Dalton gave 1-3 Saints offense a spark, but bigger issues remain – New Orleans Saints Blog

LONDON – New Orleans Saints coach Dennis Allen was confident that Wil Lutz’s 61-yard field goal attempt was a good Sunday.

Lutz had already made a 60-yarder in the fourth quarter, and when the second kick went the distance, Allen raised his arms to signal his success. Moments later, he lowered his arms to his head and frowned as he watched Lutz’s unlikely kick hit a post, then the crossbar before finally spinning away at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as time was up.

That was the story of the Saints (1-3), who lost 28-25 to the Minnesota Vikings (3-1), and the season so far: Hope was followed by despair, with a lot of bad football in between. Even a quarterback change – Andy Dalton starting in place of the injured Jameis Winston – couldn’t solve the team’s problems.

“I felt like I ran offense really well. I felt like we played well. I felt like at the end of the day, the two turnovers decided the factor in that game,” said Dalton . “And it’s tough because you go back and look at that game and you feel like you played really well and you can go back and look at it and you’re like, ‘Man, if only I could do a game again.’ But that’s kind of the story of this thing. Its hard. But I thought we definitely did some good things out there.

Turnovers, penalties and slow starts have doomed the Saints to three straight losses. They’ve had three combined points in the first quarter of those games, and they’ve given the ball away freely, already eclipsing their 2021 fumble total of six this season.

“We probably played better today,” said Saints center Erik McCoy. “Even so, two turnovers in our area gave them six points. We lost with three.”

The Saints went into the loss to the Vikings, who trailed the league in the net revenue difference, and fumbled twice more. Their 11 turnovers are the highest in four games since the 2007 season, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

The Saints have frequently lamented turnovers this season after some of them were potential game-changers.

A Mark Ingram II fumble against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers robbed the Saints of an opportunity to score, and Alvin Kamara’s fumble against the Carolina Panthers was returned for a touchdown. Fumbles from Dalton and kick returner Deonte Harty gave the Vikings short fields that led to two field goals on Sunday.

“I think we need to make that clear,” said Allen, who is in his first year as the Saints head coach. “I think we also have to look at who is doing what where.”

Sunday’s result against the Vikings showed that the Saints’ problems are bigger than a simple solution. Even if they wanted to consider starting some new players, they don’t have any other options to turn to at the moment.

They’ve already lost several offensive starters – obviously with Winston, wide receiver Michael Thomas is out with a toe injury and Kamara is out with a rib injury.

Injuries dating back to training camp are something the Saints have pointed out for their lack of offensive chemistry.

“With that comes some adjustment,” Allen said. “We’re going to keep fighting and fighting and we’re going to figure this thing out and play better football.”

The only possible change the Saints might consider is a move to Dalton, or at least until Winston fully recovers. Dalton wasn’t perfect, but he was able to lead multiple touchdown drives and make some key throws, including a 33-yard pass to Marquez Callaway in the third quarter, which set up a Latavius ​​Murray touchdown run.

His 32-yard completion to Chris Olave by 24 seconds gave Lutz a chance to attempt the deep field goal.

“I’d say Andy was great — cool, calm, collected,” McCoy said.

The problems remain bigger than Dalton. There were issues with special teams reporting against the Vikings, including the abandonment of a fake punt. By the end of the game, the Saints led the league with 34 penalties.

The Saints had three key penalties on the Vikings’ go-ahead drive, with safety Tyrann Mathieu saying he doesn’t believe he committed an illegal hand penalty that gave the Vikings a third down conversion.

“I don’t think I touched his face. Yes, I don’t think I touched him. I know I didn’t do it,” Mathieu said. “But, you know, the call was made. You have to live with it. Even after that I thought we would keep fighting.

Allen and several players said the Saints have had a long season to fix their problems, but if they don’t fix them quickly, the hole they’ve dug could quickly deepen.

“I think this thing will turn around. I’ve been on talented teams that won and talented teams that lost. … [I’ve] I’ve seen it all,” said Saints receiver Jarvis Landry. “I think we have a great culture. We have many great leaders. I think you learn a lot about yourself through adversity. It is still early. We just have to start faster offensively. … People might say we could be 0-4, but we could also be 4-0.”

Dalton, who made his Saints regular-season debut after joining the team on a one-year contract during the offseason, finished 20-of-28 for 236 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

“We haven’t been out of any game we’ve played,” Dalton said. “It comes down to a game or two and we have to find a way to make those games that allow us to win and not the games that hurt us. When I look at it today, I said it from the start, two turnovers, six points, that completely changes the flow of this game and it starts with me.”

https://www.espn.com/blog/new-orleans-saints/post/_/id/35646/andy-dalton-gave-new-orleans-saints-offense-a-spark-but-bigger-issues-loom-after-1-3-start Dalton gave 1-3 Saints offense a spark, but bigger issues remain – New Orleans Saints Blog

Emma Bowman

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