Saints at Washington Week 5 game recap: Everything we know from 33-22 win

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Whew. That was wild. The New Orleans Saints hurt themselves with a ton of negative plays and penalties going into the fourth quarter against the Washington Football Team, but they ultimately strung together enough minor successes to pull away with a crucial road win. Here’s everything we know about the 33-22 victory:

Final score: Saints 33, Washington 22

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Final

New Orleans

7

13

0

13

33

Washington

6

7

3

6

22

It was over when...

Shy Tuttle batted a Washington pass down on a two-point conversion attempt. We had seen this script just a week ago, with the Saints defending an 11-point lead late in the fourth quarter (and coming up short). But when Washington cut into that deficit and tried to close the gap further, the Saints defense dug deep and found a way to respond. That set them up to go seal their win with one more scoring drive in the game’s final minutes.

Saints' top performers

  • Guys, Blake Gillikin is a very, very special player. He was asked to punt five times and landed three of them inside Washington territory — not just inside their 20-yard line, a great achievement on itself, but inside Washington’s 3-yard line. He was masterful and should be an easy pick for the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

  • But there’s an argument for Marshon Lattimore to be the player of the game. His primary opponent Terry McLaurin went into this game ranked top-10 in receiving yards but finished with just two catches in Lattimore’s coverage, totaling 4-for-46 yards on the day. He broke up a staggering six (6!) passes. For context, Lattimore had 11 total passes defensed a year ago. He played out of his mind against an elite opponent.

  • It felt too boom-or-bust at times with some very catchable passes dropped to the turf, but Marquez Callaway had a good game. He was targeted 8 times and caught 4 passes to gain 85 yards, including two pivotal touchdown grabs. He’s starting to warm up at the perfect time with some better players coming back from injuries soon.

  • And Alvin Kamara was electric, too little surprise. He caught 5 of his 8 targets for 51 receiving yards and a clutch touchdown catch. He also ran 16 times for 71 rushing yards and a touchdown run. The Saints leaned on him in some big moments and he responded really well.

Important game notes

  • The Saints defense only allowed 5 third down conversions on 16 attempts, also going 1-of-3 on fourth down. New Orleans allowed just one touchdown on five trips inside their 20-yard line.

  • Penalties were a problem with 6 fouls for 45 penalty yards against New Orleans, while Washington was flagged 5 times for 37 penalty yards. But Washington received four first downs via penalty against just one for the Saints.

  • Washington dominated the time of possession with 36:26, also running 76 plays on a dozen drives. The Saints ran 55 plays on their 13 drives for 22:34.

  • At one point Winston had 10 consecutive incomplete passes, but he finished the game with a 15-of-30 line for 279 passing yards. He scored four touchdown passes against one interception.

Injuries

New Orleans Saints tight end Adam Trautman (82) checks on wide receiver Taysom Hill after a play in the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • The most notable departure was Taysom Hill, who was so badly shaken up from a hit to the helmet that he had to leave the game on a medical cart. He was then ruled out with a concussion. It was a scary moment and something to monitor going into the bye week.

  • An odd loss was Deonte Harris, who caught a long touchdown and took the field for a punt return but then exited with a hamstring injury. It’s unclear how he was hurt. Hopefully this isn’t serious and he can return in Week 7 along with some other injured players.

  • Running back Dwayne Washington banged helmets with a Washington player in punt protection and took a few steps before falling to the ground, though he was able to walk off under his own power. The only other available backs were Alvin Kamara and Devine Ozigbo, with Ryquell Armstead on the practice squad.

  • Left guard Andrus Peat briefly left the game with what looked like a hand injury, but he returned to finish it out after spending a long time receiving treatment in the blue medical tent.

What's next?

Sep 22, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) rushes after a catch for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints are going into their bye week with a 3-2 record. They’ve averaged 25.4 points per game on offense while allowing just 18.2 points per game on defense. Winston is 70-of-116 (60.3%) as a passer for 892 yards with 12 touchdowns against 3 interceptions, adding 86 rushing yards and another score on 20 attempts and taking 9 sacks for 57 yards with 1 fumble. Those are numbers most any quarterback would be happy with five games into the year.

But the real story is all the help the Saints will be getting back after the bye week. The offense in particular is getting a shot in the arm with starting offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Erik McCoy likely returning, along with their best receivers in Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith (and a blocking tight end in Nick Vannett). Wil Lutz should be a tremendous upgrade at kicker. On defense, Marcus Davenport and Kwon Alexander could also bring some much-needed playmaking ability, while Ken Crawley offers more depth at cornerback.

We’ve got to wait and see which of those eligible players actually do return from injuries as expected, but the Saints are absolutely on the right track with a vulnerable Seahawks team waiting for them on the other side of this bye week — on Monday Night Football, no less.

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