Five takes from the loss of the Saints to the Dolphins
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Take one: Covid shakes up the Saints
At the start of the game, the # 91 of the Saints made a nice blow to Tua Tagovailoa during the transfer. When I went to tweet about it, I realized I had no idea who the player was. It took me a minute to locate the name on the adjusted roster given to us before the game. Eventually I found out it was Ethan Westbrooks, an added player on the practice squad.
It wasn’t the only time during the game that I had to search to find who was a player on the field for the Saints. This is what 21 players with Covid-19 do to a team trying to compete with one of the hottest teams in the NFL.
There were so many unrecognizable names on the pitch that by the time he reached the middle of the third quarter it really felt like a preseason game.
Some have wondered why this game was even played. Despite my repeated attempts, I could not find out if there was a threshold of absent players to force a cancellation or a postponement. It probably had something to do with it being a Monday night game.
Either way, the show continued and the product on the pitch was exactly what we all should have expected. Coming into this game, the feeling that a victory under these circumstances would have been one of the greatest achievements in franchise history.
The Saints did not come near. Despite objections from the fan base, everything counts and the loss now drops them down to 7-8.
Take two: the beginnings of the book
Ian Book will have better days. His first start to his career came under almost impossible circumstances. The rookie found he started on Thursday, was only able to get one virtual tour – not even real practice – on Friday, and was playing behind a makeshift offensive line.
Book’s play in the field was like those struggles. Above all, it seemed like the speed of the game had affected him, as he seemed to be a slow step in his progress and decision making. It certainly didn’t help that his offensive line struggled all night. In all, Book has been fired eight times and kidnapped twice.
His first interception was the one he would like to have in return. The book was late on a throw from the apartment and left it too far inside. It also seemed to be a tip. The Dolphins defenseman easily cut the pass, made the selection and rushed into the end zone for an early score.
All in all, it was a tough day at the office, but everyone understands that he was not in the best position to be successful.
Take three: admirable defense effort
One of the few bright spots on Monday was the quality of the defense despite the fact that two of their ironmen and leaders were unavailable, DeMario Davis and Malcolm Jenkins. It was a concern early on in the game, but it faded pretty quickly.
Defensive end Marcus Davenport played exceptionally, while Pete Werner was up to the challenge at center linebacker and Zack Baun was solid. In high school, Marshon Lattimore had an interception, while PJ Williams appeared to be a good substitute for Jenkins.
In the end, they weren’t perfect, but they allowed just 13 points and gave the offense enough chances to stay in the game.
Take Four: Waddle shines
The best player on the football field on Monday wore the # 17 for the Miami Dolphins. Jaylen Waddle has shown why he is such an exciting young prospect. Watching Waddle reiterated how much the Saints need a dynamic playmaker to wide receiver.
Waddle came all night for the Dolphins. Their coaches also do a great job of getting creative with him to offer him football, and he took advantage of that on Monday.
He finished with ten catches, 92 yards and one touchdown.
On a night where the Saints’ defense played well overall, Waddle was the one guy they couldn’t quite contain.
Take five: other observations
- The game might have been different if Davenport’s sack / fumble had been picked up by the Saints. Instead, the Dolphins were able to recover and save three points from a near disaster.
- The Saints were 0/12 on the third down.
- The Saints haven’t scored a touchdown in two games.
- The Saints are 1-5 at home this season.
- Just hours before kick-off, the CDC reduced the isolation window for Covid-19 positive patients from ten to five days. It likely would have impacted the number of Saints players available if it had been in place last week.
- Cesar Ruiz is in trouble. As one of the two main starters on the offensive line, Ruiz hasn’t played well. It’s incredibly disappointing considering how much the team needed their former first-round pick to perform on a night when they were severely shorthanded.
- At 7-8, the Saints are now in must-have mode.
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