Nashville, Tenn. – The New Orleans Saints saw a franchise record fall, but their overall record did as well in a 23-21 loss to the Titans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
The Saints (5-4) have lost two straight games by two points (27-25 last Sunday to Atlanta), having given themselves opportunities to win each but, ultimately, falling short. Still, there were performances of note in the loss to Tennessee (8-2).
OFFENSE: Trevor Siemian took a couple of really bad sacks at the end of the first half to help push the Saints out of a possible field goal opportunity, but he continues to impress: 19 of 34 for 298 yards and two touchdowns, without an interception. And Deonte Harris (three catches for 84 yards) is the best receiver on this roster; opponents are having fits trying to cover him. But the flowers belong to running back Mark Ingram II. He entered the game needing 20 rushing yards to move to the top of the franchise's all-time rushing total, and he gained 47 and a touchdown on 14 carries. And he also was major in the passing game, with four catches for 61 yards (his 34-yard catch on a wheel route was perfect). The Saints' new all-time rushing leader had the kind of all-around game that New Orleans needed in the absence of Alvin Kamara, who missed the game with a knee injury.
DEFENSE: When defensive end Marcus Davenport is on the field, he shows all the attributes that can lead to him becoming a dominant player. He had two sacks Sunday against the Titans, one on which he bull rushed the lineman and used that momentum to shove him into quarterback Ryan Tannehill for his first sack. Davenport only needs to remain available, because there are times when he simply cannot be blocked.
SPECIAL TEAMS: It just wasn't a good day for the unit overall. Two missed point-after attempts by Brian Johnson, and a lost fumble on a kickoff return by Harris, were glaring miscues in a two-point loss. Those performances skewed the day for the units. Harris otherwise was effective on kickoff returns, but a lost fumble, recovered at your 19-yard line, almost is a guaranteed score for the opponent. Tennessee turned it into a touchdown and a 20-6 lead.