Seattle – Easily, the New Orleans Saints (2-1) played their most thorough game of the young season in their 33-27 victory over Seattle on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Players said everyone needed to chip in in the absence of quarterback Drew Brees, and everyone did exactly that against the Seahawks. In a steady drizzle, under clouds and a week away from home, the Saints were the epitome of "team." But even in a "team" win, there are individuals who deserve a little isolation.
OFFENSE: Now, we have a small glimpse of what quarterback Teddy Bridgewater can do. And what we learned is that, indeed, he can play winning football. In an environment that's as hostile as any in the NFL, Bridgewater was poised and precise. His play-makers helped, of course – Alvin Kamara ran for a touchdown and 69 yards on 16 carries, and caught nine passes for 92 yards and another touchdown, and Michael Thomas caught five passes for 54 yards and a score. But Bridgewater (19 for 27 for 177 yards and two touchdowns, without an interception) was very efficient in his first meaningful NFL start since the end of the 2015 season. Give him his props; he earned them.
DEFENSE: In his Saints career, cornerback Eli Apple has made a handful of impressive plays. None have topped the one he made Sunday, when he chased down Seattle running back Chris Carson after a 23-yard run and forced a fumble. Safety Vonn Bell scooped it up and ran 33 yards for a touchdown to give New Orleans a 13-7 lead and, basically, to send the Saints on their way. Apple made three solo tackles, so his name wasn't all over the stat sheet. But that play in the second quarter gave the Saints momentum that they never relinquished.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Easily, and comfortably, punter Thomas Morstead could be the guy here. He's an artist; he had 64- and 53-yard punts that went out of bounds at the 2 and was downed at the 4, respectively. In total, a 52-yard net average on six punts is outstanding. But rookie receiver Deonte Harris jump-started the show for New Orleans with an electric 53-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter, the first of his NFL career. Yes, he muffed one that was recovered by Seattle later in the game, which raises to three the number of questionable decisions and/or bad conclusions he has had in three games. But the Saints hadn't had a punt return touchdown since 2015, by Marcus Murphy, and you get the feeling this won't be the last one for Harris.