Saints Fall Short in Shootout Against Burrow and His Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals, boasting a number of former Saints and LSU alumni, visited the Caesar's Superdome to face the Black and Gold on Sunday. Both teams were looking to even up their records.
Quarterback Andy Dalton would be operating with the reserves at the receiver position, with Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave, and Deonte Harty all out with injury.
The Bengals would receive the ball first and go nowhere, with Demario Davis stating his intent, sacking Joe Burrow on third down.
On the Saints first drive, they also didn't get much going at first. Andy Dalton missed a wide open Rashid Shaheed on a fly route, but the Saints ended up having to punt. However, Bengals returner Trent Taylor fumbled the ball, and the Saints drive would continue.
The Black and Gold weren't going to let that opportunity pass them by, and Dalton scored his first touchdown against his former team on a toss to Tre'Quan Smith.
The Bengals got the ball and started to drive. They didn't get too far. A pair of incompletions from Joe Burrow on 2nd and 3rd down lead to a Kevin Huber punt. The Saints would have the ball again.
The Saints would go three-and-out. Blake Gillikin hammered one and, after the return, the Bengals would start at their 25. They moved the ball well, quickly getting into Saints territory. A bad roughing the passer call gave the Bengals a free first down and they took the momentum all the way to the endzone. Burrow hit his running back Joe Mixon for a short score to tie up the game.
The Saints would get the ball and the 1st quarter would end.
Coming out of the quarter break, Mark Ingram would grab 14 yards to cross the midfield line. The drive would not go on much longer... because Rashid Shaheed decided to take the ball 44 yards on a jet sweep and score his first career touchdown.
(Bonus: Eli Apple got caught completely out of position on that play. Ha.)
The Bengals would get their first drive of the quarter, now down a touchdown. The Saints defense would hold Burrow's offense to a three-and-out.
Alvin Kamara would get the offense started this time with a big run. Taysom Hill wasn't about to let him have all the fun, and so broke off a big one of his own. After an unfortunate Adam Trautman injury, the offense stalled and the Wil Lutz would come on for his first field goal of the day.
Of course, he's Wil Lutz, so it went through.
The Bengals started to move down the field, and Joe Burrow would turn a broken pass play, in which the Saints brought 6 blitzers, into a touchdown run. The impressive play would make the score 17-14.
The Saints had a chance to get a two-fer as the first half was in its final frame, knowing they would get the ball after the half. They were able to drive all the way down to the Bengals 12 yard line. Some excellent clock management from Dennis Allen led to a Wil Lutz field goal with a single second left in the half.
The Saints would go into the halftime break up by 6.
The Saints would receive the second half kick. Their first drive was plagued by penalties early. On the teams first third down, they replayed 3rd down four separate times before a roughing the passer called on Trey Hendrickson awarded them a first down for free.
After that sloppiness concluded, the Saints were able to get well within WIl Lutz's generous field goal range. Lutz hammered it through and the Saints stretched their lead.
The Bengals would come out for their first drive of the half moving well. Ja'marr Chase would get the Bengals into the endzone in his home town and the Saints lead would decrease to 2.
The Saints would keep pounding the run, moving the ball well as the third quarter ended.
The Saints continued to drive after the 4th started, but the drive, like many other Saints drives on the day, stalled in the red zone and the Saints had to settle for yet another Lutz field goal.
This drive would be a big one for the Bengals and the Saints defense. Two straight huge sacks for the Saints would fire up the Dome. The Bengals would be faced with a 4th and 20. Evan McPherson would come out and kick a 52-yarder to bring the deficit back down to 2... again.
The Saints defense came up big. It was time for the offense to do the same.
With the ball in their hands, and only about 3 minutes remaining, the Saints just needed to keep the ball moving.
They went three-and-out. Blake Gillikin shanked the punt. Disaster.
Ja'Marr Chase scored on the first offensive play. The only bright spot? The Bengals did not convert the two-point conversion. The Saints lost the lead for the first time in the game, 30-26.
The Saints needed a touchdown. Instead, Andy Dalton got sacked on third and long. The Saints would lose and fall to 2-4 on the season.