Turn the Page on 2022 New Orleans Saints: Numbers Don’t Lie

New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith during the first half in Pittsburgh. Photo Credit: Don Wright / AP

The New Orleans Saints have hit a new low.

At 3-7, it’s time to turn the page on this season. Rip the Band-Aid off now.

Face facts and admit that these Saints are not going anywhere in 2022, and major changes are needed – starting at the top with Dennis Allen. It’s their worst start since the Hurricane Katrina season 2005.

The Saints have been lifeless for two games in a row. First the Monday Night Football beatdown by the Ravens, then Sunday’s lifeless show at Pittsburgh.

Seems hard to believe Sunday’s game was tied 10-10. Andy Dalton even led a nice 2-minute drill before halftime.

But after receiving the second half kickoff, the Saints did absolutely nothing.

Why don’t we let the numbers tell the story?


Bad teams do bad things.

The Saints are the third-most penalized team in the NFL, averaging 7.2 penalties per game. This can’t happen 10 weeks into the season if they hope to win consistently.

Dennis Allen’s response?

“It’s disappointing.”

We’ll get them corrected.”

He doesn’t get it.

Don’t get me wrong, Dennis Allen thrived as Saints’ defensive coordinator. I think the Saints should’ve kept him in that role.

Back to Sunday, six defensive penalties gave the Steelers first downs. But it’s not just on defense.

The Saints’ first drive of each half began with – you guessed it – penalties. Offensive guard Calvin Throckmorton leads the team with five false starts on the year. That’s a lot of mistakes.

They’re simply not resilient enough to overcome these crucial errors week after week.

Team leader Cam Jordan put it bluntly, “It’s a disgusting feeling. We have to find our way, or this is going to be the result of every game.”


Najee Harris and the Pittsburgh Steelers ran for 217 yards Sunday. The New Orleans Saints mustered just 29 yards as a team. Photo Credit: Getty Images

So much for Alvin Kamara’s breakout performance against the Raiders (who are now 2-7).

The Saints’ 29 rushing yards at Pittsburgh were their fewest in nearly 12 years.

They had 27 rushing yards in a 30-24 loss to the Ravens on Dec. 19, 2010 (thanks to Jeff Duncan for that ugly statistic). It’s only the 11th time in team history when they’ve run for fewer than 30 yards in a game.

Not surprisingly, they’ve lost all 11 times.

On the other hand, the Steelers had a season-high 217 rushing yards on 43 attempts (5.0 yards per carry).

Time of possession tells a similar story:

  • Steelers 38:56
  • Saints 21:04

The Steelers sustained drives against the Saints’ defense (28 first downs to the Saints’ 10). The formula for winning football games is pretty simple – players have to do their jobs. Don’t commit penalties, and take care of the football.

Speaking of that…


The Saints sit in the cellar of the NFC South, and they also remain last in the NFL in some other grim categories:

  • Giveaways (19)
  • Turnover margin (-12)
  • Defensive interceptions (2).

Former Saint and current Eagles safety CJ Gardner-Johnson racked up his sixth interception last night. That leads the NFL

Anybody else sick?

Jan. 1 in Philadelphia should be quite the rematch. Too bad nothing will be on the line.

Remarkably, the Saints are favored in Week 11 against the Rams.

When I saw Dennis Allen’s message for this week, I literally rolled my eyes.

To borrow a line from a famous ESPN segment – Come on, man!

We should have heard this much, much earlier – after the Bengals game a month ago. Instead, because the Saints are still “mathematically alive” in the playoff chase, we’ve heard nothing but rosy optimism from Dennis Allen.

Meanwhile the Saints are missing tackles, committing turnovers and penalties, and looking out of position and uninspired overall.

Now the L.A. Rams (3-6) are also going nowhere fast. Cooper Kupp is out Sunday (ankle surgery), and QB Matthew Stafford didn’t play in their loss at Arizona.

But seriously, come on, man. We the fans have clamored for leadership all season long. Can the Saints cobble together a win against another struggling team?

New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen meets with reporters after an NFL football game at Pittsburgh on Sunday, Nov. 13. Photo Credit: Don Wright / AP.


Let me know in the comments below:

  • What change would you like to see the Saints make before the season ends? Is it time to fire coach Dennis Allen and start a fresh coaching search?

Who’s Ready for a Wild Finish in the NFC South?

New Orleans Saints DE Payton Turner sacks Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr. Photo Credit: Michael Johnson / Nola.com

Will the real New Orleans Saints please stand up?

I wrote last week how the Saints were “borderline unwatchable” against Arizona.

What’s the opposite of that? Completely watchable? That’s how the Saints played in their 24-0 shutout of the Raiders.

That dominant winand it was dominant – puts the Saints right in the thick of the NFC South hunt. The leaders are the Falcons at 4-4 (the only division foe the Saints have beaten), the Bucs and Saints are tied at 3-5, and the Panthers are 2-6 after an overtime heartbreaker Sunday.

Everybody plays each other one more time. Buckle up.

If you’re like me, with Thanksgiving around the corner, you’re starting to think about ingredients to cook your favorite recipes. So here are two key ingredients for the Saints to keep winning.


If you need a reminder of how strong the Saints’ defense was against the Raiders, it’s this statistic right here:

The Raiders didn’t cross midfield until 2:25 remained in the game.

Derek Carr wasn’t even in at QB anymore; it was Jarrett Stidham in relief. Say no more.

We wanted to see that “swagger” from the whole Saints team, but especially the defense – and boy did they bring it. The energy was palpable, especially after each of their 4 sacks, two by Payton Turner and one by David Onyemata.

That brings their season sack total up to a much more respectable 19, but who’s counting?

A few more nuggets for the defense to use for motivation as Monday night’s home game against Baltimore and QB Lamar Jackson looms:

  • They held Raiders RB Josh Jacobs to 43 rushing yards. But we know the Ravens are a different beast with Lamar Jackson. And the Saints aren’t the best at defending dual-threat QBs even when they’re a highly-ranked defense. (Cue bad memories of Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen last season). The run defense needs to show up again – the Ravens average 165.6 yards rushing per game and 5.7 yards per carry.
  • CB Alontae Taylor kept Davante Adams in check (1 catch for 3 yards). He’s definitely one to keep watching.
  • The Saints won the turnover battle thanks to Tyrann Mathieu’s second-quarter interception (he dropped another one on the Raiders’ final drive), and equally as important, the offense capitalized off the turnover with a touchdown – not a field goal. That’s the complementary football they need to win the NFC South.


New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) eludes Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Divine Deablo (5). Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY

Alvin Kamara woke up big time Sunday.

He scored all three of the Saints’ touchdowns and racked up 158 total yards.

As a whole, the Saints were as balanced as it gets on offense.

32 rushes for 136 yards. 31 passes for 231 yards.

Controlling the clock 34:51 to 25:09.

QB Andy Dalton was not sacked.

But – the elephant in the room. Injuries at WR.

Dennis Allen announced today Michael Thomas is officially on IR with his toe injury. I don’t think Saints fans anywhere are surprised to see this.

But we have to move on. Thomas has played a grand total of three games this season. Caught 16 passes for 171 yards and 3 TDs.

Hopefully we’ll learn more about Jarvis Landry’s status for Monday night. I’d love to see more production from Rashid Shaheed and of course Taysom Hill in the running & receiving game. Good things happen when he’s on the field.

We talked about the Ravens’ rushing offense earlier, but don’t sleep on the Saints’ rushing attack. They average 141.2 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry through eight games. If the Saints can jump out to a lead Monday like they did against the Raiders, running the ball and chewing up clock with Alvin Kamara’s legs will be their best friend.


We’re almost halfway through the football season – Week 9 starts tonight with the undefeated Eagles facing the Texans. (Could it be a game ripe for an upset?!) I’ve always said Thursday Night Football is the ultimate equalizer. Philadelphia is trying to go 8-0, Houston has the worst rushing defense in the NFL, it’s Jalen Hurts’ homecoming …

OK, back to the Saints.

They’re nowhere close to the Eagles in the NFC. However, their goal of winning a division title is still right in front of them. That’s how wild the NFC South is. They got their must-win game. Now it’s time to keep the momentum going and put together a winning streak.

Easier said than done with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens coming to town.

A national TV audience will be watching. Will the Saints be ready Monday night?


Let me know in the comments below:

  • Can the Saints beat the Ravens and gain ground in the NFC South?
  • Who will win the NFC South?

Andy Dalton to Replace Jameis Winston as Saints QB

Matt York / AP Photo

Who cares?

That was literally my thought when I heard Andy Dalton will replace Jameis Winston as starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints Sunday against the Raiders.

And not just Sunday, but for the foreseeable future.

It’s news, don’t get me wrong. But the quarterback can’t fix this team’s pitiful turnovers and self-destruction all on his own.

The Saints were borderline unwatchable last Thursday night in a loss at Arizona. My friend and columnist Jeff Duncan eloquently wrote that the Saints are everyone’s “get-right” team.

I don’t know how it got this bad this fast, but I do know one thing. Somehow, the Saints could still snag a playoff berth.

But the pressure is on. If they want it bad enough, we need to see passion. Fire. Fundamentals.

Keep reading.


With a win Sunday at Atlanta, the Panthers will be in first place in an unimpressive NFC South.

Need I remind you they fired coach Matt Rhule three weeks ago and have benched Baker Mayfield for P.J. Walker.

Everything the Saints want in the division is still in front of them, remarkably, because doors have been opened by other teams (Tampa Bay Bucs, we’re looking at you).

But the Panthers are no joke. They were 13.5-point underdogs to the Bucs after trading away Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey and still pulled a 21-3 upset. They’re not just a team that’s looking to “keep doing what we’re doing.”

I despise coach-speak.

Interim coach Steve Wilks is restoring pride in the Panthers. Look what Wilks said this week:

“I stood in front of these guys at the beginning when I first took over here, and I said, ‘you know, in order for us to go forward, we are going to have to surrender their individual me for the greater we.’ That’s what it’s all about.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to see a little fire from Dennis Allen? I bet it would translate to the rest of the Saints.

They have born leaders like Demario Davis, who admitted that the team “had to get back to our swagger.”

I know they’re hurt. Michael Thomas is about to miss his fifth game and Jarvis Landry his fourth. I’m sorry – health is no excuse. every NFL team battles injuries.

The Saints have no time to waste.


Cara Owsley / The Enquirer

One more thing: the Saints must correct self-inflicted mistakes.

I’m talking basic fundamentals.

I’ve said it all year – I love the Saints, but they’re simply not good enough to make even one mistake, let alone throw three interceptions if they want to win a game.

Let’s look at their two wins this season.

  1. at Atlanta: turnover margin +1 (1 fumble lost, 2 fumbles recovered)
  2. vs. Seattle: turnover margin -1 (1 fumble lost, 1 Dalton interception, 1 fumble recovered)

How were they able to win vs. Seattle with a negative turnover margin? It wasn’t easy – the Seahawks scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. But the Saints won time of possession by 15 minutes (37:35-22:25), went 3-for-3 in the red zone and rushed for 235 yards (4.9 yards per rush).

We all know red zone efficiency went out the window in Week 6 against the Bengals (1-for-5), when the Saints were +1 in turnover margin but crumbled late.

Turnovers win and lose games. The Saints are dead last in the NFL at -10 total turnover margin and 16 giveaways.

But what’s most striking of all? The giveaways directly led to 28 opponent points. The Saints have been outscored by 25 so far this season.


Until the Saints win a game, my thoughts will be consistent on the quarterback situation.

Who cares?

Whether it’s Andy Dalton or Jameis Winston, the Saints just need a starter who can take care of the football, stick to the fundamentals and execute, especially in the red zone.

Their season depends on it.


Let me know in the comments below:

  • What’s your prediction for Sunday against the Raiders?
  • What about the rest of the NFC South? Are you surprised it’s so mediocre?

New Orleans Saints Need to Fight for the NFC South Title

It’s extremely hard to win a football game when your defense is on the field for 41 minutes and 92 snaps. But remarkably, with Drew Brees admittedly not 100 percent and an offense missing top target Michael Thomas and only converting 1 of 11 on third down, the New Orleans Saints came pretty close.

But close doesn’t cut it against Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Despite the Saints defense playing championship caliber – forcing a season-high six Chiefs punts, sacking Mahomes four times and forcing a fumble that led to a quick touchdown – the Saints only led for 4 minutes and 53 seconds in the third quarter and eventually lost, 32-29.

Ultimately, the Saints defense rose to the occasion against Mahomes’ magic, but missed opportunities doomed the Saints’ hopes for an upset.  They committed 10 penalties, including one that resulted in Cam Jordan’s ejection, Brees threw an early interception during his 0-for-6 start that led to a Chiefs touchdown,  - and there was the ultimate blown opportunity when the Saints (ahem, Alex Anzalone, pictured) couldn’t recover Demarcus Robinson’s fumble in the end zone, resulting in a safety instead of a game-tying touchdown to close the first half.Ultimately, the Saints defense rose to the occasion against Mahomes’ magic, but missed opportunities doomed the Saints’ hopes for an upset. They committed 10 penalties, including one that resulted in Cam Jordan’s ejection, Brees threw an early interception during his 0-for-6 start that led to a Chiefs touchdown,

and there was the ultimate blown opportunity when the Saints (ahem, Alex Anzalone, pictured) couldn’t recover Demarcus Robinson’s fumble in the end zone, resulting in a safety instead of a game-tying touchdown to close the first half.

What Does It Mean?

This loss is painful to swallow when the 10-4 Saints realize they still have work to do now on a two-game skid, and on a short week with the NFC South title still yet to be clinched. (The Falcons blew yet another second-half lead Sunday to Tom Brady and the Bucs, so Tampa Bay is right there at 9-5). So sure, it would have been nice to lock up the title with an upset over the Chiefs, but at this point the Saints just have to get it done.

New Orleans has two more NFC games left, starting on Christmas Day hosting the Minnesota Vikings, who must win out and get help to make the postseason. If the Saints want to remain the No. 2 seed behind Green Bay, their final two games are virtual must-wins. See the playoff picture.

It’s time for the Saints to take care of business and fight for what they want – as a team. Maybe the Saints will get another chance at the Chiefs at full strength in Super Bowl LV. But first priority is a fourth straight NFC South title.

Now doesn’t that sound like a great Christmas gift for New Orleans?