Alvin Kamara’s huge night not enough to end Saints’ early-season funk – NFL Nation
NEW ORLEANS — Alvin Kamara revived the New Orleans Saints’ offense with a huge Sunday night performance. But their defense regressed as they fell to 1-2 with a 37-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The Saints’ defense added a new problem to its arsenal, giving up deep passes of 72 and 48 yards to Packers receiver Allen Lazard. They couldn’t catch up even though Kamara had 197 yards from scrimmage and two TD catches, including a dazzling 52-yarder in the third quarter.
Kamara has two TDs in each game this season — already matching his total from last year’s injury-plagued season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the second player in NFL history with three rushing TDs and three receiving TDs in his team’s first three games, along with Roger Craig in 1985.
Kamara set a career high with 139 receiving yards on 13 catches. He has 285 receiving yards on the season, fourth most by a running back through three games in the Super Bowl era.
The Saints could really use receiver Michael Thomas in Detroit next week, though their defense might be the more pressing concern. This is their first two-game losing streak since they started 0-2 in 2017.
QB breakdown: Drew Brees relied on short and intermediate throws (his average air yards per attempt dropped from a league-low 4.81 to 4.61, per ESPN Stats & Information). But he seemed a lot more efficient in Week 3, especially during a two-minute drill before halftime, when he went 8-of-10 for 63 yards and a TD. He finished 29-of-36 passing for 288 yards, three TDs and no turnovers.
Troubling trends: A double whammy for the Saints’ defense. They had an all-new problem when they couldn’t stop the deep ball (Lazard got behind No. 1 cornerback Marshon Lattimore on the first one and behind dime safety P.J. Williams on the second one). Before that, the Saints had allowed only two passes of more than 30 yards all season (37 and 31 in a Week 1 win over Tampa Bay).
They also had a familiar problem Sunday, with at least three more pass interference penalties contributing to their total of eight penalties for 83 yards. The Saints came 10 yards shy of leading the NFL in penalty yardage for the third straight week.
Pivotal play: The Lazard catches were the obvious back-breakers. But a lost fumble by read-option QB Taysom Hill in Packers territory early in the fourth quarter didn’t help. That led to a field goal by the Packers that gave Green Bay a 30-27 lead it never lost. It was Hill’s second career fumble.
Promising trend: Brees and receiver Emmanuel Sanders started to form a bit of a connection, starting with Sanders’ first TD catch of the season for 10 yards just before halftime. Sanders finished the game with four catches for 56 yards after catching a total of four passes for 33 yards the first two weeks.
Silver lining: This always seems like an empty statistic after a loss. But the Saints extended their NFL-best streak to 46 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher, including in the playoffs. That’s noteworthy considering that Aaron Jones broke loose for 168 rushing yards last week. Jones finished with 69 yards and a TD on 16 carries Sunday.