The New Orleans Saints found a way to overcome a rough start as they defeated the Tennessee Titans on Week 16.
After a record-breaking performance by future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees the New Orleans Saints (11-3) visited the Nissan Stadium to face a hungry Tennessee Titans (8-6) team who have their sights set on making the playoffs.
The Tennessee Titans and quarterback Ryan Tannehill got off to a fast start jumping ahead 14-0 on the New Orleans Saints defense.
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill connected with his tight end Jonnu Smith for a 41-yard touchdown strike, and later Titans rookie wide receiver would take an end of the round for a 49-yard touchdown.
The New Orleans Saints offense got off to a sluggish start with nine first-half penalties for 65 yards, causing the Saints offense to stall going three and out on their first four possessions of the game before finally settling down.
New Orleans Saints quarterback would connect with former Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook on a 61-yard touchdown strike; the touchdown would be a career-high seventh for Jared Cook for the season as the Brees-to-Cook connection continues to give opposing defenses nightmares.
The Saints entered the second half ready to make amends for that horrific start.
New Orleans Saints rookie Pro Bowl kick returner Deonte Harris would take the second half kick to midfield, setting the Saints up with excellent field position.
Three plays later Saints running back Alvin Kamara would find the endzone on an electrifying 40-yard touchdown run which would be his first touchdown since Week 3.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Karma would again find the endzone for his second score of the game making the score 24-14.
The Tennessee Titans would respond back with a score of their own when Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill connected with wide receiver Tajae Sharpe for a 36-yard touchdown throw making it a three-point game late in the third quarter.
Rookie pro bowl kick returner Deonte Harris again would give the Saints ideal field position in this game. Harris would finish the game with 150 return yards on four attempts for a 37.5 average.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense would take advantage of the short field afforded to them by Harris after a third and one conversion by “Swiss Army Knife ” Taysom Hill.
Saints HoF hopeful Drew Brees would connect with Taysom Hill on a deep corner route setting up another magnificent throw and catch between Brees and Cook.
Cook would finish the game with three catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns with a 28 yard per catch average.
The Saints’ defense would come alive in the second half. They harrassed Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, pressuring and sacking him five times on the day.
Rookie defensive back CJ Gardener Johnson continues to impress with every snap played. His aggressive play in run support has been phenomenal and he has a tremendous knack for the ball.
On the play of the game with Tennessee only down by three threatening to put points on the board late in the fourth quarter recently signed veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins and CJ Gardener Johnson hit Titans wide receiver Kalif Raymond forcing a fumble that CJ Gardener Johnson scooped up and returned to the Titans 20-yard line.
From there it was time for history to be made yet again for another member of the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans Saints All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas surpassed Colts great Marvin Harrison on the all-time reception list with his 145th reception that resulted in a touchdown when Drew Brees found him on a crossing route late in the fourth to seal the victory for the Saints.
Michael Thomas would finish the game with 11 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. It would be the ninth time this year that Thomas has had double-digit catches in a game.
Overall the New Orleans Saints are 12-3 and still have their sights set on the coveted No. 1 seed. There’s still some work to be done in the secondary, but I believe with the emergence of CJ Gardener Johnson and the added addition of veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins the secondary may have the pieces it needs to push deep into the playoffs.
Offensively the New Orleans Saints should be getting some key players back on the offensive line that should shore up some of the leakages in protection.
The New Orleans Saints have to take care of what they can take care of and let the chips fall where they may. I believe the Saints are peeking at the right time of the season and they looked poised to win in any situation.