The New Orleans Saints will welcome the NFL’s reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, a week after losing 24-21 to the then 3-8-1 Philadelphia Eagles.
The Saints, coming into Week 14, were riding a nine-game win streak.
After a slow 1-2 start to the season, a stretch that included losses to the Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders, the Saints regained momentum and, despite having several one-score and come-from-behind wins, won for over two straight months.
They were looking like the best team in the NFC for that stretch, but it was abruptly ended against the Eagles. It was a brutal game, one in which the Saints lost their streak of not giving up a single 100-yard rusher to an opponent.
They actually gave up 100-plus yards to both Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders. It was a brutal performance, one in which the Saints failed to score in the first half then came out with back-to-back touchdowns in the second half.
Let’s just say the team’s overall performance, and more especially their play offensively, didn’t sit well with head coach Sean Payton.
"“I said, ‘Man, we looked flat, we didn’t look ready to play,’ and that’s a reflection on me. And that’s upsetting. And so, I’ve got to do a better job of making sure – I don’t think we played well in any phase. I’m watching it again right now – offensively it’s sloppy. Screens, the naked (bootlegs), the run game, it looks awful,” Payton told neworleanssaints.com’s John DeShazier."
Getting his fourth straight of the season, Taysom Hill had two turnovers. They also ran the ball just 20 times, nearly doubled by the Eagles’ aggressive run game that included an 82-yard touchdown run by Sanders.
Defensively, the Saints just failed to contain Sanders and Hurts. First-time starter Hurts didn’t hurt them in the pocket, passing for just 17 completions and failing to get any receiver over 50 yards.
Hill almost doubled up Hurts in terms of passing yards. While that’s great news you’d think, the Saints have thrived off being a dominant run offense the last few weeks. They just weren’t able to move the ball on Sunday.
Averaging almost three sacks per game and with a few of the best defensive ends in football, the Saints also failed to get Hurts on the ground once.
So, yes, Payton was right, and it was an “awful” game, but for now, there’s always next week.