The names of the New Orleans Saints players who couldn't finish out Sunday's 27-13 victory over San Francisco in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was notable – quarterback Drew Brees (ribs), cornerback Marshon Lattimore (oblique) and receiver Tre'Quan Smith (concussion) all contributed to, but weren't able to complete, the Saints' sixth straight victory.
Assessment of those injuries will occur this week. Sunday, others needed to step up and help cover their losses. And several players did just that for the Saints (7-2).
OFFENSE: I'm not sure how many more ways we can explain Alvin Kamara's value to the Saints' offense. But if he's not the top candidate for NFL Offensive Player of the Year – actually, he should be under serious consideration for Most Valuable Player – then voters are looking at the wrong things. Ninety-eight yards on 15 touches might not appear to be much, but Kamara scored touchdowns on three of those touches and offensively, the Saints totaled just 56 plays. The offense was a little sketchy and New Orleans' defense and special teams did more than their share to keep the team within striking distance and to put it in scoring position. But putting the ball in Kamara's hands is the most reassuring thing the Saints can do on offense this season, and he continues to impress.
DEFENSE: It would've been understandable if San Francisco believed it saw four Demario Davises and three C.J. Gardner-Johnsons. The linebacker and defensive back seemed to be everywhere at once, as New Orleans shut down its second consecutive opponent. Davis had 12 tackles (his high as a Saint), three tackles for loss, a sack, a pass defensed and two quarterback hits. On his sack, he plowed through a running back to get to quarterback Nick Mullens. And Gardner-Johnson was just as active – eight tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss, a pass defensed and three quarterback hits. Watching the two create mayhem and wreck plays was one of the most satisfying parts of the game for the Saints' defense, which recovered nicely from giving up a touchdown on the game's opening drive.
SPECIAL TEAMS: In a postgame interview, rookie receiver Marquez Callaway said he'd never been the gunner on punt team coverage before the NFL. Callaway likely only has been a standout returner. But Sunday, he was as fortunate/good as any gunner probably has been in a single game, recovering two muffed punts that led to two short touchdown drives for the Saints. His recovery in the second quarter led to New Orleans' first touchdown drive to tie the score at 10-10, and his recovery in the fourth quarter led to the Saints' final touchdown, and a 27-10 lead. When Callaway has been on the field this season, good things seem to happen.
Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers matchup in Week 10 of the 2020 NFL season.