The New Orleans Saints’ defense was supposed to feast on this Thanksgiving Sunday against a Denver Broncos team that was stuck with all of its quarterbacks on the COVID-reserve list.
And, wow, did they ever.
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The Saints (9-2) set a franchise record with just 112 yards allowed and forced three turnovers while winning their eighth straight game in a 31-3 rout. Broncos “quarterback” Kendall Hinton (a former Wake Forest quarterback who was actually serving as a practice-squad receiver) completed only 1 of 9 passes for 13 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
It didn’t even matter that Saints quarterback Taysom Hill suffered a big letdown in his second career start, completing just 9 of 16 passes for 78 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception of his own, while running for 44 yards and two touchdowns.
But don’t shortchange the Saints’ defense just because they rolled out the red carpet for this one. They’ve been feasting for a month now.
The Saints have now allowed only one touchdown in the past four weeks (a 38-3 win at Tampa Bay in Week 9, a 27-13 win over San Francisco in Week 10, a 24-9 win over Atlanta in Week 11).
The other turnovers were interceptions by cornerback Janoris Jenkins (who limped off with a knee injury after the play) and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (who has been playing lights-out for the last month).
Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore also broke up a third-down pass in the first quarter that should have been intercepted. Defensive end Cameron Jordan had a sack, giving him four over the past two weeks after a slow start to the season.
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QB Breakdown: Hill’s final numbers would have been more disappointing if … you know … the Saints had actually needed him to play well. But it was still a bit disturbing that he looked so hesitant throughout the game after he had looked surprisingly poised and polished in last week’s debut win over the Falcons.
Hill’s hesitance helped lead to three sacks, two delay-of-game penalties and some other aborted plays early in the game. He held the ball instead of throwing a screen pass at one point, which led to an illegal-man-downfield penalty. He missed way too high on one downfield throw to tight end Jared Cook before throwing a
Patrick (hamstring) was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, Troy Renck of Denver 7 News reports.
Patrick was limited all week leading up to this past Sunday’s loss to the Falcons, a game in which he played 60 of the Broncos’ 73 offensive snaps and recorded a 4-29-1 line. Provided he doesn’t suffer a setback, Patrick should be ready to go for this Sunday’s divisional tilt against the Raiders.