Malcolm Jenkins is the Week 3 Saints player of the game

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It was tough to single out one player as the best on the field for the New Orleans Saints this week. Marshon Lattimore made a compelling case in his triumphant return from hand surgery, capping their win over the New England Patriots with an interception after locking up every receiver they lined up against him. Demario Davis was worthy, you, showing off the sideline-to-sideline speed that fans coveted for years before his arrival.

But in the end I went with Malcolm Jenkins. The veteran safety was all over the place on Sunday, and his highlight reel-worthy defensive touchdown coming out of halftime is just one bright moment among many. Credit him for being in the right spot at the right time to snag a pass tipped off of a Patriots receiver’s hands, following up by sprinting to the end zone.

Again, that’s one great play out of the bunch. Mac Jones threw at Jenkins more than any other Saints defender, but only 5 of his 10 attempts were completed, gaining just 43 yards. Jenkins didn’t miss a single tackle throughout the game and was credited with three stops (meaning either a tackle for loss of yards or insufficient gain).

His best impact might not be found in a box score. Jenkins was instrumental in communicating between the secondary and the defensive front, keeping everyone in sync and almost playing with one heartbeat. Coverage busts were rare, and there was only one penalty for defensive pass interference (a ticky-tack foul on Paulson Adebo, who shook it off). That was most evident in the Patriots’ attempts at going deep against New Orleans.

Mac Jones threw 11 passes beyond 20 yards downfield, and only completed one of them (a 27-yard gain early in a drive which ended on a field goal). The Saints didn’t give him any opportunities to make a big play and hurt them over the top, and Jenkins’ quick decision-making and sharp football mind did a lot to accomplish that. Not bad for someone entering his 13th year in the NFL.

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