The New Orleans Saints moved to 4-2 on the season after defeating the Seattle Seahawks on the road 13-10. After Jameis Winston was able to lead the Saints' offense on a 42-yard drive that resulted in the go-ahead field goal late in the fourth quarter, Geno Smith and the Seahawks were unable to march down the field to -- at the very least -- force overtime. On that final drive of the game for Seattle, the Saints were able to sack Smith twice to truly ice the contest and pull away with the win.
Out of the gate, it looked like Smith and the Seahawks were going to pull off the prime-time win as the veteran quarterback connected with receiver DK Metcalf for an 84-yard touchdown to begin the scoring for the evening. However, Seattle's offense went silent for the remainder of the first half while the Saints were able to claw into the lead. Just before these teams went into the locker room at halftime, the New Orleans was able to pull off a two-minute drill that traveled 85 yards don't the field and resulted in an Alvin Kamara touchdown reception to take a 10-7 lead. At that point, Seattle seemed to be on its heels.
Alvin Kamara was the star of Monday night as the Saints star back had 30 touches for 179 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. He primarily did his damage in the passing game, catching 10 of his 11 targets for 128 yards and that score. Winston finished 19 of 35 passing for 222 yards and a touchdown. On the other side, Smith completed 12 of his 22 throws for 167 yards and a touchdown. As a team, Seattle rushed 28 times for just 90 yards (3.2 yards per carry).
Fore a more in-depth look at how this game unfolded, check out our takeaways below.
Why the Saints won
Kamara carried the offense for the bulk of the night. Out of New Orleans' 68 total plays on offense, he touched the ball nearly 50% of the time (30 touches). The Pro Bowl back also accounted for 58.8% of the Saints' overall offensive production, finishing with 179 yards from scrimmage. That type of performance was needed as the New Orleans wide receiver unit couldn't really get into a consistent rhythm for much of the game. The fact that the Seahawks had no answer for Kamara helped Sean Payton's team earn an edge in time of possession, particularly early in the game.
The Saints also were able to absorb Seattle's opening punch of the game in the form of a Metcalf 84-yard touchdown and bounced back well. On back-to-back drives just before halftime, New Orleans went on a 10-0 run to take the lead. Over that stretch, they held on to the ball for more than 12 minutes and travelled more than 80 yards on each of those two possessions.
While Kamara was dominating out of the New Orleans backfield, the Saints' defense was smothering Seattle's running game throughout the evening. The Seahawks clearly wanted to run the offense through the ground game, but they couldn't get much of anything going, especially with starter Alex Collins, who the Saints limited to just 35 yards on 16 carries.
Why the Seahawks lost
It seemed like Pete Carroll didn't want to put the game in Smith's hands. The veteran quarterback gave early flashes that he could possibly pull out the win with his arm with that touchdown bomb to Metcalf, but the Seahawks continued to force-feed the running game to a maddening degree. After that touchdown to Metcalf, the star receiver went 38 offensive snaps before receiving another target, which came at the 11:51 mark in the fourth quarter. Getting the ball in his hands along with Tyler Lockett (two catches on three targets) should have been a much bigger priority, especially as the backfield kept running into a wall.
While Smith maybe should have been given a longer leash in the passing game, he also didn't do his team many favors in this game either. There were a handful of times where Seattle was needlessly forced to burn timeouts as the play clock was ticking down to zero. That was due to Smith trying to adjust at the line of scrimmage and not noticing how much time was left to get the play off. Not having those timeouts did prove costly in their hopes of possibly moving down the field late to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter.
Issues in the kicking game also put Seattle behind the eight ball as Jason Meyers missed two field goals in the loss, both coming in the second half.
At around the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, it looked as if the Seahawks were going to force the Saints into a three-and-out as linebacker Bobby Wagner was wrapping up Winston for a 5-yard sack. However, Marquise Blair committed a clear roughing the passer penalty that not only negated the sack but gave New Orleans a new set of downs. It also completely flipped the field as they were now into Seattle territory at the 41-yard line.
Penalties really plagued Seattle on that drive as they were also called for an encroachment penalty on a fourth-and-5 play later on in the possession where Seattle was liming up for a field goal. While they would eventually settle for a field goal, that penalty chewed off another minute of time on the clock and burned the two-minute warning.
That drive ultimately resulted in the game-winning kick by undrafted rookie Brian Johnson.
Play of the game
You won't find a a more dramatic play from this game than Metcalf's 84-yard touchdown to open up the scoring. Smith saw that the safety was playing the middle of the field, which meant Metcalf had a one-on-one with Marshon Lattimore. He was able to get a step on the Saints corner as he made a play on the ball, secured the catch and galloped the rest of the way for a touchdown. Unfortunately for Seattle, that was essentially all we saw from Metcalf for the rest of the game as he finished with just one other catch that came in the fourth quarter.
From here, the Saints will head back to New Orleans and await the division-leading Buccaneers for their first of two matchups this season. Tampa Bay will be coming into that game winners of four straight, including a 38-3 rout vs. the Bears on Sunday. As for the Seahawks, they'll be sticking around Seattle in Week 8 when they play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are fresh off a Week 7 bye.