The NOLA Saints‘ 2021 season didn’t end with a playoff berth but the team finished with a 9-8 record despite everything thrown their way.
If you had told Saints fans at the beginning of the season that they’d be without Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Ryan Ramczyk, Terron Armstead, Erik McCoy, and Wil Lutz for at least a portion of the season, they probably wouldn’t have expected a winning record.
That’s the beauty of having Sean Payton as a coach though. This team persevered and won nine games despite all of the obstacles they had to navigate.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at four of the best things we took away from New Orleans’ 2021 season.
It’s safe to say that without the Saints’ defense wheeling and dealing every week that this team would not have won more many more games after Winston was lost for the season. They managed to win nine games total and the defense was a major reason for why this team was still in the playoff hunt in the final week of the season.
Per Pro Football Reference, New Orleans was fourth in total defense in 2021, allowing the fourth-fewest rushing yards, and were eighth in the league in sacks.
The most impressive outing by the NOLA defense was easily in Week 15 when they went into Tampa Bay without Sean Payton on the sidelines and shut out Tom Brady and the Bucs. The Bucs failed to put a single point on the board and the Saints D still deserves a huge round of applause for not only slowing down one of the best offenses in the league but keeping them off the scoreboard altogether.
It’s no doubt that one of the best things we saw from the black and gold this year was their dominant defense.