The New Orleans Saints scored 35 unanswered points to come back after starting down 14-0. Their defensive line helped ignite that swift change.
Over the last few weeks, the Saints have held opposing running backs in check, but they haven’t done a great job at pressuring the quarterback.
One of their stronger units hasn’t been dominant, and it’s hurt their chances of winning. In their Week 2 Monday Night Football matchup with the Raiders, they got Derek Carr on the ground just twice. Then, last week, they managed to get to Aaron Rodgers just once.
Allowing time for the quarterbacks has been an issue for the Saints, one they typically don’t have. However, in Week 4, while they were still without Marcus Davenport, the Saints did get David Onyemata back. He missed the team’s Sunday Night Football showdown with Green Bay.
A huge part of the defensive line, Onyemata, Jordan and Trey Hendrickson all made timely sacks that completely changed the game. Although they got Matthew Stafford on the ground just three times, those three all came at critical times in the game.
One was on a 3rd and 3 in the middle of the second quarter when the Saints were trailing 14-7, halting the Lions drive. Another was late in the game on 3rd and 4 when the Saints again putting a stop to the Lions drive.
For the depleted line, seeing their impact on the game should help boost their morale, especially as superstar defensive end Cam Jordan finally got his first sack of the season.
That said, we’ve seen great performances from the line and downright sad performances, but what we have learned is that they’re of utmost importance. With timely tackles, if the team had done that against the Packers, they would’ve won the game.
The defensive line doesn’t do it all on their own as the team has to work together, but at the end of the day, they are one of the most critical factors for success for New Orleans.
Both the offensive and defensive lines are arguably the most important units in football, and having elite options on both sides is just another reason why the Saints are among the best teams in the NFL.