NEW ORLEANS — What went right for the Saints Sunday night? How about EVERYTHING.
No. 4 The D-line beat up Brady
The defensive line is rapidly evolving into a really good group. The highlight was David Onyemata’s first career interception and Trey Hendrickson led the team with two sacks and two QB hits.
On the night, the Saints had three sacks and nine hits on Tom Brady. That’s the most hits on Brady this season.
Tampa Bay is now 6-3. In their six wins, Brady has been sacked less than once per game and hit less than four times per game.
In their three losses (twice to the Saints and once to the Bears), Brady was sacked three times in each and hit an average of eight times a game.
The secret to beating the Bucs is to hit Tom Brady and the Saints did that a LOT.
No. 3 The Saints dominate on third down
So many things went well on offense.
The play calling was great. Drew Brees put up his best numbers of the season. It’s his first single game quarterback rating over 135 this year. He did it twice last year.
And the Saints ran for 138 yards. That’s three games in a row rushing for more than 120 yards as a team.
Five times this season the Saints converted on nine of 14 third downs. That’s more than all of last season and 64% for the game.
The Saints are 51% on converting third downs now on the season. That’s the best in the NFL the advantage of running it well.
No. 2 Taysom Hill does it all
This was by far the best use of Taysom Hill this season.
Hill’s stat line is absurd for the year 2020. He threw two passes and completed them both last night. He led the saints in rushing and caught a big 21-yarder. Plus, he plays special teams!
Maybe the best comparison for Taysom Hill is No. 5. That’s 1961 NFL MVP Paul Horning.
Horning was really a running back, but in nine separate games in 1960 he rushed, caught passes and threw passes in the same game. Plus, he was the Packers kicker!
I thought Taysom Hill’s pass to Jared Cook on 3rd-and-3 in the opening drive was one of the game’s pivotal plays.
Sean Payton had run Hill so much over the past few weeks that throwing it put the Bucs on their heels and they never recovered.
No. 1 The Saints Secondary has arrived
The biggest liability all season, the Saints secondary was a MAJOR strength Sunday night.
The Saints picked off Tom Brady three times.
The opener against the Saints was Tom Brady’s worst performance of the season until Sunday night. He had a 40.4 quarterback rating. His worst of the season.
His worst single game in 14 years.
His third-worst game EVER.
The coverage and the defense overall was that good. To me, that’s the biggest of many positive in the Saints’ rout of Tampa Bay.