Perfection wasn't overwhelmingly on display for the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but there were enough handfuls of "good enough" to get them to a salving 39-32 victory over Seattle in the Caesars Superdome.
New Orleans (2-3) ended a three-game losing streak, won its first home game of the season and totaled a season high in points to give itself an opportunity to climb back to .500 next Sunday, against Cincinnati in the Superdome. But before that, there was plenty to assess from their victory.
OFFENSE: Taysom Hill was a one-man wrecking crew against Seattle. New Orleans totaled 438 yards of offense and five touchdowns, and Hill accounted for 134 yards and four touchdowns (nine carries for 112 yards and three scores and a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Adam Trautman). The Saints found the Seahawks' defense to be accommodating against the run, and they pounded it for 235 yards on 48 carries. Hill and Alvin Kamara (23 carries for 103 yards) gave New Orleans two 100-yard rushers, and Kamara also needed to be the team's leading receiver (six catches for 91 yards) due to attrition at receiver. Add in quarterback Andy Dalton's day – 16 of 24 for 187 yards and a touchdown, with an interception – and New Orleans essentially was able to stay on the field (a time of possession advantage of 37:35-22:25) unless it committed turnovers (two more). The Saints started fast with 17 points in the first half, matching their first-half total of the previous four games, and took the lead on a 60-yard run by Hill on a high-scoring day during which the offense had to help out the defense.
DEFENSE: Sometimes, there are going to be days like Sunday. It wasn't a cheap 32 points and 396 yards that the Saints allowed, due to being put in precarious positions by the offense. New Orleans surrendered runs of 69 (touchdown) and 32 yards and receptions of 40 (touchdown), 50 (touchdown) and 32 yards. After three consecutive games in which the defense did more than enough to put the team in position to win, only to see it fall short, the unit was sliced several times before it managed a last stand to force a punt and hand back the ball to the offense, which ran out the clock. That's not what this defense has been, or wants to be. Seattle ran for 151 yards and averaged 7.2 yards per carry, and averaged 8.1 yards per play. One of the things New Orleans was able to do effectively was get third-down stops; the Saints were successful on eight of nine third-down attempts on defense, remarkable considering Seattle's success on early downs. The Saints' defense won't enjoy the film on this one, but it did enough and it got the one last stop it had to have.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Wil Lutz kicked a 56-yard field goal, because he's Wil Lutz and very little seems to be out of his range these days. And New Orleans really benefited from a huge Seattle special team error when punter Michael Dickson inexplicably chose not to punt on fourth-and-9 from the Seattle 21-yard line, was tackled for an 8-yard loss and lost a fumble that Hill recovered to set up a Saints touchdown and 17-10 lead in the second quarter. But New Orleans' kickoff return game remains a mystery – Deonte Harty returned two for 31 yards, including an 11-yarder to set up the Saints' offense in a hole. A remedy has to be sought for the ineffectiveness (Harty left the game with a foot injury), because overall the units haven't supplied much pop aside from Lutz.
New Orleans Saints players in action during their 2022 Week 5 game against the Seattle Seahawks.