Home Featured Teams New Orleans Saints Saints Defense Steps up With Best Showing of the Season Against Jaguars

Saints Defense Steps up With Best Showing of the Season Against Jaguars

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Courtesy of Michael C. Hebert/New Orleans Saints

Due to the thoroughly convincing manner in which the Saints defense stifled the Jaguars, coach Sean Payton believes they could’ve sustained their efforts for eight quarters.

That supreme confidence stems from the Saints (5-1) shutting down the aerial attack of Garner Minshew and limiting the ground game of Leonard Fournette, as they held the host Jaguars (2-4) out of the end zone en route to grinding out a 13-6 victory.

The Saints have marched towards four straight victories and remain atop the NFC South standings as quarterback Drew Brees remains sidelined due to a thumb injury.

Teddy Bridgewater connected with Jared Cook for the go-ahead touchdown with 11:49 left in the game. Wil Lutz converted field goals of 47 yards and 22 yards apiece in the first quarter and third quarter.

Minshew finished 14-of-29 for 163 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Marshon Lattimore recorded the interception early in the third quarter to halt a potential scoring drive.

This was the first interception for Minshew as a starter since taking over for the injured Nick Foles (collarbone) in Week 1. For perspective, Minshew passed for 374 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions the week prior in a loss to the Panthers (4-2).

“The defense had another stellar performance today,” Brees told CST. “…There’s a strong belief over there. There’s a strong confidence.”

Defensive end Cameron Jordan, who tallied two sacks in the victory, explains how the Saints were able to sidetrack Minshew.

“When you talk about his ability to scramble, we’ve played some elusive quarterbacks our first four or five games, not sure if you noticed. But when you talk about us being accustomed to a scrambling-type quarterback, we had a game plan set in motion,” Jordan said. “I feel like we went out and executed just that. We made him a pocket passer, and we created opportunities for our defense to create turnovers, and we capitalized on one out of a possible three.”

Fournette registered 333 yards rushing combined in his previous two games but the Saints managed to hold him to 72 yards.

“He’s just proven to be one of the top backs in the league. He’s very explosive, a very tough tackle, very elusive if you allow him to get into space. So we knew it was going to be a game that was going to be a slugfest,” Saints linebacker Demario Davis said. “They have a good offensive line and he loves to run behind them. They’re a good group and they’re playing good football. It was a tough challenge, so we were glad to prevail.”

The Jaguars converted only 4 of their 14 third-down attempts. Jordan envisions even more defensive line dominance from the Saints now that depth has been restored.

“I said at the beginning of the season that we’re only going to continue to get stronger as a defensive line. After the first game, we got David Onjemata back. We got Mario Edwards back. We ended up getting Sheldon Rankins back. Each and every game, you saw the flashes of how good we could be,” Jordan said. “It also shows us the amends of what happens when our defensive line reinforces each other. Last game, you saw a flash of Carl Granderson. We have depth on our defensive line, and that’s something we haven’t always been able to say.”

Second-year defensive end Marcus Davenport explains how practice sets the necessary tone for gratifying game days.

“We do a lot of our stuff in practice. We try to go full speed and win in practice. That way, it’s natural come game time,” Davenport said. “And even in the game, we miss stuff, we miss opportunities, we see keys. We do challenge each other on the field, too.”

While Brees is taking positive steps in his recovery, such as now being able to throw with an NFL ball again, there’s still no official word on when he’ll return. In the meantime though, the defense is locked in to do their part to ensure the winning streak continues, as the Saints hit the road to face the Bears (3-2) on Sunday.

“We’ve been inspired. It’s been our mindset to do our job,” Davenport said. “You have to win the way you have to win and in order for us to win, we have to do our job. That’s the most important key.”

To get the latest updates, watch Saints Gameday featuring live pregame coverage with analysis, interviews and feature reports. This week watch Saints Gameday on CST – Sunday, Oct. 20 at 10:30am CT (check local listings for channel information).