The New Orleans Saints report card on the team's performance versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 8 of the 2021 NFL regular season.
New Orleans will have "not so uncharted territory" to navigate for the remainder of 2021. In the previous two seasons, significant injuries to Drew Brees at the quarterback position have been successfully dealt with by Sean Payton and the Saints.
Yet, instead of Brees falling, on Sunday, it was Jameis Winston. Also, we cannot forget that backup quarterback Taysom Hill is recovering from a concussion sustained in the Washington game.
In Week 8, the entire team responded well to Winston's injury to defeat Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl Champions 36-27 with smart play and a tenacious defense.
SAINTS WEEK 8 REPORT CARD
Quarterback (B+ to Incomplete)
- Winston is down and presumably out for the rest of the season. Sean Payton said his injury is "significant." The initial reports have the injury as tears of the ACL and MCL ligament.
- Before exiting the NFC South confrontation with the Bucs, Winston would connect on 6/10 passes for 56 yards, 1 TD, and a 108.8 QBR.
- Trevor Siemian came off the bench cold and without game action in over a year to guide the Saints offense to a dramatic victory. Provided the circumstances, Siemian deserved the GAME BALL OF THE YEAR!
- Siemian looked poised and confident under center with JPP, Vita Vea, and Suh hungry to sack him on every play. Cudos!
- Siemian completed the afternoon by registering 16/29 attempts, 159 yards, 1 TD, and a 82.4 QBR.
- New Orleans passing: 209 yards
Running Backs (B)
- Kamara was Kamara.
- Mark Ingram's returned at the right time, in the right situation, for the right team. We all love Mark Ingram's passion and energy. It was definitely needed after losing Jameis Winston.
- Kamara: 19 rushes, 61 yards, 1 TD; 4 rec., 15 yards = 76 all-purpose yards.
- Ingram: 6 rushes, 27 yards; 2 rec., 25 yards = 62 all-purpose yards.
- New Orleans rushing: 152 yards
- Deonte Harris' return benefitted the still struggling receiving corps. A couple of his 3 receptions helped to convert first downs.
- Big Catches: Tre'Quan Smith, Kevin White, Garrett Griffin (YES!), Alex Armah (YES!), and Marquez Callaway.
- Tre'Quan Smith in his 2nd game back from injury looked good by going 3-for-3 in his targets with 1 TD.
Offensive Line (B)
- The Saints' offensive line stepped-up in light of Winston's injury.
- The O-Line yielded 1 sack, and 7 QB Hits.
- Throckmorton allowed a couple of pressures but played well for the injured Andrus Peat.
- The big boys opened lanes for Sean Payton as he stayed patient with rushing the football.
- Saints failed to convert a 4th and 1 early.
Defensive Line (B-)
- The Big O helped to create pressure in the interior against Brady. He had one fumble recovery.
- New Orleans limited Fournette to 8 rushes, 26 yards, and Bernard with 2 rushes, 30 yards. NO TOUCHDOWNS!
- It was frustrating to watch how the D-Line couldn't get to Brady in the 3rd and early 4th quarters.
- Cam Jordan had a sack and forced fumble! 2nd-straight game with a sack for #94.
- Tanoh Kpassagnon had 1 sack, 2 tackles, 1 QB Hit, 1 TFL.
- Dennis Allen used different players on the defensive interior. Cam Jordan and T-Kpass were used as defensive tackles on a few plays.
- Demario and Pete Werner did not record huge numbers, but were effective.
- Kwon Alexander had a sack.
- The linebackers notched 4 TFLs.
Defensive Backs (C+)
- The secondary play was a mixed bag. A few instances of poor communication.
- PJ Williams' INT and Pick-Six cemented the victory!
- Lattimore has had better games. He allowed two touchdowns (Evans and Grayson).
- Ceedy Duce had 6 tackles, 1 INT, and 1 Pass Defended.
- Malcolm Jenkins' swatted away a Gronk TD!
- The unit gave up 4 touchdowns, but did steal 2 interceptions.
- Blake Gillikin: 3 punts, 158 yards, 52.7 yards/punt; 1 inside the 20-yard line.
- Brian Johnson: 3 field goals; His lone missed extra point could have been a problem.
- Deonte Harris: Averaged 34.5 yards per kick return.
- After losing Winston, Sean Payton showed his mastery of offensive play-calling.
- Sean Payton explained his philosophy on his time management. Ahh, OK?
- Payton adjusted to call plays that accentuated Siemian's skills.
- The offensive play-calling was balanced, but the 5-of-14 on 3rd downs remains a concern.
- Dennis Allen's group came through in the clutch.