Dennis Allen has Gardner Minshew’s number.
This is the second time Minshew has started against Dennis Allen’s Saints defense (2019 with the Jags was the first) and he’s now led an offense that produced 16 total points offensively in two games. The game plan is simple: make him a pocket passer and he can’t beat you consistently. The game plan showed a lot of similarities to 2019 and it worked almost perfectly.
The Saints beat what was by record the best team in the NFL, in Philadelphia, but unfortunately, a win by Tampa over Carolina seals up the NFC South to make the day bittersweet.
Two things stood out in this win: the return of Marshon Lattimore and Cam Jordan bypassing all-time great Rickey Jackson in the record books. Lattimore played for the first time since Week 5 and gave the Saints a game-winning pick-six in a 20-10 victory. Jordan had three sacks on the day and by far his best game of the season, giving him 115.5 career sacks. That puts him half a sack ahead of Jackson for the most all-time in Saints history.
The Eagles looked like a different team without Jalen Hurts at quarterback, suffering from numbers mistakes and pre-snap penalties, but credit the Saint’s defense for shutting them down. The Saints had adversity of their own as they were forced to play backups at three of their five offensive line spots when Ryan Ramczyk left the game early with a hip injury.
The Eagles entered the game as the #1 pass rush in the NFL with 61 sacks and they added seven more to that total exploiting the mismatch on paper. The Saints had six of their own, led by Jordan, Kaden Elliss, and Carl Granderson.
This win was buoyed by yet another strong defensive performance. Quietly the Saints now have the #2 pass defense in the NFL and they’ve given up a total of 13.6 points per game over the last five weeks. Maybe the fan ire directed at head coach Dennis Allen was premature and he has turned this defense around.
Not winning the NFC South this season is a major disappointment when you consider how much it was there for the taking. But there is reason to believe they can continue to produce a high level of defensive football with Allen. If the Saints can have a strong offseason bolstering their offense they should be able to bounce right back and compete for the division again next season.