What We Saw: Week 2

Did your QB survive the week?

Saints @ Panthers

Final Score: Panthers 26, Saints 7

Writer: Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter)


The Saints came into this game after completely dismantling the Packers last week, while the Panthers were coming off a relatively comfortable win against the Jets. The Panthers picked up where they left off and made the Saints look like a completely different team than the one we saw in Week 1. Carolina was able to pressure Jameis Winston all game long, while also shutting down the Saints’ running game. Offensively, D.J. Moore and Sam Darnold connected early and often and combined with a healthy dose of Christian McCaffrey to lead an effective offense that was only forced to punt once in the first half. The Saints never got anything going, and as a team, they combined for fewer offensive yards than McCaffrey had by himself. The Saints took 11 penalties, many of them by the offensive line, and just never looked like a competent NFL offense. The Panthers won 26-7 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score looks. Perhaps the Saints were scared by the giant virtual cat the Panthers had running around their stadium, which was something I have never seen before and hope to never see again.



New Orleans Saints




Jameis Winston: 11/22, 111 yards, 2 INT, 3 Sacks | 3 carries, 19 yards, TD

Taysom Hill: 2 carries, 16 yards


Jameis Winston came crashing back to earth after a great Week 1 performance. Winston was under pressure most of the game, and actually did a pretty good job of handling that to begin the game. He looked comfortable moving with the ball in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield and made a few nice throws as a result. The problem was those throws were all short, and the pressure didn’t stop coming.



As the Saints offense continued to struggle, Winston started pressing, which led to some really poor decision-making. Winston’s first interception was a throw that had no chance of ever making it to a Saints player:



Winston’s second interception was just him forcing the ball late in the game with his team trailing, and his fumble came on a strip-sack. He was fortunate to not be intercepted more often, as he spent basically the entire second half throwing the ball into traffic and hoping for the best. Winston did score the team’s only touchdown on a scramble at the goal line, but aside from that Winston and the entire offense struggled all day and looked nothing like the team that dominated Green Bay just a week ago.



Running Backs


Alvin Kamara: 8 carries, 5 yards | 6 targets, 4 receptions, 25 yards

Tony Jones: 3 carries, 7 yards


A combined 11 carries and 6 targets mean there wasn’t much to say about the Saints’ running game today. Alvin Kamara was a complete non-factor, and his final receiving line is a bit inflated by two catches when Carolina was focused only on protecting the lead and was perfectly happy to concede short passes. There wasn’t much room for Kamara to operate, but there were two plays where he had a chance to break a big play if he could beat a defender one-on-one and wasn’t able to do so. Those types of plays are tough, but they’re plays we’ve come to expect Kamara to make look routine, so it was disappointing to see him tackled so easily. Tony Jones was hardly used, but he did share the field with Kamara on a few plays where the Saints lined up in a split-back formation. It’s not panic time for Kamara just yet, but it is concerning to see the Saints both abandon the run early in the game and not feature him as a receiver when they were desperate for playmaking.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Lil’Jordan Humphrey: 2 targets, 1 reception, 27 yards

Chris Hogan: 3 targets, 1 reception, 16 yards

Marques Callaway: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards

Deonte Harris: 2 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards

Juwan Johnson: 3 targets, 1 reception, 23 yards


It’s a tough day when two of your leading receivers each only had one reception. Lil’Jordan Humphrey had the Saints’ longest play, which wasn’t a particularly impressive play but when you don’t have a lot to get excited about, you have to make do.



Juwan Johnson didn’t get a catchable target until late in the game, and even then he was forced to make a difficult catch in traffic just to get on the board. Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris were invisible for most of the game on offense, and no one in this offense seemed capable of creating any separation on their routes.


Carolina Panthers




Sam Darnold: 26/38, 305 yards, 2 TD, INT, 2 Sacks | 1 carry, 7 yards


Sam Darnold had a good day overall, but there were some questionable moments that influenced his stat-line. When Darnold’s offensive line held up, he looked confident and delivered the ball on target and with good velocity. He routinely found D.J. Moore on quick slant routes, as he did for his second touchdown throw of the game.




Darnold’s first touchdown throw came on a blown coverage by the defense, and for the most part, all Darnold did was take what the defense gave him and let his playmakers do most of the work. That’s not a criticism, as Darnold did a great job of picking apart the Saints’ defense and leading scoring drives. His one turnover came on an attempted check down where he was hit as he threw, and that was just the worst example of Darnold’s struggles under pressure.



Darnold missed badly on several throws that should have been easy completions. It looked like he rushed his throw, or when he didn’t set his feet properly because he was under some pressure. It didn’t end up mattering today, but it’s something to watch going forward.


Running Backs


Christian McCaffrey: 24 carries, 72 yards, TD | 6 targets, 5 receptions, 65 yards

Chuba Hubbard: 8 carries, 10 yards


Christian McCaffrey briefly left this game with what appeared to be a cramp and did return not long after. While he was on the field, he looked like his usual self. His route running was great, he was consistently able to push defenders back for extra yards on his runs, and he was force-fed the ball whenever he was out there. On his touchdown run, McCaffrey made one defender miss before dragging two more into the end zone.



You don’t need me to tell you how good McCaffrey is, but he is in fact very good. Chuba Hubbard saw some work early in the game and was even trusted with a carry when the Panthers were in protect-the-lead mode. He won’t be a factor unless CMC gets hurt, but the coaching staff trusting Hubbard is probably a good sign that he would step into most of CMC’s role if necessary.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


D.J. Moore: 11 targets, 8 receptions, 79 yards, TD

Robby Anderson: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 38 yards

Terrace Marshall Jr.: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 17 yards

Dan Arnold: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 55 yards

Brandon Zylstra: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 44 yards, TD


D.J. Moore was seemingly always open today and had the Panthers been forced to pass more, he would have had a monster game. He frequently got open almost instantly on slant routes, and even when he didn’t create a ton of separation, he was able to make a few tough catches in traffic. He was clearly Darnold’s first read on almost every third down, as well as Darnold’s go-to target in the red zone. Moore had an additional red zone target wiped out by a holding call, and today he looked like the clear alpha receiver on the team. Robby Anderson just missed what could have been two long receptions, but he led the team in air yards today despite seeing only six targets.



Dan Arnold got loose a few times over the middle and appeared to be a primary read a few times in the red zone for Darnold but was covered well on those plays. Brandon Zylstra caught his first career touchdown on a blown defensive coverage off of a play-fake.



 — Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter).

One response to “What We Saw: Week 2”

  1. Voucher Sort says:

    thank you this is great. I just thought I’d let you know there’s a typo in yyour title though?

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