Saints, Redskins Week 5: Observations from the cheap seats

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News, notes, and observations from the Saints Week 5 game against the Washington Redskins from Oct. 8, 2018 on Monday Night Football.

On a night when NFL history was made, the New Orleans Saints decided the complete coronation of Drew Brees to the upper echelon of great NFL quarterbacks should be accompanied by the most complete and dominant performance of the season thus far.

The Washington Redskins were not a pushover team. At 2-1, they’d matched up defensively very well with their prior opponents. They were also coming off a bye week, so they were as healthy and rested as they might be this season. They featured Alex Smith, one of the league’s more accurate passers. Smith has long been a thorn in the side of the Saints, most memorably in the 2011 playoffs as the QB for the San Francisco 49ers.

Sometimes you simply don’t know what lies in the minds and hearts of NFL teams. We know the Saints were focused on making Brees’ night special. And we know they were looking for a win. What we couldn’t see coming was the performance they posted against the Redskins Monday night.

This was a Saints team on a mission. It’s as though they’d been maligned and had a point to prove. It started where most great performances start, in the trenches. The Redskins defensive front had been touted as solid and they did get to Brees a few times sacking him twice and hurrying him a few times.

But Brees was 26 of 29 for 363 yards and three touchdowns on his way to becoming the record holder for most passing yards in a career, a career not close to being over. So, whatever the Redskins mustered, our offensive line countered well.

The D-line has been improving weekly, and this was the most exemplary case of that. Alex Smith was sacked three times and hurried/dropped after a pass many more times. He was never comfortable in the pocket.

The return of Mark Ingram was triumphant as he got two touchdowns and, much more importantly, gave Alvin Kamara a much-needed break from trying to shoulder the load of the offense. While Michael Thomas dealt with double teams, again, Brees was able to spread the ball around like we’re used to seeing. As well, we got to see the coming out party of Tre’Quan Smith, who we all believe will become quite a solid receiver in this league.

Suffice it to say, this team was what we expected them to be on Monday night. This is the Saints team we were hoping to be getting. And the wonderful thing is they can still get better.

Every now and then, the bye week comes at something of an inopportune time. This might be one of those times, as the Saints seem to be gaining momentum. Hopefully the week off will help to let some guys who are playing hurt heal, and we come back stronger.