“You have to be aware of scrambling quarterbacks, such as Cam (Newton) and Russell (Wilson), and we definitely learned from our mistakes.” Cameron Jordan, Saints defensive end
Six days ago, Seattle’s Russell Wilson made it look so easy, the way he picked apart the Saints defense.
Carolina’s Cam Newton worked much harder on Sunday night, and without anywhere near the same success. In fact, this 31-13 loss to the Saints proved to be one of Newton’s worst games of the season.
He was hurried, harassed and knocked around at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Saints proving there would be no defensive hangover after an embarrassing 34-7 rout at Seattle.
Newton completed 22 of 34 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed six times for 48 yards.
On Monday night, Wilson threw for 310 yards and three TDs.
“He does a great job of extending plays, and it really makes it tough on your man or zone coverages,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “It’s not problem for three-and-a-half seconds or four seconds. But all of a sudden, there’s six, seven-second route.”
Not Sunday night.
Earlier this week, the Saints managed just one sack against Wilson. On Sunday, outside linebacker Junior Galette did his sack dance three times, including a third-down takedown of Newton late in the third quarter.
Defensive end Cameron Jordan had two, including early in the fourth quarter on another third down. This time is was third-and-20 at the Carolina 18, forcing the Panthers, trailing 24-6, to punt.
“We had to refocus and re-emphasize just the ability to collapse the pocket and at the same time, keep containment,” Jordan said.
“You have to be aware of scrambling quarterbacks, such as Cam and Russell, and we definitely learned from our mistakes.”
One of Newton’s few good runs was for 15 yards early in the forth, setting up a first-and-goal, one of the few times the Saints defense did not contain him to the pocket. On third down, Galette collected his third sack of the game.
The drive ended unlike Carolina’s two previous red zone battles — with Newton’s 17-yard TD pass to Steve Smith with 5:15 remaining.
Even when Newton did escape the Saints pass rush sack-free, he was often forced to watch from the turf, many of his throws rushed. That made the secondary’s job easier, including that of cornerback Corey White, the replacement for injured starter Jabari Greer.
White proved to be no substitute pushover, staying step-for- step in the second quarter with tight end Greg Olsen on a third down.
Olsen needed six for a first down. White gave him one.
Not that Newton did much better.
The Saints were equally strong against the Carolina rushing attack, holding DeAngelo Williams to 52 yards.
Smith’s TD catch offered his lone opportunity to trash talk, as he’s known to do. Smith finished with six catches for 49 yards.
“You have to be plastered to your guy,” said Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis. “Sometimes they’re going to make plays. They’re one of the best offenses in the league. They’re going to get theirs. You just have to get yours, too.”
On this night, the Saints got more.