The New Orleans Saints got shut out by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12, and the stats are just as ugly as you think they are.
The last time the Saints got shut out was more than two decades ago in the 2001 season. NOLA's offense has been inconsistent all throughout this year, so the final score doesn't come as a huge surprise. This loss arguably hurts less than, say, their defeat to the Steelers since the 49ers represent a serious playoff contending team, especially after that dominant defensive outing. Kudos to them.
In a game in which the Saints couldn't even muster a field goal, the numbers are going to be pretty horrendous.
Here are some Week 12 stats that are difficult to digest.
0 points scored
This is a no-brainer. Through four quarters, the Saints couldn't get a single point on the board, albeit against one of the best defenses in the league.
The Saints went into this matchup knowing they were the weaker team and the 49ers' defense took advantage of every weakness. In the first half, the Saints were limited to five plays or fewer each drive, all of which ended in punts (except for the game-opening fumble).
Wil Lutz missed a 48-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter, marking his career-high sixth missed field goal this season. It was just one of those days for the offense where everything that could go wrong went wrong.
Blame Murphy's law.
Time of possession
So this ties into the whole "0 points scored" thing. As to be expected for a team that got shut out, the Saints' offense didn't see the field a whole lot in Week 12.
ESPN's Mike Triplett breaks down the very lopsided time of possession below.
There was no run game whatsoever and only brief spurts of a toothless passing attack. Can't win the game if you don't have the ball.
Defense couldn't force any turnovers (again)
This is getting ridiculous. The Saints have faced three of the most turnover-prone quarterbacks in the last three weeks and have been unable to record a pick. They came up empty-handed against Steelers' Kenny Pickett, Los Angeles Rams' Matthew Stafford, and most recently, 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo,
While Ceedy Duce thrives week after week in Philly, the Saints' supposedly elite defense is getting harder to justify given the unit's lack of big plays.
Tyrann Mathieu is the only Saints player with any picks, and he has just two this season. New Orleans' secondary is going to get a long, hard look next offseason.
Dalton team-high 21 rushing yards
We're not sure how Dalton ranks as Pro Football Focus' fifth-best quarterback based on passing grade in 2022, but we do know Dalton is a better passer than he is a runner.
And if Dalton is leading the team in rushing yards at the end of the game, it's usually dreadful news.
In Week 12, Andy Dalton finished with a team-high 21 rushing yards on four carries; behind him, Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara had 13 yards each, Mark Ingram had 10 yards, and Rashid Shaheed had six. That adds to a grand total of 63 rushing yards for an average of 2.9 yards per carry.
There simply is no ideal scenario in which the Red Rifle is leading the team in rushing yards. The Saints' run game is officially leg-less.
Kamara 2 fumbles
This one hurts our soul. Star running back Alvin Kamara is making history in 2022 but for all the wrong reasons.
He fumbled twice in the 49ers game, once on the opening drive and once on San Francisco's 1-yard line, and while we could have pardoned the former, the latter made us feel indescrible pain.
Kamara now has a career-high four fumbles this season, which is shockingly more than his touchdown total (three).
After putting together five consecutive Pro Bowl years, Kamara has slid to a screeching halt in 2022, recording ghastly numbers in an injury-plagued campaign.
Given the current state of the Saints' season, it's difficult to say whether Kamara has a future in NOLA. At 27 years old and playing one of football's most bruising positions, he could find himself on the trading block along with washed-up star Michael Thomas.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.