The New Orleans Saints return home to take on the New York Giants in Week 4 on October 3, 2021 at the Caesars Superdome.
The New Orleans Saints didn't close the door. The New York Giants smashed through it.
The result, a comeback 27-21 overtime victory by the Giants on Sunday in the Caesars Superdome – the Saints' first full-crowd home game since the end of the 2019 season – was a deflating result that evened New Orleans' record at 2-2 heading into next Sunday's road game against Washington.
The complementary football that had marked the Saints' first two victories dissipated over the course of four quarters against the Giants; defensive stops ceased and the offensive roll that was found became lost. The first one-score final of the season for New Orleans presented a stark reminder on the perils of not finishing strong.
OFFENSE: The Saints only scored 21 points against New York, and that doesn't seem like much. It wasn't enough to win. But there are a couple of things worth remembering. First, three touchdowns in three red zone trips has New Orleans 10 of 11 in the red zone this season, a remarkable sign of efficiency. Second, the 405-yard output on offense was the team's best this season, and included the chunk-play element that mainly hadn't been necessary, but had been somewhat elusive. And third, a 46-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to Kenny Stills in the third quarter might have been the score to break New York's back, but was nullified by a penalty. On the next play, Taysom Hill threw a deep interception. Still, there were phases to like on offense, including the balance (235 passing yards, 170 rushing yards). The unit needed a confidence boost, and perhaps this was it. Winston's decision-making again was solid, and he had his best yardage output (226 yards and a touchdown on 17 completions) as a Saint.
DEFENSE: New Orleans' best, most consistent unit through its first three games had its worst game of the season. The Saints were effective enough early (49 yards and no points allowed in the first quarter). But once the Giants found a rhythm in the second quarter, the Saints couldn't get them out of it and worse, New York popped a couple of huge plays against a defense that hadn't given up any in its first three games. A 51-yard pass from Daniel Jones to John Ross in the second quarter led to a touchdown; Ross fumbled the ball into the end zone from the 1-yard line, and recovered his own fumble, to give New York a 7-0 lead. And in the fourth quarter, with the Saints holding a 21-10 lead, Jones and running back Saquan Barkley connected on a 54-yard touchdown pass – the only play of the drive, which lasted nine seconds – that pulled the Giants to within 21-18 after the successful two-point conversion. New York tied the score with a field goal on its next possession (11 plays, 59 yards), then put together a nine-play, 75-yard, walk-off touchdown drive on the first possession of overtime. The Giants had 485 yards and averaged a whopping 8.1 yards per play. The Saints have seen, and will see, better days on defense. This one stung a prideful unit.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Coach Sean Payton admitted that his confidence is a bit shaken in the kicking game and if he'd said anything other than that, it might not have been believable. Aldrick Rosas has missed three field goals in the last two games; a 58-yarder is a lot to ask, but it's part of the job and the inefficiency affects how a coach and offense approach play-calling. On top of that, the Saints allowed a 26-yard punt return in the fourth quarter and on the very next play, Jones threw the 54-yard touchdown to Barkley. Another unit that has seen, and will see, better days.
The Saints Cheer Team entertained our fans during Week 4 between New Orleans and the New York Giants at the Caesars Superdome on October 3, 2021.