Joe’s Playback Analysis: Saints vs. Cardinals

Joe Bellott, Contributor

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The Saint’s were right back where they left off before Drew went down. It’s as if the season has been one big game because of the similarity in control of momentum they have had throughout the entire season except for the Ram’s game. No momentum has been lost from the third game of the season on, which was the first game of the current 6 game win streak. The Saints played a young and up and coming, Arizona Cardinals team. Kyler Murray, the quarterback for the Cardinals, was the Heisman Trophy winner last year from the University of Oklahoma. At 5 feet 10 inches, he may also be the shortest quarterback to ever win the Heisman, joining Drew, in the short quarterback club. Kyler threw for 311 yards per game in his final season of college with a passing competition percentage of 70%, while Drew threw for a similar, 305 yards per game, but only a passing competition percentage of 60%. Thankfully, things change. On Sunday the Saints second lined through the Cardinals, winning 31 to 9. Drew threw his way to 373 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kyler Murray had a lousy 220 yards and zero touchdowns. The last rookie quarterback the Saints faced, Gardner Minshew, had a very similar dismal game throwing for just 163 yards and an interception. The defense has forced almost every opponent’s offense either below or well below their season averages in yards and touchdowns per game. They are second in the NFL in allowed rushing yards per game (same as a year ago), and more notably jumped from 29th, in 2018, to 12th, in 2019 for passing yards allowed per game. 

 

Better play from some star players as well as better executed assignments have contributed to this success. Marshon Lattimore’s ability to make the quarterback throw away from the opposing team’s prime receiver all year has been second to none. For example, star receivers Mike Evans and Amari Cooper were held to zero and 48 yards respectively in their match-ups with the Saints. The Cardinals came into Sunday red hot, having won their last 3 games. Kyler Murray has run for over 250 yards in the season, putting him second in quarterback rushing yards. Despite this, Kyler rushed for only 13 yards and the Cardinals received their worst loss of the season by a deficit of 22 points. Kyler Murray was held to just 19 completed passes out of his 33 throws, a 57% completion percentage. The new star receiver for the Cardinals, Christian Kirk worked for 79 yards receiving on the day coming from several slants inside and one deep catch. Most of the Cardinals offensive yards were from their tight end, Charles Clay, who caught for 88 yards on three receptions. The defense was caught off guard by a trick play where Kyler handed the ball off to a back who then tossed it to him to throw downfield. Charles Clay snuck behind the defense and caught a ball about 40 yards downfield. 

 

The Saints will be able to learn from that trick play and not allow one to happen again. Some final remarks about the game are that it was another outing without Alvin and that this game was even better of a defeat than the score indicated. This is because for one, Alvin Kamara was not playing, and two a couple of mistakes happened such as the defensive busted coverage on the trick play from the Cardinals and missed field goal 47 yards out from Will Lutz. Everyone on offense was involved on Sunday. Every tight end on the team caught at least 1 pass for more than 10 yards, and Taysom Hill had another great game using his versatility and physicality. Latavius Murray rushed for over 100 yards and received for about another 60 yards, showing what he can do at his best. Also, what caught my attention was seeing return man, Deonte Harris getting snaps and making a few plays on offense. The Saints are in full control of their destiny because of all of the reasons within this article and more. After the bye-week, the Saints play the Falcons in the Superdome.

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