Denver – The New Orleans Saints (9-2) were pros against Denver on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High.
They weren't distracted by Denver's misfortune (no quarterbacks available due to Covid-19), weren't bothered by their own absences (left tackle Terron Armstead and left guard Andrus Peat were out) and were able to laser in on what was necessary to be done.
The result was a 31-3 victory, and several standout performances.
OFFENSE: On any given Sunday, running back Latavius Murray can make a defense wish it was doing a handful of things other than attempting to bring his 230 pounds to the ground. The Broncos got a taste of it. Murray pounded and chipped away at Denver's defense until, late in the game, Denver appeared to want no more. And when the Broncos were bruised and worn, he hit them with a 36-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and an 8-yard score in the fourth – on the latter, he almost jogged in the final 4 yards – to highlight a 19-carry, 124-yard day. But, too, reserve some love for the Saints' offensive line; a team doesn't run for 229 yards and four touchdowns on 44 bruising carries without a line that's paving the way and imposing its will. New Orleans hammered away until Denver's run defense cracked, and that's attributable to the runners and blockers.
DEFENSE: Every week, safety Malcolm Jenkins gets a little more comfortable in his role defensively, and it shows. Sunday's major contribution was in the second quarter. True, the shotgun snap to running back Phillip Lindsay was errant and, true, Lindsay was doing his best to gather it in on the third-and-1 play. But Jenkins came screaming in off the right edge to blast Lindsay before he could get a good grip on the ball, and when it came loose, linebacker Kwon Alexander scooped it and ran 20 yards to the Denver 13 before he was tackled. It led to a touchdown and a 14-0 lead for the Saints. Jenkins wasn't credited with a forced fumble on the play, but he did post five tackles and a tackle for loss in the win.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Sunday wasn't a day for the towering, picturesque punts that we've grown accustomed to seeing from Thomas Morstead. It just was a day for effectiveness. Six punts, none returned, for a net average of 45.7 yards and one inside the 20. It wasn't Morstead's best work, but it was a good enough submission for the circumstances presented and good enough to help New Orleans win.
Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. Denver Broncos matchup in Week 12 of the 2020 NFL season.