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New Orleans Saints defensive success on third down must improve

'We didn't do a lot of good things'

Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. Las Vegas Raiders matchup in Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season.

Demario Davis wasn't in much of a rocket-science-y mode Wednesday morning.

The New Orleans Saints' All-Pro linebacker was all nuts and bolts, meat and potatoes, block and tackle as he reflected on the Saints' 34-24 loss to the Las Vegas on Monday night at Allegiant Stadium.

And the simple fact was, defensively, the Saints didn't do the job, and especially, they didn't do the job on third down.

The Raiders were successful on 10 of 17 third-down attempts – and also converted both fourth-down attempts – as Las Vegas was able to run 76 offensive plays and post a staggering 36:18 in time of possession.

"I think at the end of the day, you've got to be able to find ways to get off the field on third down," Davis said. "When you don't get off the field on third down, they're able to extend drives. So you've just got to find a way to get off the field on third down.

"Give them credit. They did a good job on third down, they were a good third-down offense last year. They did a good job staying in front of the chains and creating a lot of third-and-1, third-and-2 situations. And then when they got in them, they executed better than we did.

"In those situations you've got to find a way to get off (the field), whether it's taking the ball away, sacking the quarterback, getting a pass deflection, stopping the run – whatever the case is, you've just got to find a way to get off the field."

The Saints were more efficient defensively on third down in the opener (5 of 13) against Tampa Bay, but, too, New Orleans has allowed a combined 11 first down via penalty in the two games. Several of them have occurred on third down.

Monday's result made for a hard film session, Davis said.

"We didn't do a lot of good things," he said. "We were average, at best, stopping the run. We didn't do a good job stopping the pass. Didn't get off the field on third down, weren't good in the red zone, didn't create enough takeaways. And then you've got to give the Raiders credit. They did a lot of good things. They did some good things and we weren't able to stop them."

The Saints now are tasked with turning the page, quickly, and preparing for another test on national television, against Green Bay (2-0) on Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

"When you take a loss, you have to learn from it," Davis said. "It's just like winning; when you win, you don't get caught up in the winning, you just prepare and get ready to get better and go forward the next week. The same with losing.

"You have to turn the page and correct the mistakes and get going. I think the biggest thing that good teams do is not let one loss turn into two. And so, the best way to get that sour taste out of your mouth is to get a victory. We've got a good challenge in front of us and we've got to find a way to get that done.

"The only way the taste leaves is by winning, and then you're able to move forward. We've still got things that we have to do to prepare for this opponent. It's a tough challenge coming in and we're going to have to be on top of our game to play well."

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