The (5-1) New Orleans Saints visited the (4-3) Baltimore Ravens competing in a hard fought game that ended with a “come from behind” victory. This game was the most difficult defensive matchup the Saints have faced yet, challenging their #1 scoring offense against the #1 scoring defense. The game seemed destined to go into overtime with the Ravens needing only Justin Tucker’s extra point to send it there. But fate had other plans as Tucker’s first ever missed extra point sailed wide right, leaving the score 24-23 with 24 seconds left on the game clock.
The Saints knew they were playing in hostile territory against a stellar defense and were determined to play aggressively in order to gain any advantage they could. In the first drive alone, 3 fourth down conversions were attempted. 2 attempts were successful and the third resulted in a fumble by Alvin Kamara at the Raven’s 10 yard line. The first half moved along slowly for the Saints, producing only 1 touchdown on a 1 yard pass from Drew Brees to Ben Watson. The touchdown catch by Watson was number 500 for Brees, putting him in another exclusive club with only 3 other members.
With the Saints down by 3 heading into the second half, they were going to have to do something that had not yet been done in any second half against Baltimore. They had to score on them. The team did just that by scoring enough to win the game with 2 touchdowns and a field goal. The offense came alive in the second half with Michael Thomas and Kamara each scoring a TD. Brees finished the day with a 114.9 passer rating, 22/30 passing, 212 yards and 2 TDs. Kamara was the rushing leader with 64 yards and a TD while Michael Thomas finished as the lead receiver with 69 yards.
The defense for the Saints continued to show improvement, holding the Baltimore offense to 351 total yards. Collectively as a unit they played well. Even with Ken Crawley acting as the weakest link, ending up on the wrong side of several big plays again. It wasn’t a glorious day for the stat sheet defensively, but the group did play solid and good enough for the win.
The Saints schedule will not get any easier in the near future as the team travels to Minnesota to play the Vikings in a rematch of the divisional playoff game of last year. I’m sure there are several players who have had this game circled on the calendar. Marcus Williams is probably one of them, but no need to go there. After the Vikings game, they will play against the Rams, Bengals, Eagles and then Falcons . The next 5 games will tell a lot about where this team is and if they are true contenders. But for now, we celebrate this victory and get the gift baskets ready to send to Justin Tucker.