The Saints hadn’t played outdoors since Week Six.
Their offense wasn’t quite as explosive as usual in Tennessee, but New Orleans got the job done with a few big fourth quarter plays. Here’s what we learned in New Orleans’ 22-17 win.
1. This game looked over when the Saints went up 22-10 midway through the fourth quarter. Titans rookie Jake Locker, playing for an injured Matt Hasselbeck, managed to get the Titans in position to win with the ball on the five-yard line with seven seconds left.
2. Unfortunately, the game ended on a “rookie mistake” by Locker. He dropped back to pass and couldn’t find anyone open. He scrambled to his right, didn’t get rid of the ball, and tried to change directions before getting sacked by JoLonn Dunbar to end the game.
Locker had his moments in the game, but he has to give some receiver a chance to make a play. It looked like Jared Cook — who Locker was looking right at — had a chance to box out the defender on his hip. Call it a learning experience.
3. Locker showed some toughness after taking a massive hit from Roman Harper. He had to leave for a play, but returned quickly. (Hasselbeck was able to take that snap and completed a pass, indicating he may be able to start next week.)
4. The Saints offense was content to dink and dunk all day. They only had nine points heading into the fourth quarter, but Drew Brees hit Marques Colston for two big pass plays in the fourth quarter. New Orleans just doesn’t have the same offense on the road on grass, but they got the job done Sunday.
5. Chris Johnson had another weak effort. He put up 23 yards on 11 rushes. He had a ton of open field space late in the game on a reception and couldn’t make Malcom Jenkins miss. It was a wildly tentative play that came up a yard short of the first down. The Titans didn’t wind up getting a first down.
6. The Saints are cruising to the NFC South title at 10-3. They have won five straight games, four against teams that had winning records at the time.
7. The Titans, now 7-6, will probably have to win out to make the playoffs. The Texans have won the AFC South.