be for the New Orleans Saints defense.

That unit set the tone for New Orleans in its 28-13 victory over New England at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., and it carried that tone throughout as it limited New England to 300 yards, 7 of 19 on third down, intercepted three passes, defended eight passes, hit Patriots quarterback Mac Jones 11 times and sacked Jones twice.

So if there was a pivotal point for the Saints – especially, for its dominant defense – it very likely was provided midway through the first quarter. And with 7:35 left, and New England lined up for its fourth offensive play while trailing 7-0, defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson supplied the juice.

Gardner-Johnson, back after missing the second game of the season due to an injury, lined up on the left side with New England facing first-and-10 from its 25-yard line. On the snap, he came on the rush and at the point of attack, was met by running back Damien Harris.

Advantage, CJGJ.

He barreled through the would-be impediment, and wrapped up Jones for a 5-yard loss. From there, the defense forced its second consecutive three-and-out and though New Orleans didn't take advantage on the ensuing possession – a missed 52-yard field-goal attempt kept the advantage at 7-0 – the sack signaled the beginning of the harassment of Jones, who rarely was allowed to find a comfort zone or rhythm.

CJGJ finished with five tackles, two tackles for loss, a pass defensed, a quarterback hit and his sack in one of his most complete games as a Saint.

The New Orleans Saints head East to take on the New England Patriots in Week 3 on September 26, 2021.

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