Week 1: Saints Report Card vs. Packers

New Orleans Saints performance report card by offensive, defensive, and coaching units versus the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL regular season.
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New Orleans Saints performance report card by offensive, defensive, and coaching units versus the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL regular season.   

35,242 fans were in attendance to watch the New Orleans Saints demolish the Green Bay Packers.

The Saints offense scored on every possession of the first half. Green Bay's offense could not find a groove in the first stanza.

Jameis Shines in New Era in Nola

Saints Offense - (A)

Quarterback: (A) It's safe to say Jameis Winston played well in Sean Payton's offense.  Winston was allowed to spread the football to 8 different receivers.  The signal-caller was active in the first quarter by  extending drives with his legs. 

Winston was  14/20 attempts for 148 yards and 5 touchdowns. Before his 55-yard touchdown connection to WR Deonte Harris, he was under 100 yards, but recorded 3 touchdowns.  His lone INT was reversed after a roughing the passer penalty on Green Bay.

The Saints defense continued to get after Rodgers most of the game.  An outstanding defensive gameplan by DC Dennis Allen. 

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Running Back: (B+) 

Alvin Kamara and Tony Jones Jr. form a very good tandem.  Kamara had 20 rushes for 83 yards and Jones was 11 carries for 50 yards.   Jones Jr. has a burst that Latavius Murray did not possess this preseason.  Watch his maturation process over the season.

Juwan Johnson Touchdown

Receivers: (B-) 

The wide receivers were not a factor most of the game.   Winston connected with eight different receivers.  Trautman dropped a couple of passes.  Deonte Harris' 55-yard touchdown reception from Winston was a thing of beauty.   The team will improve in this area.  

Offensive Line: (B+)

The big guys gave Winston time in the pocket.  Cesar Ruiz did a fantastic job subbing for the injured Erik McCoy at center.  The o-line opened holes for the running backs.  Kamara and Jones Jr. had success up the gut on multiple plays.

Saints Defense Celebrates

Saints Defense - (B+)

Cornerbacks/Safeties:  (B+) 

CB Paulson Adebo snatched his first interception of his NFL career from Aaron Rodgers.  Lattimore had a huge stop and Marcus Williams played centerfield and intercepted Rodgers.   His 53-yard return setup another Winston touchdown.

Linebackers:  (B+) 

Demario was all over the place.  Alexander key tackles to stop Packers drives.  The second-year linebacker Zack Baun led the team with five tackles.  This may be the fastest Saints linebacking corps since Sean Payton took over in 2006.

Defensive Line: (A) 

The Saints pressured Rodgers most of the game.  The interior collapsed the pocket and made Rodgers uneasy all day.  Granderson's sack-fumble of Jordan Love saved a touchdown shutout by New Orleans.  

Special Teams:  (B-) 

P Gillikin had his first punt at 6:22 in the 3rd quarter after a Saints drive stalled at the 50-yard line.  Harris didn't have room on few of the punts to maneuver. 

FYI's on the Game

  • Jameis Winston threw 3 touchdowns to two receivers that he practiced with during the offseason - Juwan Johnson (2 TDs) and Deonte Harris (1 TD).
  • Aaron Rodgers was 0 or 9 on 3rd downs at one point.  Limited Aaron Rodgers to a paltry 15/28 attempts for 133 yards, and 2 INTs.  The 36.8 QBR may be his poorest passer ratings of his NFL career.  NFL Research noted, "That is the lowest passer rating in history by a reigning NFL MVP in his first game of the subsequent season."
  • Alvin Kamara unveiled a custom NASCAR visor today.
  • We have not confirmed, but Lattimore injured his thumb in the game and may require surgery.
  • ESPN Stats & Info observed, "Jameis Winston is the first QB in NFL history to throw 5 Pass TD with 0 Int in a season-opener in his first career start with a new team.  Overall, he's the 7th quarterback with 5 passing touchdowns & no interceptions in a opener & the 1st since Lamar Jackson in 2019.
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Coaching

Head Coach: (A) 

Aggressive with 4th down calls deep in Packers territory.  Kept the Green Bay defensive front  busy and wore them down in the first half.  Payton called a steady and consistent game.

Assistants: (A) 

DC Dennis Allen's entire defensive unit, Kris Richard and his secondary, Dan Rouser's offensive line, and Ryan Nielsen's defensive linemen guys played well.

Final Grade: A


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