Bill Feig/Associated Press
The New Orleans Saints just keep winning.
New Orleans extended its winning streak to nine and improved to 9-1 overall with a commanding 48-7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Drew Brees finished 22-of-30 for 363 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions, while Mark Ingram, Michael Thomas, Tre’Quan Smith, Alvin Kamara and Austin Carr all found the end zone.
As for the defending champions, they fell to 4-6 as their disappointing 2018 campaign continued. Carson Wentz was kept in check at 19-of-33 for 156 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
Saints’ Historically Explosive Offense Makes Them Super Bowl Favorites
The Saints offense isn’t just dominating teams. It’s putting up historic numbers:
James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV
Saints have scored 40+ points in 5 games this season (through 9 games). No team has scored 40+ points 6 times in their first 10 games in the Super Bowl era. They’re 9 points away of accomplishing that.
Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell
Fewest punts in an 16-game season is the 1990 Oilers, with 34. Saints had 19 in nine games heading into today, have one today. If they don’t punt again today, they’ll be on pace for a 32-punt season.
One glance at the roster underscores just how much talent head coach Sean Payton has at his disposal.
Thomas is impossible to stop one-on-one at wide receiver, as he demonstrated in the first possession of the second half when he blew past Rasul Douglas. Brees dropped a perfect throw into his waiting arms before the safety could get over, and the result was a touchdown to blow open the game.
The Ohio State product went over 1,000 receiving yards for the season during the contest and entered play with a league-best 78 receptions. He has been basically automatic too, as those 78 catches came on 87 targets.
However, Philadelphia and other defenses can’t afford to devote too much attention Thomas’ way because that doesn’t leave enough defenders in the box to deal with Ingram’s physicality. He finished with 16 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns, plowing through the Eagles’ defensive front a number of times.
As if that’s not enough, Kamara is there to use his speed in space and versatility as a runner or receiver whenever Ingram leaves the defense beat up with his running style. He streaked down the sideline for a 38-yard touchdown catch to add insult to injury in the fourth quarter.
On 4th and 7…
@DrewBrees to @A_Kamara6 for the touchdown! #GoSaints #PHIvsNO
📺: FOX https://t.co/Nyjb3Ixi1E
Perhaps the most important development of Sunday’s contest was the emergence of Smith as a secondary receiver. He led the team with 10 catches on 13 targets with Thomas drawing double-teams and delivered in a big way by hauling in a touchdown catch through traffic in the second quarter and making a terrific diving catch late in the third quarter on his way to 157 yards.
Even an average quarterback could thrive with those playmakers, but Brees is directing the show as one of the best in league history.
New Orleans is in a battle with the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams for the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home-field advantage into the Super Bowl. This offense already put up a head-turning 45 points against the Rams and earned the head-to-head tiebreaker, meaning Jared Goff and Co. may have to face the raucous Saints fans inside the dome in a potential NFC Championship Game.
There is no defensive scheme to stop all these players, and weather won’t be a factor come January playing indoors.
Get ready to see the Saints in the Super Bowl.
Josh Adams Provides Lackluster Eagles Offense a Glimmer of Hope
The Eagles offense has been a disaster, plain and simple.
It entered play Sunday 21st in the league in points per game and 18th in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) metrics, which helps explain why the NFC playoffs may not feature the defending champions.
It was more of the same in the first quarter against the Saints when Philadelphia punted twice and was intercepted by Marshon Lattimore on its first three possessions, continuing an ugly theme:
John Clark @JClarkNBCS
Eagles shutout in the first quarter again 🤬
They have scored the fewest points in the first quarter in NFL this season. Just 21 points in 10 games
The Eagles badly needed a spark and finally got one in the second quarter when Josh Adams made a quick cut and sliced through the New Orleans defense for a 28-yard touchdown to temporarily stop the bleeding and put the team on the board.
Philadelphia Eagles @Eagles
Josh Adams darts in from 28 yards out, his first career NFL touchdown.
James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV
The Eagles wanted Josh Adams to get more touches. He’s earned them. Great cut on that 28 yard TD run.
Adams, a rookie from Notre Dame, finished with seven carries for 53 yards (7.6 per attempt) and three catches for 19 yards, picking up where he left off in Week 8 against the Jacksonville Jaguars (6.8 yards per carry) and Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys (6.7 yards per carry). There haven’t been many silver linings for the Eagles this year, but he has been a revelation since he started seeing more time.
He also provides a much-needed boost for a rushing attack that is missing Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles to injury and entered Sunday a mere 22nd in the league in yards per game.
Despite this loss and a 4-6 record, Philadelphia is still two games behind Washington in an NFC East that is wide-open now after Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported quarterback Alex Smith broke his tibia and fibula and is out for the season.
Adams gives Philadelphia a glimmer of hope and an extra dimension it can unleash in future games to control the clock and keep opposing quarterbacks on the sideline. He can also force defenders closer to the line of scrimmage, which will open up throwing lanes for Wentz and a plethora of weapons in Golden Tate, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.
A glimmer of hope is all the Eagles offense can ask for at this point.
Both teams are at home for their next game, with the Saints facing the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving and the Eagles playing the New York Giants next Sunday.