Just how bad was the New Orleans Saints’ offense in 2021? 3,186 yards bad.
That’s how many net passing yards the Saints finished their regular season with, losing out to even the pitiful New York Giants, who had 100 more net passing yards.
At least NOLA never tried a quarterback sneak on a 3rd-and-9. Sean Payton won’t stoop that low.
Payton still somehow squeezed enough juice out of this team to record a 9-8 winning season, which should be viewed as an even more incredible achievement considering the fact that the Saints ranked dead last in net passing yards this year.
For reference, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished with nearly twice as many (5,229 yards).
It feels like eons since Drew Brees last played under center for the Saints. In 2021 alone, NOLA started four different quarterbacks, each with his own flaws and deficiencies.
New Orleans Saints finish last in the league in net passing yards in 2021
But the quarterback isn’t just to blame: with NOLA’s All-Pro offensive tackles missing time, the Saints also sputtered in the run game. Alvin Kamara rushed for a career-high 240 times this season but recorded 898 yards, just slightly more than what he achieved in 2019. Kamara also averaged 3.7 rushing yards per attempt and caught a career-low 47 passes for 439 receiving yards.
And yet, Kamara ranked third on the team in receiving yards. It only gets worse.
The top three wide receivers, Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, and Tre’Quan Smith, combined for 1,645 receiving yards in total. Cooper Kupp beats them all with 1,947 yards on the year, and Justin Jefferson and Davante Adams come in close with 1,616 yards and 1,553 yards respectively.
No one needs to see the stats to know how pitiful New Orleans were on the offensive side of the ball, though. Of the nine games the Saints did win, some of them were absolutely excruciating to watch.
Any fan who sat through an entire game without cursing out the quarterback or any one of the wide receivers (or Adam Trautman, for that matter) deserves a medal.
Thankfully, that sickening chapter of the Saints’ offensive production in 2021 should be closed. Next season, we only pray that games get a little more watchable.