The New Orleans Saints (5-6) dropped their fourth consecutive contest on Thanksgiving night to the Buffalo Bills (7-4) by the score of 31-6. New Orleans' offense, while short-handed, could never find a flow finishing the game with under 200 offensive yards. Sean Payton and the Saints' season is now at a crossroads and will look to right the ship Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys.
Below are three takeaways from the Saints defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills.
Taysom Time Should be on the Horizon
Since Jameis Winston's ACL injury the Saints are 0-4 and rank towards the bottom of the league offensively. In wake of the injury, New Orleans have turned to veteran quarterback Trevor Siemian who has completed 57% of his passes for 1,083 yards, 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Despite the average numbers, the Saints offense has been anything but average... struggling to get going early, inability to sustain drives, and unable to consistently score.
Though some of those struggles must be aimed at the quarterback not all of the Saints problems fall on Siemian's shoulders. New Orleans ranks at the bottom of the NFL in separation on routes, the offensive line has not held up well, and they have been without their best offensive weapon Alvin Kamara for three weeks.
With that said however, a change is needed and "Taysom Time" should begin against Dallas if New Orleans has any hope of salvaging the season. The matchup against Buffalo proved that the Saints are in dire need of an offensive spark and while Taysom Hill certainly has his struggles as an NFL quarterback, his versatility and high motor is exactly what the Saints need moving forward.
Injuries Cannot be an Excuse for Back-to-Back Blowout Losses
New Orleans is the most injury plagued team in the NFL and there is no question about it. Headed into their Thanksgiving matchup the Saints were without over 12 starters on both sides of the football including their starting quarterback, running back and top wide reciever. Sean Payton was quick to tell the media however, that he will not be speaking about injuries this week.
“This is gonna be one of those weeks where I know (the media) doing your job are gonna want to discuss the injuries and who’s healthy and you’re gonna want to discuss the quarterback. And quite honestly and respectfully I’m not gonna discuss any of it.”
There is a lot to talk about when it comes to injuries and the potential change at quarterback but let's make one thing clear, the past two losses for the Saints are not because of injury. They were simply out coached and out played.
Yes it is difficult to win in this league and even more difficult to win once a team is missing so many pieces and that can be an excuse when you lose a tight game (i.e Saints losses to Atlanta and Tennessee) but when a team gets pummeled back-to-back weeks injuries are no longer an excuse. Rather it shows that something needs to change.
New Orleans is a team that has endured more adversity than any other team in the league this season. From Hurricane Ida, COVID-19 outbreaks, and injuries galore the team as continued to respond and if they should again it will have to be without many talented players and without the excuse of not having them available.
Drew Brees and the Who Dat Nation Finally Had a Proper Farewell
Perhaps the happiest takeaway and lone bright spot of Sunday's action came at halftime when Drew Brees was honored by the team or the first time since his retirement from football. Brees addressed the crowd at halftime with a two minute long thank you message and concluded by leading the "Who Dat" Chant for a final time.
Thursday night was the first time the Saints all-time passing leader stood on the turf in front of a full capacity crowd in nearly two-years due to limited crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brees called it "awesome" to be back in the dome and following his NFL Color Analyst debut with NBC. And you could feel the emotion from Brees, his family, and the 70,000 screaming fans as the Who Dat Nation gave Brees the final goodbye he deserved from the Superdome.
Drew Brees retired as the NFL's all-time leading passer at 80,358 yards before his record was broken by veteran quarterback Tom Brady earlier this season. Brees threw 571 touchdowns in 287 NFL games and was named the MVP of the New Orleans Saints lone Super Bowl Victory, Super Bowl XLIV in Miami, FL on Feb. 7th 2010.
You can watch the Saints full halftime celebration of Drew Brees below.
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