he New Orleans Saints (10-4) dropped their second consecutive game Sunday afternoon, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs (13-1), 32-29 in New Orleans. The Saints fought their way out of a 14-0 hole early to take a 15-14 lead in the 3rd quarter. However, Mahomes and the Chiefs pulled away and held their lead en route to their 9th consecutive victory.
Here are my three takeaways from the Saints Week 15 defeat at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Saints Defense Set the Tone Early
After a subpar performance by allowing two 100-yard rushers and collecting no sacks in the loss to the Eagles in Week 14, the New Orleans defensive front set the tone from the opening whistle. They applied consistent pressure on the reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, sacked, hit, and hurried him most of the afternoon.
The Saints defense sacked Mahomes 4 times, including a sack-fumble, and held him under 300 passing yards for the first time in 6 weeks. CBS color analyst Tony Romo said this was the best he had seen a defense play Mahomes this season. He also mentioned New Orleans was one of few teams that could match up with the Chiefs' speed, and the Saints did that despite the “Mahomes Magic” to extend plays and throw for touchdowns.
While Mahomes made a handful of highlight plays, the Saints defense kept the team in the ball game despite being on the field for over 40 minutes. Dennis Allen's group kept the energy levels high and executed the game plan fairly well. Unfortunately for New Orleans, those efforts fell short on the scoreboard.
Brees & Co. Were Shaky at Best
Drew Brees made his long-awaited return to the field this week after suffering a rib/lung injury in Week 10, and it was shaky at best. The future Hall of Fame QB concluded the game 15 of 34 for 234 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT and started the evening 0 of 6 passing, a first in his NFL career.
The month lay-off was evident early in the ball game for Brees. He looked hesitant to make throws, his timing was off, and by the end of the game, he was visibly frustrated. Whether it was the month off or the lack of chemistry with the Saints depleted wide receiving corps or a mixture of both, Sunday was not a day Brees or his fans will remember fondly.
Despite the poor outing, the Saints final offensive drive looked like classic Drew Brees, completing 6 of 8 passes and capping it off with a touchdown strike to WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey. The rust was expected, yet, the Saints nearly won the game. Now the question is if this team will re-group and shake the rust off in a short week before battling the Vikings on Christmas Day?
The Loss Tells Us More About the Saints than the Chiefs.
The Saints' offense punted 8-times and only possessed the ball for 19 minutes, down to 4 wide receivers, including three elevated from the practice squad. It can not get much worse than those numbers, but they still managed to offensively put up 27 points.
Now, the defense deserves most of the credit for the team being in the ball game and giving the offense a short field score, but if the team statistically was this poor and remained in the ball game, what are they capable of when they are clicking on all cylinders?
Injuries have plagued the Saints throughout the season, but over the team's nine-game winning streak, fans did get a glimpse of how good this team can be.
It is now up to the team to right the ship over the last 2 weeks of the regular season and return to that form.
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