That wasn’t so hard, was it?
All the New Orleans Saints needed was a historic rally to snap their first two-game losing streak in three years and overcome a season’s worth of adversity.
The Saints (2-2) came back from a 14-0 deficit in the first five minutes at Detroit. Then they (barely) escaped with a 35-29 victory and some much-needed new life heading into next Monday night’s home date with the Los Angeles Chargers.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Saints became just the fourth team in NFL history to lead by 14-plus points at halftime after trailing by 14-plus points when they took a 28-14 lead into the locker room, joining the 2011 Jaguars, 1985 Jets and 1965 Vikings.
Heading into this game, the Saints had lost two straight, had six starters ruled out because of injuries (including Michael Thomas and both cornerbacks) and had a COVID scare that kept them up into the wee hours at their team hotel.
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But they relied on Drew Brees’ best performance of the season to date, their RB duo of Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, and some timely defensive plays to change the narrative.
QB breakdown: Brees’ day started ugly when his first pass attempt was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted. But then he found his best rhythm to date — including a healthy dose of downfield throws. He finished 19-of-25 passing for 246 yards and two touchdowns to receiver Tre’Quan Smith. He also connected on a key 19-yard pass to receiver Smith on third down to keep the game-clinching drive alive. And he had his best connection yet with WR Emmanuel Sanders, connecting on six passes for 93 yards.
Brees was 5-of-8 on passes thrown 15-plus yards down the field for 111 yards and a TD, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In the first three games of the season, Brees had seven completions and no touchdowns on 15-plus air-yard throws.
Pivotal play: Cornerback Patrick Robinson snagged his first interception since 2017 in the end zone when the game was still tied 14-14 in the second quarter. Robinson, 33, has been used sparingly on defense since he re-signed with the Saints as a free agent in 2018 — largely because of a broken left ankle he suffered in 2018. But he was needed Sunday while starting CBs Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins were out with injuries. And he delivered.
Promising trend: The Saints wisely went into this game wanting to run the ball against Detroit’s 30th-ranked run defense. And sure enough, it worked. Kamara and Murray combined for 147 yards and three TDs on 33 carries. The Saints’ 42 total rushing attempts and 164 rushing yards were their most in the past two seasons.
Troubling trends: Two woes that continued for the Saints were defensive pass interference penalties (two more for a total of 11 on the season) and key injuries. All-Pro right tackle Ryan Ramczyk left early with a concussion. The Saints have an extra day before their Monday night game, then a bye in Week 6, which should help all of their ailing bodies.
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