It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing win, but the New Orleans Saints found a way to get a win over the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday. The final score of the game was 13-6 and featured many punts. However, the team found a way to go to 4-0 with Teddy Bridgewater under center, which is what matters the most.
Saints Hang On to Beat Jaguars: Takeaways
This Team is Gritty
That felt like an already known statement coming into this game. The team proved it with their wins in Seattle and over the Cowboys a couple of weeks ago. However, this was another opportunity to prove their grit.
Winning on the road is never easy in the NFL. It’s especially difficult when the backup quarterback is playing. And it’s really not easy when you are struggling to run the ball, especially in the first half, and the backup quarterback is having an off game to an extent.
The bottom line, this team is showing that it can win in multiple ways.
Adversity has been in place since Drew Brees went out in week two with a thumb injury.
It’s continued to be present, however. This week Alvin Kamara was banged up and didn’t seem to be all that close to 100 percent in this game.
Now, they’ve won defensive battles and a couple of higher-scoring games since Bridgewater has been the starter. Imagine what this team is capable of once Brees gets back.
Special Teams Continues to Be an X-Factor
The special teams on this team have been lights out. It’s no secret how good Wil Lutz and Thomas Morstead are at their jobs. However, rookie Deonte Harris has continued to impress and make an impact on punt returns.
With a defense that is opportunistic and steps up to the task, and a dangerous offense that will have a Hall of Fame quarterback coming back soon, having the special teams play at this level is monumental.
Also, when you get the chance, watch Justin Hardee on special teams. He’s the catalyst for the coverage teams.
Saints Beat Jaguars: Takeaways Continued
When the Saints picked up Jared Cook this offseason, it was largely thought of as a huge pickup. New Orleans needed help at tight end, and Cook has been a solid pro for a long time.
However, Cook had really struggled during the first five games of the season.
While his numbers weren’t huge in the win over Jacksonville (three catches, 37 yards, and a TD), his catches were at big times.
He also caught all three of his targets. Coming in he had caught a very low percentage of his targets.
Two of his three catches directly led to the win. He, of course, caught the only touchdown of the game, but he also had a huge 20-yard catch on third and one, which iced the game.
Saints Beat Jaguars: Final Thoughts
Take it Easy On Bridgewater
It wasn’t a good game from Bridgewater. His final stat line isn’t all that bad (24/36, 240 yards, TD, no interceptions). But if you watched the game, he was just off in this one.
The bottom line is the Saints have one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league, but for a fan base that is so used to having Drew Brees, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, expectations need to be tempered.
Of course, it’s hard not to expect that when Brees has been the quarterback since 2006, and this is the most extended time he’s missed.
Bridgewater also didn’t play football for two seasons after suffering the catastrophic knee injury he suffered.
Now some things have happened that can’t happen for such an experienced quarterback. There are times where he holds onto the ball too long, leading to a sack. In those cases, he needs to find a way to check the ball down or get out of the pocket and throw it away.
There are also times when he doesn’t step into his throws properly, which leads to him sailing the throw over his intended target. Part of that is probably the time he missed. There just appears to be times when he gets jittery if he’s been holding the ball for what he feels is too long.
Also, there are times when he throws short of the sticks on third and medium. That’s something that really can’t happen unless the receiver has a ton of room to run after. However, in this game that was not the case. Give Jacksonville’s defense some credit for being stuck to the receivers. But Bridgewater needs to at least throw it to the sticks if good defense is being played.
Something could also be said for him knowing the defense is playing lights out and not wanting to put the ball in harms way.
The ultimate statement is fans shouldn’t expect Hall of Fame-level play. Bridgewater is doing what he needs to do to lead this team to wins.
All White Jerseys
Perhaps the main highlight of the game was the uniforms. They also led to a Saints win over a solid Jaguars team.
The all-white uniforms need to be a regular occurrence.
Top Photo: Harry Aaron/Getty Images