The New Orleans Saints opened up their preseason against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday. The Vikings won 34-25 in an offensive beatdown of the Saints defense. The loss doesn’t tell the story of how bad the defense stunk.
The Saints Defense Allows 460 Yards
Rushing Defense Non-Existent
Kirk Cousins played only one series and led the Vikings to an opening 76-yard drive for a touchdown. Alexander Mattison caught the one-yard touchdown. The score was 7-0 early. But really, points aren’t as important as the way the defense played throughout the game.
In the first half alone, the Saints gave up over 100 yards, in only 14 carries with a 7.4 rushing average. It didn’t matter who was running the ball. Even Kirk Cousins had a 10-yard scamper.
On the positive side, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater put out a solid performance throwing 14 of 19 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown. Still, at times, he held the ball too long and needs more game experience to give an accurate assessment of what direction he’s heading.
He did lead a nice six play 79-yard drive for a touchdown to cut the lead to 14-12 before halftime. Tight end Dan Arnold caught a nice 18-yard pass. Remember, Arnold had a crucial drop in the NFC Championship game versus the Los Angeles Rams back in January. It was good to see him involved.
Secondary Wasn’t As Bad
Unfortunately, the dismal play of the defense stood out like a canker sore. The secondary too disappointed. The combination of quarterbacks Sean Mannion, Kyle Sloter, and Jake Browning combined for 182 yards passing and 15 of 23 passes completed. None of these guys aren’t exactly future Hall of Famers. Regardless, the rushing defense performed even worse.
The Vikings ran all over the Saints for 213 yards on 27 carries for a 7.9 yard average in the end. The Saints missed numerous tackles, lost at the line of scrimmage, and looked uninspired late in the fourth quarter.
The Saints are one of the favorites to win it all. With those expectations, nothing can be overlooked. Not even the preseason. The 2019 season has now begun. All the accomplishments from 2018 are simply last year. The rearview mirror is irrelevant for what’s in store for this upcoming year.
Individual performances are going to be even less important this year. The teams who win close games in the NFL week to week have to be consistent across a long period of time. The Saints cannot ill afford a lackluster outing when the regular season kicks off.
Although the first week of the preseason doesn’t mean much down the line. This performance should be forgotten. There is plenty of time to get things right before the regular season debut. Still, it’s concerning, to say the least. Hopefully, this was just a one-game brain fart. Next week the task will get tougher against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Make no mistake, every team is aware of the Saints being one of the Super Bowl favorites. Anyone facing the black and gold this year will be extra inspired to bring their all. And this team best be ready for a dogfight each week. This comes with the territory of being one of the favorites.
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