From the start, it looked like Smith and the Seahawks were set for the prime-time victory as the veteran quarterback connected with wide receiver DK Metcalf for an 84-yard touchdown to start the night’s scoring. However, Seattle’s offense was silent for the rest of the first half as the Saints were able to take the lead. Just before those teams entered the locker room at half-time, New Orleans pulled off a two-minute drill that traveled 85 yards on the pitch and allowed Alvin Kamara to receive a touchdown to take a lead. from 10-7. At this point, Seattle seemed to be on its heels.
Alvin Kamara was the star on Monday night as the Saints star’s back had 30 touches for 179 yards of scrimmage and one touchdown. He mostly did his damage in the passing game, catching 10 of his 11 targets for 128 yards and that score. Winston completed 19 of 35 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. On the other side, Smith completed 12 of his 22 shots for 167 yards and a touchdown. As a team, Seattle ran 28 times for just 90 yards (3.2 yards per carry).
For a more in-depth look at how this game works, check out our takeaways below.
Why the Saints won
Kamara carried the offense for most of the night. In New Orleans’ total of 68 offensive games, he touched the ball almost 50 percent of the time (30 touches). The Pro Bowl backstroke also accounted for 58.8% of the Saints’ overall offensive output, finishing 179 yards into the scrum. That type of performance was necessary because the New Orleans wide receiver couldn’t really get into a consistent pace for much of the game. The fact that the Seahawks had no response for Kamara helped Sean Payton’s side gain a possession time advantage, especially early in the game.
The Saints were also able to absorb Seattle’s opening punch in the form of an 84-yard touchdown by Metcalf and rebounded well. In back-to-back practices just before halftime, New Orleans drove a 10-0 run to take the lead. During that time, they held the ball for over 12 minutes and walked over 80 yards on each of those two possessions.
As Kamara dominated out of New Orleans ‘backfield, the Saints’ defense stifled Seattle’s running game throughout the evening. The Seahawks clearly wanted to lead the offense through the rushing game, but they couldn’t do much, especially with starter Alex Collins, who the Saints limited to just 35 yards on 16 carries.
Why the Seahawks lost
It looked like Pete Carroll didn’t want to put the game in Smith’s hands. The veteran quarterback hinted he could eventually take the win with his arm with that touchdown bomb at Metcalf, but the Seahawks continued to force the running game to an infuriating degree. After that touchdown at Metcalf, the star receiver took 38 offensive shots before receiving another target, which came in at 11:51 in the fourth quarter. Getting the ball in his hands with Tyler Lockett (two catches on three targets) should have been a much higher priority, especially as the backfield continued to hit a wall.
While Smith perhaps should have had a longer leash in the passing game, he also didn’t do his team much in this game. There have been a handful of times Seattle has been needlessly forced to burn down timeouts as the game clock ticks to zero. This was due to the fact that Smith was trying to adjust to the line of scrimmage and didn’t notice how much time was left to complete the game. Not having those down times proved to be costly in the hope of moving late. on the field to equalize or take the lead in the fourth quarter.
Problems in the kicking game also put Seattle behind the eight ball as Jason Meyers missed two field goals in loss, both in the second half.
At about six minutes into the fourth quarter, it looked like the Seahawks would force the Saints three-and-out as linebacker Bobby Wagner wrapped Winston for a 5-yard sack. However, Marquise Blair committed a brutal passer punishment that not only nullified the sack but gave New Orleans another set of stockings. It also completely turned the pitch around as they were now in Seattle territory at the 41-yard line.
The penalties really tormented Seattle on this record as they were also called in for an encroachment penalty on a fourth and five play later in possession where Seattle was preparing for a field goal. As they would eventually settle for a field goal, that penalty nibbled away another minute of time on the clock and burned the two-minute warning.
That practice ultimately culminated in undrafted rookie Brian Johnson’s winning kick.
You won’t find a more dramatic play in this game than Metcalf’s 84-yard touchdown to open the scoring. Smith saw safety playing in midfield, which meant Metcalf had a one-on-one with Marshon Lattimore. He managed to step into the Saints corner as he played with the ball, secured the grip and galloped the rest of the way for a touchdown. Unfortunately for Seattle, that’s essentially all we saw of Metcalf for the remainder of the game as he finished with just one more catch in the fourth quarter.
From there, the Saints will return to New Orleans and await the division-leading Buccaneers for their first of two clashes this season. Tampa Bay will enter the game winning four straight games, including a 38-3 loss to the Bears on Sunday. As for the Seahawks, they will stay in Seattle in Week 8 when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars, who just left Week 7.