While the New Orleans Saints kicked off the Dennis Allen era with a win, it wasn't a pretty win by any stretch of the imagination. The good guys might have won the ball game but they were trailing 16-7 at the half and were down by as much as 16 going into the fourth quarter.
The win was nice but there were plenty of stats from the game that the Saints should be embarrassed about. Let's dive into the stats from the Saints/Falcons game that were simply unacceptable.
Jameis Winston sacked 4 times
While it was easy to look at New Orleans' offensive production (or lack thereof) in the first half and point the finger at Jameis Winston, the offensive line was the unit that was mostly to blame there.
We knew there'd be some hard times for this group considering that Terron Armstead is now wearing teal and blocking for Tua Tagovailoa. James Hurst is a good backup but when asked to be the every week starter, the struggles shine through.
Hurst did actually finish with decent numbers from PFF, as did Ryan Ramczyk, which isn't a surprise. Andrus Peat and Cesar Ruiz, however, both struggled mightily, proving that the Saints have to make the guard position a priority next offseason. Yes, we can go ahead and say that even after one game.
Winston and the o-line looked much better in the second half but that was because Winston started getting the ball out much quicker. The offense thrived as a result but the fact of the matter is that if this team wants to go anywhere this year, the o-line HAS to be better.
201 yards rushing allowed
Saints fans entered the season expecting big things from the defense but they were sorely disappointed to see how poorly the d-line performed in Week 1. I'm not sure why the Falcons even attempted to throw the ball considering the success they were having against New Orleans' defensive line.
It felt like every time Cordarrelle Patterson touched the football that he was breaking off a massive run. The utility player finished with 120 yards and a touchdown off of 22 carries while Marcus Mariota added 72 yards and a touchdown off of 12 carries.
Altogether, Atlanta's run game finished with 201 yards on the ground. Patterson was the third player NOLA allowed 100+ yards rushing to, which was not something any of us expected to be the case ahead of the game.
Teams are going to make note of New Orleans' poor performance against the run and their offenses are going to run the ball down their throat. They have to shore things up and be able to stop the run or it's going to be a long season.
Zero sacks on Mariota
Had the Saints lost this game, which they were on track to do, it would have been because they got beat badly in the trenches. Not only did the offensive line fail to give Winston ample protection but the defensive line failed to create pressure on Marcus Mariota, who was making his first start with the Falcons.
Mariota is a running quarterback and the Saints have always struggled to contain those players. They also got off to a slow start in the sack category last year too (in fact, Cameron Jordan didn't notch his first sack until Week 7) so maybe it's just another slow start for the pass rush.
Hopefully, the pass rush can explode onto the scene next week and put Tom Brady on the ground a few times.
Kamara with only 46 total yards
It was nice to have Alvin Kamara in the offense considering it felt like a lengthy suspension was going to happen but the former Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 didn't make much of an impact in this game. He had just 39 yards rushing off of nine carries and grabbed just three catches for a measly seven yards.
Running the ball wasn't much of an option after the team was down by 16 points in the fourth quarter and the offensive line made it a difficult task to run in the first half. Still, Kamara should have been targeted more when the o-line's protection wasn't holding up.
Kamara is the star of this offense and when he's on point, it's hard to slow him down. The Saints need to make sure he's more involved next week against the Buccaneers.
What stats from the Saints game did you find inexcusable?