It had been 10 days since the New Orleans Saints last played football which gave them extra time to rest up and prepare to take on the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. It became a shootout in the second quarter as the Saints were connecting on deep throws all day and left Lucas Oil Stadium with a 38-27 win to improve to 4-4 on the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Colts won the coin toss and elected to receive the football. Gardner Minshew dumped it off to Michael Pittman Jr on 3rd & 6, then Paulson Adebo made the tackle four yards of the first down.
Derek Carr hit Michael Thomas with a back-shoulder throw for a pick-up of 17 and a first down. Carr looked for Thomas again on a slant on 3rd & 4, but the veteran wide receiver couldn’t coral the pass and the Saints would line up to punt.
Jonathan Taylor set up Indy’s first score of the game as he and his offensive pushed forward for 14 yards to move the chains, then broke one up the middle for a gain of 42 yards and set up the offense in the red zone. Carl Granderson would tackle Pittman short of the first down, then the Colts’ offense would try to draw New Orleans offsides and get a delay of game because of it. Bryan Bresee got called for an illegal formation on the field goal attempt and the Indy offense would go for it on fourth down. Pittman caught Minshew’s pass and dove to the pylon for the 10-yard touchdown.
New Orleans responded in a big way with a vintage scoring drive. On 3rd & 6, Carr hit Thomas on a deep dig route for a gain of 31, then Taysom Hill ran for 13 yards to move the chains on another third down. On the next play, Alvin Kamara ran a Texas route and reached over the goalline for the 18-yard touchdown to tie the game at seven with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
Marhson Lattimore was called for pass interference on a deep pass to Alec Pierce to set up Indy at the 32-yard line of New Orleans. Pittman and Josh Downs caught passes that set up the Colts at the 2-yard. Taylor would get stuffed on the final play of the first quarter and Minshew would head to the sideline with a limp after he threw the ball out of bounds on third down. Matt Gay made the 20-yard field goal to put the Colts up by three.
Carr stepped up into the pocket on third down and was strip-sacked by DeForest Buckner. The ball was recovered by Indianapolis at the 30-yard line of New Orleans. Downs came down with the toe-tap catch on the sideline to move the chains, then Granderson made it 1st & GOAL with a facemask grab on running back Zack Moss. Moss punched it in two plays later to give the Colts the 17-7 lead with 11:39 left in the second quarter.
Carr connected with Thomas and Chris Olave for 15 yards a piece for first downs. Hill then lined up at quarterback and carried the ball outside for the 20-yard touchdown. That run ended up being the longest of the season for the Saints as they cut their deficit to three.
Following a punt by the Colts, Carr went deep on the second play to Rashid Shaheed for a 58-yard touchdown. That gave the Saints their first lead of the game with 5:42 left in the first half.
Indy drained almost all of the remaining time with a 12-play drive. Minshew couldn’t connect with Alec Pierce on third down and Gay knocked through a 42-yard field goal with 21 seconds left. New Orleans would head into halftime with a one-point lead.
A few drives into the second half, Moss broke loose for a 41-yard scamper. Granderson got injured on the play after, then Adebo intercepted Minshew’s pass and returned out of the endzone, it across the field, to the 29-yard line.
Carr led the offense of the Saints 71 yards down the field and completed passes to Hill and Kamara for gains of 14 and 25, then Kamara carried the ball 16 yards for the touchdown to put New Orleans up 28-20 with seven seconds left in the third quarter.
New Orleans forced a three-and-out, and then Hill threw it into double coverage but Shaheed was able to come down with the catch for a gain of 44. Hill would carry it a couple more times in the red zone, including a one-yard touchdown run to put the Saints up 35-20 with less than 11 minutes to go.
Minshew responded in a big way on the following drive, completing passes to four different receivers like Drew Ogletree, who made the catch in the endzone from 33 yards out. to make it an eight-point game with 8:19 left in the game.
Granderson returned to the game and got the sack early in the drive and put the Colts deep in their own territory. Pierce would pick up the first down on 3rd & 18, but Minshew got hit as he threw a few plays later and Indy would punt back to New Orleans.
Carr connected with Shaheed for 51 yards on 3rd & 13 with three minutes to go. The Saints would run the clock out and bring on Blake Grupe to kick a 27-yard field goal with 24 seconds left.
New Orleans would hold on to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 38-27 to get back to .500 on the season.
BIG NUMBER: 511
Everyone on the Saints’ offense was on the same page on Sunday and it showed as they were able to accumulate 511 yards of total offense, the most in one game all season and the most since Christmas Day, 2020 versus the Vikings. The Colts’ offense was able to pick up 371 yards.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Derek Carr
Carr looked sharp and on the same page with his receivers on Sunday. The Saints starting quarterback completed 19 of 27 passes for 310 yards and tossed a couple of touchdown passes as the Saints moved to 4-4 on the season.
UP NEXT: The New Orleans Saints will be back in the Caesars Superdome next Sunday as they host Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears. Kickoff for that week nine matchup will be at noon.