By The Numbers: Chargers vs. Saints in Week 5

BtBoylan

The New Orleans Saints (3-2) defeated the Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) by the score of 30-27 on Monday Night inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 

Rookie QB Justin Herbert and the Chargers jumped out to a 20-3 lead over the defending NFC SOUTH champions, but Drew Brees led the Saints to a 17 point second half and an overtime victory. The win marks New Orleans' second consecutive comeback victory after trailing by 14 or more. 

Let us look inside the numbers from the Saints Week 5 victory over the Chargers.

1 & 4: Herbert becomes 1st Rookie to throw 4 TDs in an MNF debut.

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© Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers first-round pick quarterback Justin Herbert shredded the Saints defense Monday Night's overtime thriller. The former Oregon Ducks star set two rookie records for Monday Night Football - most TD passes in a half (3) and most TD passes thrown in a Monday Night debut (4). Herbert's exceptional performance impressed many, including Saints head coach Sean Payton.

“He's a good, young talent. You can see that you do not really feel like you are playing against a young player. He is someone that gets the ball out of his hands. I think that he has a promising future. He is impressive to watch.”

— Sean Payton's Thoughts on Justin Herbert Following Monday's Victory

Justin Herbert finished the contest 20 of 34 for 264 yards 4 TDs and 0 INT. 

5: Trey Hendrickson's 4.5 Sacks is 5th Best in NFL.

Trey Hendrickson sacks Tom Brady
DE Trey Hendrickson sacks Tom Brady.  Credit: Hingle, USA Today Sports

Defensive end Marcus Davenport returned to the gridiron Monday night after missing the first four games of 2020 due to elbow and toe injuries.  But, it was Hendrickson who got the starting nod for the Saints on Monday night. In 2020, he has started in five games for New Orleans.  The 2017 third-round pick has been spectacular opposite All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan in his fourth year.

“Oh, well, I am a blessed man for the statistics. But I have never really played for statistics. I love playing football. I love striking blocks and getting after quarterbacks.”

Trey Hendrickson on his early season success

Hendrickson's 4.5 sacks rank 5th in the NFL through five weeks.  He has already matched his career-high single-season sack total. 

9: Lutz is 9 of 9 on field-goal attempts this season.

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© Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints have had few consistent performers through the first five games of the season, but kicker Wil Lutz has been one of them.  He opens this season by successfully making all 9 of his attempted field goals. Lutz accounted for 12 of the Saints points Monday night connecting on 3 extra points and 3 field goals, including the go-ahead field goal in overtime.

An undrafted free-agent kicker from Georgia State, Lutz connected on only 63% of his field-goal attempts his senior year but has become one of the best kickers in the NFL during his five-year career.

In 2019, Lutz was selected to his first Pro-Bowl - he connected on 87.5% of his field-goal attempts in his Saints career.

18: Emmanuel Sanders has 18 Rec for 215 Yards in 2 straight games

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© Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has posted 18 receptions for 215 yards in two straight contests.  He is beginning to like the difference-maker the Saints were hoping to find in free agency.  In the past two weeks, Sanders has grown more comfortable in the Saints offense and is an important weapon for Drew Brees, especially without Michael Thomas in the lineup.

After setting season highs in targets, receptions, and yards last week against the Lions, Emmanuel Sanders provided an encore presentation Monday night. The two-time Pro-Bowl selection posted new season highs in all three categories again and a career-high in receptions, this time against the Chargers.

In Week 4, against the Lions, Sanders and QB Drew Brees looked to be on the same page from start to finish for the first time in 2020. Sanders finished with 6 receptions for 93 yards. The duo's new-found chemistry carried over into Week 5's contest as Sanders was the 'go-to guy' down the stretch registering 14 targets, 12 receptions, and 122 receiving yards.

48: Drew Brees is now 2-48 when trailing by 17+ points.

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© Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Following a dismal opening 28 minutes for the Saints offense and a 17 point deficit, QB Drew Brees led a two-minute drill that resulted in the team's first touchdown of the game. Throughout the second half and overtime, the Super Bowl XLIV MVP looked back in peak form leading his team to a comeback victory while completing 21 of 25 passes for 200+ yards and a score.

Brees entered Monday night with a 1-48 record when trailing by 17 or more in a ball game. Monday marked the second time in his career that Brees led a comeback of that magnitude. The other occurred in 2009 as the Saints overcame a 21 point deficit to defeat the Dolphins in Miami.

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