NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 1 Game Recap: New Orleans Saints 38, Green Bay Packers 3

Sep 12, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) signals at the line in the first quarter during a game against the Green Bay Packers at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the more surprising outcomes from Sunday’s slate, the New Orleans Saints dominated the Green Bay Packers, 38-3, to open their respective seasons. Quarterback Jameis Winston was electric, captaining a Saints offense that seemingly scored whenever it pleased, while signal-caller Aaron Rodgers suffered the worst margin of victory in his time as the Packers’ starter.


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New Orleans Saints

Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston put any and all quarterback controversy to rest Sunday with a decimation of the Packers’ defense, tossing five touchdowns despite completing just 14 passes on 20 attempts. The former No. 1 overall pick was efficient, finishing with an 88.9% adjusted completion percentage, and safe with the ball, avoiding any turnover-worthy plays on first review. Winston’s initial grade on first review of the film ranks third among the Saints’ offensive starters.

Target Depth Comp./Att. Yds Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 5/5 31 100% 1
Short (0-9) 4/6 13 83.3% 1
Medium (10-19) 4/5 49 100% 2
Long (20+) 1/3 55 33.3% 1

Taysom Hill also found his way into Sunday’s game, seeing 22 snaps across multiple positions. On his lone passing attempt, Hill found running back Tony Jones Jr. for a three-yard completion. Hill was also given two carries, gaining one yard in the process.

Running Backs

The Saints’ rushing attack was strong throughout Sunday’s victory, totaling 171 total yards while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Alvin Kamara accumulated 83 yards on his 20 attempts. The majority of his production came after contact, with the former All-Pro amassing 67.5% of his yards after contact. Kamara also featured in the passing game, although his average depth of target was just -1.3 yards. He finished with eight total receiving yards on three catches, including a touchdown.

Following the release of Latavius Murray, Jones stepped in as Kamara’s backup and performed admirably. He forced a missed tackle while totaling 50 yards in just 11 attempts.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Wide receiver Deonte Harris led the team in receiving yards with 72, thanks in large part to a 55-yard touchdown strike midway through the fourth quarter. Tight end Adam Trautman paced the group in targets, drawing six while pulling in three receptions for 18 yards. Preseason breakout star Marquez Callaway’s 21 receiving snaps were the most of the unit, yet he pulled down just one reception despite seeing 50% of his targets go for over 20 yards. Tight end Juwan Johnson is on track to be the highest-graded member of the group after two of his three receptions went for touchdowns.

Receiver Rec. snaps Targets  Receptions  Yds/Yds After Catch 
Marquez Callaway 21 2 1 14/1
Alvin Kamara 19 4 3 8/16
Adam Trautman 17 4 2 10/0
Deonte Harris 14 2 2 72/5
Juwan Johnson 9 3 3 21/18
Ty Montgomery 7 1 1 5/5
Lil’Jordan Humphrey 6 0 0 0/0
Tony Jones Jr. 6 1 1 3/3
Taysom Hill 6 0 0 0/0
Garrett Griffin 4 0 0 0/0
Chris Hogan 4 1 1 10/0
Offensive Line

New Orleans did not allow a single sack in the victory but surrendered 10 total pressures and two quarterback hits. Still, Winston was routinely given ample time to throw — an average of 3.14 seconds to release the ball. Tackle Terron Armstead is on track to pace the group in pass-blocking grade on first review of the film.

Defensive Line

New Orleans’ defensive line limited Green Bay to an average of just 1.3 yards before contact in the run game. Interior defender Shy Tuttle was the standout of the group, with his tackles coming at an average of just one yard past the line of scrimmage. The unit also converted 15 total pressures into two sacks. Edge defender Tanoh Kpassagnon tied for the team lead with three pressures on first review.

Defender Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks 
Cameron Jordan  22 3 0
Tanoh Kpassagnon 20 3 1
Malcom Roach 18 0 0
Marcus Davenport 17 2 1
Carl Granderson 17 2 0
Shy Tuttle 15 0 0
Albert Huggins 13 2 0
Christian Ringo 12 1 0
Kwon Alexander 5 0 0
Demario Davis 5 1 0
Linebackers

Demario Davis picked up right where he left off in 2020 and is set to earn a unit-best overall grade on first review of the film. The former All-Pro was especially adept in coverage, allowing just a 67.1 passer rating for the game.

Secondary

The New Orleans secondary held the Packers to a lowly 49.8 passer rating on the day. Green Bay was unable to maintain any momentum through the air Sunday, averaging an uninspiring 6.2 air yards per completion and 4.3 yards after the catch. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore paced the group with two forced incompletions, allowing just two receptions on his five targets, while Williams snagged one of the team’s two interceptions.

Green Bay Packers

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers submitted one of the worst statistical performances of his career Sunday. He is set to earn the lowest overall PFF grade on offense for the Packers after finishing with just 133 yards through the air and two interceptions. There were few positives to take away from Rodgers’ performance, as he averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt while posting a ghastly 36.8 passer rating.

Quarterback Dropbacks Yds per Att. Adj. Comp. % Passer Rating
Aaron Rodgers 29 4.8 65.4% 36.8
Jordan Love 8 9.7 71.4% 102.1

Jordan Love eventually entered with the game out of reach, and he averaged 9.7 yards per attempt with an average depth of target of 13 yards. The second-year pro also displayed the inconsistency that has kept him tied to the bench, making one turnover-worthy throw.

Running Backs

Green Bay was forced to abandon the run early in Sunday’s contest, finishing with just 43 yards on the ground between four rushers. A.J. Dillon averaged 4.8 yards per carry, with 12 of his 19 yards coming after contact. Dillon and rookie Kylin Hill led the group, as both averaged 1.8 yards before contact while starter Aaron Jones averaged .8.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Wide receiver Davante Adams led all Green Bay pass-catchers with five receptions on seven targets for 56 yards, finishing with an average depth of target of 7.3 yards. Yet, he averaged just 2.4 yards after the catch per reception. 2020 breakout tight end Robert Tonyan was similarly disappointing and is set to earn a poor receiving grade after snagging two of his four targets for eight yards. Newly acquired wide receiver Randall Cobb hauled in one reception for 32 yards.

Receiver Rec. snaps Targets  Receptions  Yds/Yds After Catch 
Davante Adams 27 7 5 56/12
Allen Lazard 25 4 2 16/9
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 25 8 3 17/6
Robert Tonyan 20 4 2 8/10
Aaron Jones 14 2 2 13/13
Randall Cobb 11 1 1 32/3
Dominique Dafney 10 0 0 0/0
Amari Rodgers 9 1 1 19/4
Malik Taylor 8 3 2 14/8
Kylin Hill 7 0 0 0/0
A.J. Dillon 7 2 1 11/11
Mercedes Lewis 7 1 1 19/14
Offensive Line

Green Bay’s offensive line was far from impressive in Sunday’s loss, allowing 15 total pressures on first review, which New Orleans converted into six quarterback hits and two sacks. Left tackle Elgton Jenkins was the lone standout from the group and is on track to lead the unit in overall offensive grade, pass-blocking grade and run-blocking grade. He tied rookie center Josh Myers for fewest pressures allowed (1).

Defensive Line

Edge defender Preston Smith is on pace to be the highest-graded member of the unit on first review of the film, notching three stops in the contest. Interior defender Kingsley Keke performed well in limited snaps, collecting one of the team’s two tackles for loss while attaining an average depth of tackle of -1 yards.

Linebackers

Green Bay’s linebacker corps was similarly helpless against New Orleans’ onslaught, surrendering an average of 5.4 yards per play. De’Vondre Campbell was the lone bright spot in the unit, thanks in part to a unit-high six tackles including one tackle for loss.

Secondary

The Packers’ secondary looked helpless throughout Sunday’s blowout loss, allowing an average of 10.1 yards per completion. Safety Adrian Amos is set to earn the highest overall defensive grade in the unit. Cornerback Jaire Alexander allowed just a 50% completion percentage and a 59.4 passer rating.

Defender Cov. Snaps Receptions Allowed/ Targets Yds Allowed/Reception Passer Rtg Allowed
Jaire Alexander 24 2/4 7.5 59.4
Kevin King 24 2/2 36 158.3
Adrian Amos 24 2/2 2 118.8
De’Vondre Campbell 23 1/2 2 56.3
Darnell Savage 21 2/2 6.5 133.3
Chandon Sullivan 17 2/2 6.5 133.3
Krys Barnes 17 4/4 8 100
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