Saints Offense Suffocated on the Road in 20-10 Loss to the Steelers
The Saints came into this week ten matchup with a 3-6 record and two games behind the division-leading Bucs who improved to 5-5 with an early morning victory over the Seahawks. The Saints desperately needed a win today to keep with Bucs for the division title. Their Opponent for the day, the 2-6 Steelers who are led by defensive star, TJ Watt.
The Saints were without key pieces on both offense and defense with big names like Marshon Lattimore, Eric McCoy, and Marcus Davenport ruled out for the contest. With that said, the Saints weren't going to make any excuses, today was a must-win regardless of who was on the field.
With the stage set, here is how the game went down.
The Saints started the game on defense and did their job by forcing a sluggish Steeler offense to punt on their first possession of the game. Andy Dalton and the boys couldn't get anything going on the offensive end as the Steeler defense forced a three-and-out.
The Steeler would march into Saints territory with the help of running back Najee Harris. The Saints would force a fourth-and-two but Kenny Picket would convert and keep the Steeler drive alive. The Steelers would continue their impressive drive and capped it off with a one-yard rushing touchdown from George Pickens to put the Steelers up 7-0 with 5:06 remaining in the first Quarter.
The Saints were able to move the chains a couple of times before having to punt the ball back to picket and the Steeler offense. A roughing-the-passer penalty would keep the Steelers on the field after what seemed to be a three-and-out for the Saints' defense. Najee Harris would rip off a big run on the next play to keep get the Steelers deep into New Orleans territory and that's how the quarter would come to a close.
The Saints would stiffen up in the red zone and force a Chirs Boswell field goal as the Steeler would go up 10-0 to start the second quarter. The Saints continued to look stagnant on offense as they would have to punt the ball right back after picking up one first down.
After forcing a punt, the Saints would get something going on offense as they would finally march into Steeler territory in what was a balanced drive. During the drive, Alive Kamra would move into second place in all-purpose scrimmage yards in Franchise history just behind Duece McAllister. The offense would eventually stall just outside of the red zone, setting up a 44-yard field goal. Will Lutz would drive his kick up and through to put the Saints on the board with 6:04 remaining in the first half.
The Steelers looked to answers on the next possession as they would put together a nice drive to move into Saints territory. A huge sack from Kaden Elliss would set up a fourth-and-long coming out of the two-minute warning. The Saints would get the ball back with time to work with for Dalton and the offense. The Saints would move into Steeler territory with 34 seconds remaining in the half. After a huge Steeler penalty, Dalton would connect with Juan Johnson for the game-tieing touchdown with 19 seconds remaining in the half. The Steelers would run the reaming 13 seconds off the clock and go into the break tied a ten apiece.
The offense couldn't get anything going on their first drive of the second half and they would punt the ball to Picket and the Steeler offense. The Steelers would drive deep into Saints territory on their first possession of the half before stalling out in the red zone. The steelers would settle for a 39-yard field goal attempt but it would go wide right to keep it a tied ball game.
The Saints would shoot themselves in the foot on their next offensive possession with penalties forcing another punt that would pin the Steelers deep in their own territory. That wouldn't phase Pickett and this offense as they would work their way inside the Saints' 20-yard-line to end the scoreless third quarter.
The Saints would stiffen up once again in their red zone to force a Steeler field goal. This kick was up and through to give the Steelers a 13-10 lead to begin the fourth. The Saints would attempt to answer with a drive of there but a pass off the hands of Jarvis Landry would end up as a pick for the Steelers defense.
The Steelers would quickly go back to work on offense and work their way deep into Saints territory. The Saints would get their tenth accepted penalty of the game with a huge pass interference call on Paulson Adebo on third down. Pickett would take full advantage with a rushing touchdown on the very next play to give the Steelers a ten-point lead with 8:38 left in the fourth quarter.
The Saints would attempt a QB sneak on fourth-and-inches deep in their own territory but the Steeler defense would stuff Dalton to force a turnover on downs. The Saints' defense would keep the team's hopes alive as they force a field goal attempt from the Steelers that would go wide left to keep it a 20-10 ball game. That hope wouldn't last for long as Andy Dalton would throw his second interception of the game.
The Steelers would ice the game away with a couple of first downs to come away with a 20-10 victory for the Saints. New Orleans falls to 3-7 on the season. The Saints will take on the Rams next Sunday at Noon.