A win is good for the soul, and is just a small step in the right direction for the 4-7 Saints. No one should get ahead of themselves regarding a division race or anything, but this is simply something the team needed. Just win a game. See all the hard work at practice pay off.
“We didn’t do things that were going to beat ourselves today," Dennis Allen said following the game.
"I thought that was good to see. I thought we had a great week of practice. I thought our guys were locked in, focused in on playing. They knew what we had to do. We had some guys that haven’t played a lot that stepped up and did some good things.”
New Orleans faced reality last weekend with their loss to the Steelers, coming to grips that they weren't as good as they thought they were going into the season. Like we've seen in the few wins this season, complimentary football has been the team's best friend. The messaging was clear on how they approached this week, cutting it loose and giving it everything they got.
Andy Dalton said in his post game press conference, “That is kind of where we are at. I think we just need to cut it loose. Why not? For us, I felt like there were some things we did today like maybe earlier in the season we wouldn’t have done."
Dalton had a fairly strong day overall, rebounding from two lackluster performances to finish 21-of-25 for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had a 149.6 rating. There were only a couple of plays he would have wanted to have back, holding onto the ball a bit long that led to sacks. He acknowledged those after the game, saying that he has to find a way to throw it away and not take the sack.
Dalton continued, "I think that’s a big reason why we are standing here with a win today. I think being aggressive is something that we came into the game knowing what we can do. You can look at the first third down of the game and throwing the ball down the field on third and one. I think that is just the mentality that we have to have.”
Taysom Hill also had a strong day, being utilized a lot more as a passer and rusher, also catching his lone target. The past couple of games have not featured him much, but the team found ways to get him the ball in his 24 snaps, which included 17 at quarterback. His take on how the season has been for the Saints was particularly interesting, but also echoing that cutting it loose was the approach this week.
Hill said, “The attitude was like let’s go cut it loose. Early on there was a lot of conversations on how we were going to win football games and a little hesitancy. Our division hasn’t played well. We weren’t playing great. We kept losing games, but the message was we were still in it. The mindset this week was let’s get rid of any anxiety and go cut it loose. What do we have to lose at this point. Let’s go play our brand of football and worry about nothing else.”
Hill said that the team knows where they are this season with the record and all the other things. This week saw the Saints have a more added emphasis to win the game with a 'what do we have to lose' approach'.
So, what's next for New Orleans? You can go down the rabbit hole and see that the division is still somewhat up for grabs, but they're just going to have to try to win more games. They can't get wrapped up in hypotheticals right now, especially with them facing a tough 49ers team on the road Sunday.
Demario Davis put things into perspective after the game, saying, "I feel like you can’t look forward or look back at this point in the season. There were some things that we did well today and certainly some things we can improve upon. Regardless, we have to take a look at the tape and keep leveling up. It was great to go out there and get a win, but we need to find ways to get better.”
As one of the main leaders on the team, Davis had a strong message to the team this week, citing that you can learn a lot from nature and comparing them to palm trees.
“If you think about palm trees, they bend but they do not break. Hurricanes come and blow palm trees and they lean all of the way to the ground. They never break. The reason why they do not is because every time they have a storm they dig deeper. Their roots grow deeper into the ground. That’s what we do. That’s the great thing about this team and this city. It is so resilient. We have been faced with a lot of adversity. Sometimes it feels like storm on top of storm, but the great thing is that it is making our roots grow deeper. When that storm passes, we always snap back. That is’ the exciting thing. It was great putting that on display today. It certainly felt like a snap back moment. It was a lot of fun.”
We'll see if New Orleans can keep things going against San Francisco, but a team playing like they have nothing to lose can at least make things a bit more interesting with just six games to go in the year.
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