New Orleans Saints: 5 quick takeaways from Week 2 loss to Panthers

Paulson Adebo, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
Paulson Adebo, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) /

Well… That was gross. After blowing out the Packers in Week 1, the New Orleans Saints followed it up with an unbelievably sloppy game in Week 2, losing in ugly fashion to the Panthers.

Let’s just get this out of the way — This was a bad game for New Orleans where little went right for them. They were down eight coaches due to positive COVID-19 tests and injuries definitely played a factor in the beatdown NOLA took in Charlotte.

Here are five quick takeaways from an ugly loss that we need to burn and forget.

Injuries Galore

I mentioned how banged up this team was entering this game and guess what? The Saints played like a banged up team missing eight coaches on their sideline. It was a really bad game on both sides of the ball and injuries are an easy thing to blame as to why.

On defense, NOLA was missing Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Davenport, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Kwon Alexander to name a few. On offense, Erik McCoy was the main big name missing and his absence made a huge difference, as the offensive line got wrecked in this one.

Speaking of…

Putrid Offensive Line Performance

The Saints pride themselves on having one of the best offensive lines in the NFL but you wouldn’t know that was the case when watching this game. The o-line got destroyed on every play with Jameis Winston getting sacked three times while getting hit eight times total.

It was an atrocious performance by a group that’s usually pretty good but McCoy missing the game was pivotal. Cesar Ruiz struggled at center and Andrus Peat was pushed around at left guard. All in all, it was a bad day for this unit, and hopefully, this isn’t a trend that continues.

No one did much of anything…

After a Week 1 performance in which it was hard to critique anyone, this Week 2 loss was the opposite situation. Jameis Winston struggled but not having good pass protection didn’t help him at all and I’d argue that he did the best he could in a bad situation.

Alvin Kamara barely made a dent in the Carolina defense but once the team got down 17-0, it was hard for him to really get involved much. When he did get a chance, he ran what felt like 30 yards on 2nd and Goal that started on the one-yard line.

Marquez Callaway barely got in on the action. The tight ends were nowhere to be found in the receiving game but maybe that’s because they were asked to help block for their quarterback. Nothing went right for this team.

Blake Gillikin for MVP

When I said no one did much of anything in this loss, I should have excluded Blake Gillikin, as he was the star for the Saints. It’s never a good thing when your punter is the MVP from a game though but that’s how this game went for NOLA.

Gillikin was booting punts deep all afternoon long and is looking to be a real game-changer on special teams for this Saints squad.

Welcome to the NFL, Payton Turner

There was a lot of confusion when the Saints elected to take Payton Turner in the first round of this year’s draft. It looked like an even more puzzling decision when he was a healthy scratch for Week 1.

In his NFL debut, however, Turner looked the part of a first-round pick. He finished the game with five tackles (three for loss) while notching his first NFL sack. It was good to see something positive on the defensive side of the ball but Turner had his fair share of blunders too, with some really bad penalties called on him.

This was not a good game from the Saints and they’re now 1-1 with a date with the Patriots lingering in Week 3. Hopefully, this poor performance was the result of missing eight coaches and being down several starters on defense because this was rough to watch.

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