Saints’ Offense Slowly Ascending to Match Defense

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Over the years, if the New Orleans Saints are brought up explosive offense orchestrated by a Hall-of-Fame quarterback comes to mind. However, this season the Saints are enjoying success by grinding out games behind a Super Bowl-caliber defense that the other side of the ball has to catch up to in these presumed twilight games of Drew Brees’ career. 

On Sunday, the two aging titans of the game, Brees and Tom Brady, will duel each other from under center for what may be the final showdown between these two. Tampa Bay will travel to New Orleans in the Divisional Round of the NFC and the Saints will face a Bucs team they defeated twice. The phrase that will be repeated prior to the game is, “It is hard to beat a team three times in a season.” These two teams know each other well as members of the NFC South and Brady and the Bucs have played their best ball of the season as of late. 

When the Saints take on the Bucs, they have to be careful and not let bad habits creep in. In the 21-9 win over the Chicago Bears, there were some ugly parts of the Saints’ game that showed up but ultimately the team got stronger as the clock ticked down. 


This game will be scouted to death but it is important for Dennis Allen’s defense to not do much different than what they did in the first two matchups. Ranked at No. 2 overall in the NFL, the Saints’ defense has played on a championship level since midway through the season up to this point. It also just happened to be that their strongest performances came against Tampa. Brady and co. will throw the kitchen sink at the Saints so they have to be prepared for anything. The good thing about this matchup is that the Saints front and secondary is fairly healthy going into this one and defensive end, and NFL sacks leader, Trey Hendrickson may be back from injury. The game may be won on how well the defensive line can get to Brady. 

In the secondary, Janoris Jenkins, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Marcus Williams are all back 


As great as the Saints’ overall record is at 13-4, their offense has been up and down with leaders like Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and others not being able to be on the field at the same time due to injury of COVID-19 protocols. The world has yet to see a Saints squad at mostly full strength. Slowly, but surely this offensive group is ascending at the right time, but there are questions as to if they can all get on the same page at the same time. 

Running back Alvin Kamara returned from COVID-19 protocol on Sunday, and while the offense looked to be experiencing a slow start as a whole, Kamara found his rhythm as the game went on. He was a yard shy on the ground from reaching 100 in a solid performance. The more success this team can find in the ground game, the longer they can stay alive. 

Thomas also returned to catch 5 balls for 73 yards, taking the load off of Emmanuel Sanders. There is also a possibility that Tre’Quan Smith could return on Sunday. 

It’s also no secret that the boosting of the run game and increased usage of Taysom Hill are ploys to help out Brees, 42, but last Sunday Brees looked as crisp as ever. He may be ready to ride it out in legend mode as long as the cast can hold it together.

The rise of Harris

Saints fans have known all along that Deonte Harris was a special player but the entire league may find out soon. 

Sean Payton has a knack for finding playmakers in the preseason and unleashing them as they develop. We’ve seen Harris as a dynamic punt and kick returner but against the Bears, he emerged as the Saints’ newest weapon out of the huddle. He ended up the Saints’ leading receiver with seven catches for 83 yards. Not only did he get open in the seems with ease, he regularly shook off defenders to get yards after the catch. At 5-foot-6, Harris is hard to tackle and displays a burst of breakaway speed. He’s a player that can create a ton of mismatches down the road.

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