5 Takeaways from the Saints Loss to the Raiders
The New Orleans Saints fell to (1-1) for the third consecutive season after losing 34-24 to the Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) on Monday Night Football. Here are five takeaways from NFL's first-ever game in Las Vegas, NV.
Saints offensive flow was back in 1st Qtr., but not much afterwards
The Saints are notorious for scripting their first fifteen offensive plays. On Monday night, Sean Payton's script was close to perfection. New Orleans scored on their first two drives by taking a 10-0 led into the second quarter.
On both drives, the Saints marched over 60 yards on 9+ plays connecting on a Wil Lutz 31-yard FG, and next with Alvin Kamara's 1-yard plunge into the endzone. Brees and the Saints offense dominated the trenches early as the new $77M man, Alvin Kamara, and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray collected 99 total yards on the team’s first two drives. The Saints would not put together another 9+ play drive in the contest.
Penalties are a Huge Problem
After back-to-back weeks of surrendering 100+ yards in penalties, the Saints lead the league in penalties yards at 248. On Monday night, New Orleans gave up 129 penalty yards on 10 accepted penalties.
The biggest call came with just over 2 minutes remaining in the ball game as Derek Carr threw deep down the right-side to Henry Ruggs III, who was interfered with by Janoris Jenkins. The penalty negated the Raiders failed 3rd-down attempt that would have forced them to punt to the Saints with 2 minutes remaining and trailing by 7 points. Instead, Las Vegas scored on a 54 yard kick from place kicker Carlson to increase their lead by 10 points to 34-24. Essentially ending the Saints' quest for a comeback with 1:08 left in the game.
Emmanuel Sanders is Silent Again
After the ankle injury to WR Michael Thomas last week, New Orleans saw Emmanuel Sanders as the “next man up” to take over the WR1 duties in Week 2 and potentially more. Sanders signed with the Saints in March, agreeing to a 2-year, $16M contract to play opposite Michael Thomas.
The veteran’s attempt to be the #1 WR did not as planned on Monday night. Brees targeted Sanders 3 times in the game, making one reception. His lone reception came with just 1 minute remaining in the ball game and went for 18 yards. In two games with the Saints, the Super Bowl 50 champion has 4 rec for 33 yards and 1 TD.
Alvin Kamara looks at Peak Form
Kamara has two-thirds of the touchdowns he had last season in just two games. The 2017 OROY concluded Monday’s contest as the team’s leading rusher and receiver while accounting for 12 of the Saints 24 points.
Catching all 9 of his targeted passes for 95 yards, Kamara remains one of the league’s best receiving running backs. Against the Raiders, his 6.1 yards per carry is what caught my eye. It appears he is returning to his 2018 form as a dynamic rusher and receiver in 2020.
A Rare Poor Performance from Cameron Jordan
One of the biggest storylines heading into Monday night's matchup was that the LAs Vegas Raiders were down to their third RT, a converted RG Denzelle Good from Mars Hill University. Saints fans were licking their chops at the news anticipating 2 or 3 "levels" celebrations from Jordan, the Saints second all-time leader.
Alas, this was not the case. Jordan finished with 5 total tackles, 2 solo, 0 for loss, and 0 sacks. He failed to get to Carr most of the evening. As a team the Saints racked up 3 sacks and applied heavy pressure to Carr at times, but it was not enough. The Raiders' quarterback threw 28/38 passes, for 282 yards, and 3 TDs en route to the team's first win at Allegiant Stadium and in Las Vegas.
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