So, what is the verdict? Should Saints fan be optimistic or worried after a loss to the Chiefs?
Unfortunately, there is not a binary answer to that question. Kansas City is by far the league’s best team, so the fact they were able to be competitive against them with so many injuries is encouraging. A lot of the credit has to go to the defense.
They pressured Mahomes all day long, while the pass coverage held up as well as anyone could against the Chiefs. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen did a marvelous job staying disciplined by rushing with four and playing with two deep safeties, which allowed them to frustrate Kansas City.
At the same time, that discipline wasn’t consistent. New Orleans gifted the Chiefs with five first downs on penalty, and poor play-calling by Payton put the team in a bind- they went 1-11 on third downs and struggled with stick management.
This is something that has come back to bite the Saints in the past, but, at the same time, these are unstable areas of football that could easily regress positively for them.
Right now, the Saints are absolutely beaten down. Brees isn’t anywhere close to 100%, and without Thomas and now Smith, New Orleans needs to hope his struggles were more due to being rusty than a sign of him continuing to play poorly due to injury.
Meanwhile, recent defensive injuries could significantly hamper their ability to defend the pass.
Most of all, Sunday’s loss to the Saints should teach them a lesson- you can’t win with defense and veterans. An impressive defensive performance led to 32 points scored by the Chiefs, because, at the end of the day, good offenses beat good defenses.
Meanwhile, New Orleans’ lack of athleticism and youth has clearly been on display when they have faced athletic, horizontal offenses, while they also are struggling to generate chunk plays on offense.
Hopefully, this was just a strange game that the Saints can quickly move on from. Weird games just seem to find this organization, and in the future, they will hope to recapture their mid-season form.
Their ability to do so this year will be the difference if they don’t want another season to end on a sour note.