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Record-setting day for Michael Thomas headlines New Orleans Saints victory over Tennessee

Demario Davis leads defense, Deonte Harris paces special teams

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New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) celebrates with tight end Josh Hill (89) after Thomas scored a touchdown on a 2-yard pass reception against the Tennessee Titans in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. The Saints won 38-28. (AP Photo/James Kenney)

Nashville, Tenn. – Say this for the New Orleans Saints: They know how to get un-stuck.

Better, say this: They have the players who understand how to get the team un-stuck.

The Saints (12-3) fell into a 14-0 hole against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium, roared back with 24 consecutive points, and posted a 38-28 victory that kept them in the race for the No. 1 or 2 seed for the playoffs in the NFC.

And they had enough standout performances that it's hard to narrow down the best ones, but we'll do our best.

OFFENSE: House rules are this – if you set an NFL record, you're automatically the best offensive player from that game. Any dissenters? So, that means Michael Thomas gets the nod here, because the man quickly has become one of the surest bets in the NFL. Thomas entered the game needing 10 catches to tie Marvin Harrison's single-season record of 143, and he exited with 12 of them, for 136 yards and a touchdown. Everyone knows what's coming; no one can stop it. Thomas has the best hands in the league, he's probably the most physical receiver in the league and somehow, he always seems to be open. Honorable mention to running back Alvin Kamara, who ran 11 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns, caught six passes for 30 yards and made a touchdown-springing block for tight end Jared Cook on his 61-yard, catch-and-run score.

DEFENSE: Demario Davis should have been a member of the NFC Pro Bowl team. He should be on the NFL's All-Pro team. All he does is continue to make play after play, against the run or pass, to lead the way for the Saints' defense. Against the Titans, Davis had a sack, two tackles for loss, a pass defended and a game-high 11 tackles. He's as complete a linebacker as there is in the league and on a day when New Orleans wasn't at its peak efficiency as a unit defensively, Davis still was at his peak individually. He doesn't have many bad days at the office.

SPECIAL TEAMS: In the fourth quarter, after having been punished for not being able to kick the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs, the Titans squibbed a kick to running back Dwayne Washington. It was the ultimate sign of respect for kick and punt returner Deonte Harris, the Saints' rookie Pro Bowler. Harris returned five kickoffs for 244 yards – a 48.8-yard average – and he came close to popping one. He's the return specialist that the Saints have been missing for several years, the one who's a legitimate scoring threat every time he touches the ball. Harris also returned four punts for 21 yards, but the kickoffs repeatedly gave New Orleans a short field to work with, and that's exactly what this team wants from him.

Pregame photos from Nashville as the New Orleans Saints prepared to take on the Tennessee Titans in week 16 of the 2019 NFL season.

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