It was never really much of a game, as the New Orleans Saints dominated the New England Patriots throughout Sunday’s matchup, defeating them by a score of 28-13.
Their defense got to Mac Jones early and often, intercepting him three times and hitting him 11 times. Their offense dominated on the ground, picking up yardage at will throughout their final touchdown drive to finally put things away late in the fourth quarter. New England saw James White go down with an injury, Jonnu Smith drop four passes, and their mostly reliable special teams unit make mistake after mistake.
All in all it was an ugly loss for Bill Belichick and company. Something they’re starting to get used to since the start of the 2020 season. They will return to Gillette Stadium next week, welcoming Tom Brady home in a game that is sure to bring out a variety of emotions.
Final Score: Patriots 13 : 28 Saints
September 26, 1:00p.m. ET | Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA | Broadcast information
Patriots Inactives: OT Trent Brown, RB Rhamondre Stevenson, TE Devin Asiasi, CB Shaun Wade, LB Ronnie Perkins, LB Josh Uche
Saints Inactives: QB Ian Book, C Erik McCoy, DL Albert Huggins, CB Desmond Trufant, WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey
Kyle Van Noy is in and Josh Uche is out. Those are the changes to New Englands inactive list this week. Uche popped up on the injury report late in the week with a back issue that will keep him out of Sunday’s game and pave the way for a Kyle Van Noy return. Trent Brown will miss his second straight game with a calf injury.
No surprises on the Saints side, as starting center Erik McCoy missed the entire week of practice. All-Pro defensive back Marshon Lattimore will make his return to the lineup following a hand injury.
The Patriots won the toss and chose to defer their choice to the second half. New Orleans choice of heads was incorrect, they will start with the football.
Jake Bailey kicked the ball back through the end zone, not allowing Deonte Harris to make a return. That is expected to be a theme throughout the day.
Jameis Winston led the Saints offense out onto the field, immediately feeding Alvin Kamara on the first two plays from scrimmage. New England was able to stuff Kamara for gains of 1 and 0 yards. On 3rd-and-9, Winston was forced to pass and missed Chris Hogan on a deep crosser. The Saints go three-and-out.
Saints punter Blake Gilliken boomed a high punt that forced a Gunner Olszewski fair catch at the New England 22-yard line. After a strong Damien Harris run on first down, New England dialed up a shot early but the ball fell incomplete with All-Pro cornerback Marshon Lattimore in coverage on Nelson Agholor. New Orleans brought pressure on 3rd-and-3, forcing an errant Jones throw that missed James White. New England punted away to Deonte Harris who returned the ball 25-yards to the New Orleans 31-yard line.
The Saints continued to feed Kamara, who picked up a quick first down on two straight touches. A Davon Godchaux run stuff and failed screen to Kamara set New Orleans up on another third-and-long. This time Winston was able to connect with Deonte Harris for a first down. It was a costly conversion, however; as Saints left tackle Terron Armstead walked to the locker room with an injury immediately after the play. The Saints picked up two more first downs moving themselves into the red-zone. Two plays later, Winston delivered a strike to Kamara who walked into the end zone for a touchdown. [Patriots 0 : 7 Saints]
The Saints defense came out firing on the Patriots ensuing possession, sacking Mac Jones and blowing up a running back screen that forced the Patriots into a 3rd-and-16. Jones responded by delivering a strike to Kendrick Bourne for 14-yards. It wasn’t enough and the Patriots went three-and-out for the second consecutive possession.
New Orleans’ next drive started at their own 15-yard line following a 52-yard Jake Bailey punt. They picked up two quick first downs before New England forced them into another third down. No problem for New Orleans who converted yet again. Moving back into Patriots territory the Saints encountered another third down, but J.C. Jackson was able to cut down Taysom Hill before he could reach the sticks. This forced a 52-yard field goal attempt from Aldrick Rosas, Bill Belichick called a strategic timeout before the kick, forcing Rosas to make his attempt towards the open end of the stadium. Rosas missed.
New England lost more yardage on their last play of the quarter. [END Q1 - Patriots 0 : 7 Saints]
New England was unable to pick up a first down again as New Orleans forced a punt for another three-and-out. Bailey booted it into the end zone, setting New Orleans up at their 20-yard line.
The Patriots defense was able to force a three-and-out of their own on the Saints next possession. A holding penalty negated a strong Gunner Olszewski punt return. New England started their next possession at their own 20-yard line.
James White was finally able to pick up the Patriots first 1st-down of the game. Unfortunately he stayed down after the play, and was carted off the field. The Patriots quickly ruled him out. The Patriots kept attacking through the air, but were unable to give rookie quarterback Mac Jones much time. The Patriots were forced to punt and New Orleans was able to block it, recovering the ball at the New England 49-yard line.
The Saints quickly moved into the red zone, picking up steady yards on every run play. A Matthew Judon sack was able to force a third and long in which New Orleans couldn’t convert. Aldrick Rosas came on for another field goal attempt and missed again, this time from 36-yards out.
New England was finally able to connect on a play of more than 15-yards on their next possession, when Mac Jones hit Jakobi Meyers for a gain of 17-yards. There plays later, Mac Jones was intercepted for the first time in his NFL career, as more pressure forced a fluttering ball into the arms of Saints defensive back P.J. Williams. Williams returned it to the New England 9-yard line, setting his team up with a 1st-and-goal.
New England was able to stop the Saints on first and second down, but Winston was able to find Marquez Callaway in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. [Patriots 0 : 14 Saints]
With 1:44 left in the half, the Patriots were in hurry up mode trying to get some points before halftime. Quick strikes to Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, and Jakobi Meyers moved them all the way into Saints territory. On 4th-and-1, New England intended to go for it from the New Orleans 22-yard line but Hunter Henry was flagged for a false start. The Patriots changed their minds and Nick Folk connected on a 45-yard field goal. New Orleans was content with their 11 point lead and kneeled out the clock. [Halftime - Patriots 3 : 14 Saints]
The Patriots got the ball to start the second half, but the Saints were the ones to score first. Jonnu Smith popped the ball up into the air and Malcolm Jenkins happily took it the other way for an interception returned for a touchdown. [Patriots 3 : 21 Saints]
The Patriots were unable to respond to their disastrous second half start, quickly going three-and-out. New Orleans’ next possession started at their own 30-yard line. They picked up a quick first down, but were forced to punt after a false start on 4th-and-1.
A 1st-down penalty forced the Patriots into a 1st-and-20 from their own 10-yard line at the start of their next drive. Mac Jones completed a pair of quick hitters to Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne before delivering a 27-yard strike to Jakobi Meyers. New England converted on three straight 3rd-and-short scenarios to get into the red zone. Despite beating New Orleans through the air on that drive, New England handed the ball off to Brandon Bolden on consecutive plays to set up the fourth straight third down scenario. New England was unable to convert, leading to a 26-yard Nick Folk field goal. [Patriots 6 : 21 Saints]
For the second straight week, Jake Bailey booted a kickoff out of bounds, setting the opponent up with the football at their own 40-yard line. Christian Barmore and Kyle Dugger made back to back run stuffs to force the Saints into a 3rd-and-11. Chase Winovich was next, forcing a Jameis Winston throwaway. New England has a heartbeat entering the fourth quarter. [END Q3 - Patriots 6 : 21 Saints]
New England had no choice but to attack the Saints through the air in the fourth quarter. This gave New Orleans more opportunities to rush the passer where they got to Mac Jones for the second time. On 3rd-and-19, Jones took off with open space but was tripped up by Cameron Jordan. New England punted for a touchback.
New Englands defense forced a second straight three-and-out, forcing a New Orleans punt after just 2:10. New England gets the ball at the New Orleans 44-yard line with 11:09 to go.
The Patriots took a deep shot on first down, but Jones overthrew Kendrick Bourne. A pass interference penalty on New Orleans and Mac Jones first down run set New England up inside the 25-yard line. That’s when Mac Jones threw up a 50-50 ball to Kendrick Bourne who came down with it and tip-toed into the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. [Patriots 13 : 21 Saints]
The Patriots defense was unable to force another three-and-out, as the Saints converted on a 3rd-and-7 for a first down before Alvin Kamara picked up another to get into New England territory. New Orleans continued to pick up yards and burn clock by utilizing their ground game. Taysom Hill was able to punch it into the end zone from four yards out after a near seven minute drive. [Patriots 13 : 28 Saints]
New England started their next drive with 2:37 left on the clock. Three plays later they sat around midfield at the 2:00 warning. New Orleans played prevent defense, keeping the Patriots in front of them and forcing them to burn clock. Eventually Jones would be intercepted for the third down, wrapping things up for the Saints. [FINAL - Patriots 13 : 28 Saints]