New Orleans Saints: 3 clear points of weakness in shootout loss to Niners
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has been having an impressive season so far in the playing time that he’s been given. He managed to get the first interception of his career last week against the Falcons. As a result, Johnson earned himself some more minutes in Sunday’s matchup.
His time on the field was not the greatest showcase of his ability, however.
The Saints’ defense boasted an undesirable title coming into Sunday’s matchup. Their defense led the league in penalties committed in third-down situations, and Johnson added to their lead single-handedly.
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Twice in the same drive, Johnson committed a penalty in a third-down situation that had the potential to stop the 49ers and give possession to the Saints to take the lead. Both penalties occurred in the fourth quarter on a pivotal drive that eventually led to a 49ers touchdown, which extended their lead to nine at the time.
Because of these errors, the Saints’ offense was forced to play from behind for the majority of the fourth quarter. Because of some Brees magic, the team managed to reclaim the lead and all the defense had to do was make a stop on a 4th and two.
Of course, George Kittle took a quick pass 39 yards downfield and put the Niners in position to win the game on a chip shot field goal.
Who was responsible for covering Kittle? Chauncey Gardner-Johnson of course.
Johnson only had two tackles in this game by the end. Any time a player has as many penalties as tackles, it’s a poor showing for that player. Johnson is still young and adapting to the speed of the NFL, for sure.
He has a lot of upside and it seems like most of his errors come from being too eager to make a play. I’m sure he’ll get some special attention in practice this week. Three chances to make a stop and three failures definitely put Johnson in the equation for one of the Saints’ biggest problems this week.