Saints experience offensive woes in loss to Baltimore

Jude Papillion, Editor-in-Chief

The Ravens defeated the Saints at Caesars Superdome 27-13 on Monday night in Baltimore’s first trip to New Orleans since 2014 and 10 seasons since beating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. (Matthew Tate)

The Baltimore Ravens traveled to New Orleans for the first time in eight seasons on Nov. 7 and ran away with a 27-13 victory over the Saints on Monday Night Football.

The Black and Gold defense was unable to stop Baltimore’s rushing attack in the primetime contest. The Ravens totaled 188 yards on the ground and dominated time of possession, keeping the ball in their hands for over 37 minutes of game time. Kenyan Drake led the Ravens with 24 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Lamar Jackson tacked on an additional 82 rushing yards on 11 carries. 

“The offensive line, the running backs did a great job,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “Lamar [Jackson] drives much of that.”

The Saints, on the other hand, were unable to get anything going in their run game. The team totaled just 48 rushing yards in the contest, with 30 coming from Alvin Kamara. New Orleans was only able to convert three of its 11 third downs, frequently being stopped by Raven defender Marlon Humphrey, who finished with 7 combined tackles along with Patrick Queen and Kyle Hamilton who each finished with 5 tackles. 

Andy Dalton led the Saints in passing, completing 19 of his 29 attempts for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while rookie Chris Olave led the receiving corps with six receptions for 71 yards. 

“They did a great job stopping the run. We struggled to run the ball,” Saints’ head coach Dennis Allen said. “They did a lot of good things defensively that gave us a lot of challenges. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board, make some corrections, and be better next week.”

With Ravens’ leading receiver and All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews out with an injury, Jackson put the ball in the hands of 10 different receivers and completed 12 of his 22 attempts for 133 yards and a touchdown pass.

Jackson scrambled right-side and found receiver Isaiah Likely in the endzone for the first score of the game, a 24-yard touchdown reception with just over a minute left in the first quarter. 

Both teams prevented one another from scoring again until the two-minute warning of the first half, when the Ravens capped off a 12 play, 81-yard drive that ended with a one-yard rushing score by Drake. 

After punting on their first four drives, the New Orleans offense showed its first signs of life in the final minutes of the second quarter. Dalton led the New Orleans on a quick 12 play, 60-yard drive but was unable to find the endzone. Instead, Wil Lutz entered the game and kicked a 33-yard field goal to cut Baltimore’s lead to 14-3 as time expired in the half. 

The Ravens and Saints each opened the second half with roughly seven-minute, 12-play drives that resulted in field goals. Justin Tucker split the uprights from 32-yards out with 8:29 left in the third before New Orleans put Wil Lutz in position to knock a 37-yarder through the goalposts with 1:30 left in the quarter, cutting the score to 17-6 in Baltimore’s favor. 

Baltimore and New Orleans both started the fourth quarter with punts after going three and out. Following an 18-yard rush and 17-yard rush by Drake and Jackson respectively, the Ravens found themselves inside of Tucker’s field goal range once again. This time, the Ravens’ second all-time leading scorer kicked a 41-yard field goal to extend their lead to 20-6 with 8:36 left in the game. 

The Saints turned the ball over on the first snap of the ensuing possession when Dalton’s pass was deflected by Brent Urban and subsequently intercepted by Justin Houston, giving Baltimore an excellent field position at the New Orleans 17-yard line. The Ravens capitalized off of the turnover in just three plays, as Drake scored his second touchdown of the game on a three-yard rush with just over seven minutes remaining.

New Orleans was able to put together its lone touchdown drive of the game on their next possession, but it was too little too late. Despite Dalton finding Juwan Johnson for a 41-yard touchdown strike, Baltimore still held a commanding 14-point lead and used Drake to burn the four remaining minutes off the clock. 

When asked if the Ravens were the most physical team the Saints have faced so far, head coach Dennis Allen said, “Yes. This was a physical football team, and we knew that going in.”

Next week the now 3-6 New Orleans Saints will travel to Pittsburgh to face the 2-6 Steelers. The Saints — -2.5 according to Caesars Sportsbook — are favored to win for the first time in four weeks and for the first time on the road against the Steelers since 1993. Kickoff is set for noon CST, and the matchup will be broadcasted locally on FOX. 

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