East Rutherford, N.J. – The New Orleans Saints' much-needed victory – 30-9 over the New York Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. – was spurred by several key performances worthy of mention. Here are some of the best of them.
OFFENSE: Never, ever doubt the importance of running back Alvin Kamara to the Saints' offense. It has been proven time and again, and Sunday's victory – which ended a five-game losing streak – was no different. Kamara missed the last four of those losses with knee and hamstring injuries, but returned in form: 31 touches for 145 yards and a touchdown. His 27 carries for 120 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown run, was a bit heavier workload than is normal, but Kamara was fresh-legged after his absence and he'll likely have Mark Ingram back next Sunday to help carry the load. Sunday, New Orleans needed his hands on the ball and, as usual, he delivered.
DEFENSE: Kwon Alexander flies around the field. That probably is the best way to describe how the linebacker swallows up yardage from sideline to sideline and, on Sunday, in the offensive backfield, too. Alexander had two sacks (for minus-8 yards), a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and four tackles against the Jets. His first sack was a tag team – defensive lineman Marcus Davenport pummeled an offensive lineman and created an opening to quarterback Zach Wilson that Alexander could have driven a golf cart through – but he finished that play, and several others. When he's on the field the Saints' defense has a different look, speed and feel.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Receiver Easop Winston Jr. may not have played but for a combination of misfortune – Deonte Harris began a three-game suspension issued by the NFL, Ty Montgomery was placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 list and Lil'Jordan Humphrey injured his hamstring in practice last week. But Winston made the most of his first NFL game, returning four punts for 54 yards (13.5-yard average) and looking comfortable while doing so. It's not easy to replace Harris, one of the league's best returners, but Winston handled it and looked prepared to do so again if and when the needed arises.