New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton said the team would look at the film following its 27-21, overtime loss to the New York Giants on Sunday in the Caesars Superdome, and there will be positives in it.
As much of a gut-punch as it was for the Saints (2-2) to lose an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, there were plays and players to like from the game that shouldn't be ignored.
OFFENSE: Quarterback Jameis Winston had his most productive passing game as a Saint. But it wasn't so much the yardage total (226) as it was that Winston continues to be efficient (17 of 23, with a touchdown) and continues to grow as a decision-maker. His ability to extend plays has been an overlooked part of his game, but he already has displayed it numerous times this season, and the stretch-the-field element is there – a 58-yard completion to Marquez Callaway and a 46-yard touchdown to Kenny Stills that was erased due to penalty. Each time, Winston dropped in a perfect pass, and each of them probably paled in comparison to the 19-yarder to Ty Montgomery in the second quarter on third-and-9, which led to the Saints' first touchdown. New Orleans is 10 for 11 this season in the red zone, and seven of Winston's eight touchdown passes have come in the red zone.
DEFENSE: Honestly, it's pretty difficult to single out anyone for stellar play when the unit allows 485 yards and 8.1 yards per play, and watches the opponent score on its final three possessions – touchdown, field goal, touchdown. Rookie linebacker Pete Werner had his best statistical NFL game with 10 tackles, and a tackle for loss. And safety Marcus Williams intercepted a pass at the end of the first half and forced a fumble (New York recovered for a touchdown). But no one on the unit will say he was pleased with Sunday's showing.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Same for special teams. When the punter (Blake Gillikin) makes a tackle that generally isn't a good sign (it was a 26-yard return). Special teams can't always be counted on to block a field goal attempt or a punt. That's understandable. But three missed field goals in the last two games is disturbing, even when two of the attempts are from plus-50 yards. The Saints will do some cleaning up on their units this week.
The New Orleans Saints return home to take on the New York Giants in Week 4 on October 3, 2021 at the Caesars Superdome.