Merry Christmas, Who Dat Nation! The New Orleans Saints gifted us with another win on Christmas Eve, marking the first time they've won back-to-back games this year.
With the win, the good guys are still in the running to win the NFC South with six wins under their belt. They have to win out and hope for some help but it is possible for this 6-9 Saints team to be hosting a playoff game in three weeks. Wild.
With the 17-10 victory over the Browns in the book, let's check out the winners and losers from this ball game. Since the Saints won, we'll tackle the losers first.
There's one specific moment that lands Paulson Adebo in the losers section and that's the infamous holding penalty that he committed on 4th-and-13 that would have forced the Browns to punt. Now granted, the team ended up winning anyway and the penalty was pretty weak and called nearly a full minute after the play ended but you can't get overly grabby in those situations.
The unknown wide receiver got the chance to play more on Saturday due to Chris Olave being out and Jarvis Landry landing on IR. It didn't go great for Keith Kirkwood, as he failed to haul in either of his targets and the second target bounced off his helmet on a deep ball from Andy Dalton. Kirkwood had two chances to really help his team in the miserable weather and failed to make much of a positive impression.
It was good to see Alvin Kamara dominate once again, as this season has not been kind to him. The Saints needed to run the ball heavily due to how gross the weather was and Kamara didn't let them down, rushing for 76 yards off of 20 carries and scoring his first touchdown since Week 8. He also had 34 yards receiving off of two catches. Kamara was certainly in the zone this week and the Saints needed him to be just that.
Saints fans were puzzled as to why the team wasn't unleashing Taysom Hill in the first half. It took 27 minutes but once Pete Carmichael started letting Hill do his thing, the offense looked better. Hill's final numbers were 56 yards rushing and one touchdown off of nine carries and the Browns had a tough time slowing the bulldozer down.
The Saints have done a nice job finding UDFAs over the years and Carl Granderson proved that to be true with the game-clinching sack on Deshaun Watson on 4th-and-Goal. It felt like had the Browns scored there, they'd have probably gone for two and Granderson put a stop to that. New Orleans had two sacks the entire game and one of them came at the most important time.
Without any of the main three receivers available on Saturday, Rashid Shaheed continued to step up and show that he can be a major piece for this offense moving forward. He's also in that stellar UDFA conversation, finishing this game with four catches for 41 yards. He's already a special player for New Orleans.
It's been a shaky season for this group but even with Cesar Ruiz landing on IR and Andrus Peat getting hurt in the game, they still went out there and dominated, paving the way for 152 rushing yards and keeping Andy Dalton upright all game long. The Browns didn't even record a QB hit on Dalton.
Rookie first-round pick Trevor Penning got some love from Kamara following the game for his performance on Saturday.
Interceptions haven't come easy for this Saints defense but Daniel Sorensen was able to come down with one on Saturday. The former Chiefs defensive back was a bit of a puzzling signing at the time but he was playing more due to the injuries to Marcus Maye and Justin Evans and came through when the team needed him to.
Who else belongs in the winners and losers categories this week?