What We Saw: Week 1

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from this week's action

Titans @ Saints

Final Score: Saints 16, Titans 15

Writer: Jake Faigus (@jake_faigus on Twitter)


This game was the first game for Derek Carr in New Orleans and it ended up being a defensive slugfest between the Saints and the Titans. Both Carr and Ryan Tannehill dealt with very ugly games, but it was Carr that mustered just enough to help will his team to a win. Both defensive lines were all over this game with Jeffrey Simmons and Cameron Jordan leading the way for each team, while Amani Hooker and Marshon Lattimore made their marks in the secondary. The Titans kicked a field goal and trusted their defense to get a stop and get one more shot to win the game, but the Saints iced the game on offense and went to 1-0.

Three Up

  • Derek Carr looked sharp in his New Orleans debut and despite having an interception was the reason they won the game with a late touchdown pass.
  • Chris Olave built off his great rookie season with a standout performance in the receiving corps and seems to already Derek Carr’s favorite target.
  • DeAndre Hopkins stood out immediately in the Tennessee receiving corps and made the most of his targets, despite the Titans passing game struggling overall.

Three Down

  • Ryan Tannehill really struggled for the Titans, highlighted by three interceptions, if his sub-par play continues Malik Willis or Will Levis might see more time under center.
  • Derrick Henry was bottled up by the New Orleans defense and couldn’t find many running lanes inside or outside the tackles.
  • Jamaal Williams didn’t do much on the ground in place of Alvin Kamara and he cost the Saints with a fumble too. The Saints will need more from him until Kamara comes back from his suspension.


Tennessee Titans




Ryan Tannehill: 16/34, 198 Yards, 3 INT | 3 Carries, 5 Yards


Ryan Tannehill really struggled in this game. The New Orleans Saints defense deserves credit for how much havoc they caused. He was sacked three times on top of having a completion percentage below 50%, three interceptions, and the offense stalled on 10 of 12 third downs. He wasn’t asked to throw deep a lot because he only had 5.8 yards per attempt and his longest pass went for a 46 yard gain to Derrick Henry off a pass out of the backfield. Still, it was a game to forget for Tannehill. The deep passes weren’t kind to Tannehill in this game. The three interceptions he threw were all on passes of at least 20 yards or more. The New Orleans defense confused and stifled him all game and it was reflected when he didn’t throw a deep bomb almost the entire game. Two of the interceptions were on throws to DeAndre Hopkins and another was on a throw to Chris Moore.


Running Back


Derrick Henry: 15 Carries, 63 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 56 Yards


Derrick Henry was bottled up in this game. He only had 15 carries and 17 touches overall and just couldn’t break free on the ground. The Saints game-planned for Henry and it worked. stifling him anytime he thought he had some open space. His usual massive impact on games was minimal and he was quiet most of the game. His longest play of the day wasn’t a run, but a reception where he caught a short pass from Tannehill and went to work from there for 46 yards. His longest run of the day went for 18 yards in comparison. His yards per play was low by his standard at 4.2. Henry should still be an RB1 play, but his stock continues to fall because he can’t do everything by himself for the Titans anymore and a performance like this doesn’t help that at all too.


Tyjae Spears: 3 Carries, 27 Yards | 4 Targets, 1 Reception, 1 Yard


Rookie running back Tyjae Spears saw very limited time in this game, but made the most of it with 9 yards per carry. His longest play was his second touch of the game where he had a 17 yard run in the third quarter. Spears isn’t a playable running back just yet because of Henry’s workload, but he has promise as a rookie and has a chance for his role to continue to expand over the course of the season.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


DeAndre Hopkins: 13 Targets, 7 Receptions, 65 Yards


DeAndre Hopkins was the biggest bright spot for the Tennessee offense in this game. He was reliable in a defensive slugfest. His longest catch was for 16 yards and he averaged 9.3 yards per catch. He made a mark by being a safety valve for Tannehill when he could get him the ball. DeAndre Hopkins deserves WR2 consideration because he’s going to continue to see an increased volume in targets for the Titans, regardless of if the quarterback changes or not.


Treylon Burks: 1 Carry, 9 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 18 Yards


Treylon Burks didn’t have much of an impact on this game at all. With Tannehill fighting for his life as often as he was against New Orleans’ stiff defensive front, I wonder if he even had time to look Burks’ way. That is the benefit of having an absolute stud at WR in DeAndre Hopkins – when the pocket collapses and you need to get rid of it before going through your progressions, you know you can chuck it Hopkins’ way and pray he can make a play on it. More often than not he can. Burks just isn’t that kind of guy yet.


Nick Westbrook-Ikhine: 7 Targets, 4 Receptions, 58 Yards


Nick Westbrook-Ikhine showed up as the second best receiver in this game. He had the second longest play of the game for Tennessee with a 24-yard catch and he had a 21-yard catch both on the same drive in the fourth quarter. It’s almost as if the defense forgot about him as they tried to lock down the more notable names in the offense. Westbrook-Ikhine’s issue is that he’s not a reliable play. He’ll show up sometimes and in other games won’t have a catch at all.


Chris Moore: 1 Target


Chris Moore was targeted once on a deep pass and it resulted in an interception.


Chigoziem Okonkwo: 2 Targets


Chigoziem Okonkwo was targeted twice and couldn’t help out the offense much else after that. Similar to Burks, Tannehill just couldn’t get past his first progression (Hopkins) very often due to the breakdown in protection up front.


New Orleans Saints





Derek Carr: 23/33, 305 Yards, TD, INT | 3 Carries, 4 Yards


The Derek Carr era started off a bit rocky, but overall was a good start for the Saints. He was able to find the New Orleans receivers early and often, mainly Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed. He had to pick up some slack on offense because the Saints didn’t have much success running the ball. He found Olave for his longest pass of the game at 45 yards in the third quarter and then Shaheed for 41 yards in the 4th quarter on the throw that iced the game for New Orleans. He averaged 9.2 yards per pass in this game, which was much better than what Tannehill had for the Titans.

Things need to be cleaned up for him overall because the interception was bad with it being a deep pass to Juwan Johnson that was picked by Amani Hooker. It was Carr’s fault. Still, the future looks bright in New Orleans.


Running Back


Jamaal Williams: 18 Carries, 45 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 7 Yards | Fumble (Recovered)


Jamaal Williams wasn’t able to do much on the ground for the Saints. He averaged 2.5 yards per carry and fumbled, even though he did recover it. He’s starting at running back until Alvin Kamara comes back from his suspension, but still, he needs to do more on the ground for the Saints while Kamara’s out. He only had one run in double digits and it was the run that iced the game for the Saints when he went for 11 yards, which is also the run he fumbled.


Taysom Hill: 3 Carries, 4 Yards | 1 Target


We had a Taysom Hill sighting, but he didn’t do much against the Tennessee defense. Still, Hill will most-likely continue to have a role with the Saints across the board, from receiver/tight end to bruising running back.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Chris Olave: 10 Targets, 8 Receptions, 112 Yards


Chris Olave is one of the best young receivers in the NFL and it helps a ton that Derek Carr clearly likes throwing him the ball. He’s firmly cemented as the top receiver in New Orleans and rightfully so. Carr had his longest pass of the day go to Olave for 45 yards. He also averaged 14 yards per catch against a great defense in the Titans. he had no negative plays to note either. Olave did get banged up in this game, an injury to his right leg. This is worth monitoring in the weeks ahead as we’ve got a long season ahead of us.



Michael Thomas: 8 Targets, 5 Receptions, 61 Yards


Michael Thomas is back and made a statement in the game. His statement was proving that he’s still got it after dealing with so many different injury issues over the past couple of seasons. If one game is any indication, he seems like he may have been surpassed in the receiving pecking order to both Olave and Shaeed, but he’s still solid and a safety valve for Carr when he needs it. His longest play of the game was 25 yards and he averaged 12.5 yards per catch. He was targeted early and often but took more of a back seat as the game progressed. Did he get tired? Did the defense finally realize who they’re dealing with? Either way, this was a positive performance and a good sign of things to come for anyone who took the leap on Thomas in drafts.


Juwan Johnson: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 36 Yards


Juwan Jonson didn’t light world on fire, but he was solid in this game against a good defense. He was able to help Derek Carr when needed. He had a big reception of 27 yards before halftime and that helped up his catch yardage average to 12 yards a catch.


Rashid Shaheed: 2 Carries, 11 Yards | 6 Targets, 5 Receptions, 89 Yards, TD | 1 Fumble (Lost)


In my opinion, Rashid Shaheed cemented himself as the WR2 on the Saints with this performance. He was great except the fumble. He had a 19-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter that ended up being the difference in the game. He had a deep catch of 41 yards on the final drive of the game that essentially sealed it – however, he stumbled out of bounds after making the catch despite having a clear path to the end zone. A huge missed opportunity for anyone who took a shot on Shaheed this week as it likely would have been another score.

The fumble happened after he caught the ball for a 19 yard gain on the first possession and first play of the game. he averaged 17.8 yards per catch overall. He started out rough, but redeemed himself from there.


Keith Kirkwood: 1 Target


Derek Carr had an incomplete pass to Kirkwood on a deep pass and that was it for him in this game.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.