The New Orleans Saints ripped the mustache off Minshew Mania on Sunday.
For the first time all season, Gardner Minshew looked like a rookie against a Saints defense that battered, confused and discombobulated the signal-caller.
Minshew completed just 14 of 29 passes for 163 yards, no TDs, one INT and a 51.4 passer rating in the 13-6 loss. It was the first time the rookie completed less than 50 percent of his pass attempts, the first time he hasn’t scored a TD, and he earned a career-low in passing yards.
"It was a tough day," Minshew said, via The Florida Times-Union. "They are a good team. I missed some balls that I can’t miss. They played good coverage at times and got after us up front at times. They did a really good job taking away our quick stuff."
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The Saints’ defensive line dominated Sunday, keeping Minshew from extending the play, which has become a trademark in his infantile career. New Orleans sacked the rookie twice — both from Cameron Jordan — with three QB hits, and a bevy of other pressures.
"We’ve played some elusive quarterbacks our first four or five games," Jordan said, referring to Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson. "We had a game plan set in motion. I feel like we went out and executed just that. We made him a pocket passer."
The Jaguars’ offense posted season lows in points (6), total yards (226), pass yards (151), rush yards (75), red zone percent (0.0 pct), and big plays (4).
The secondary deployed Marshon Lattimore on D.J. Chark, adding safety help over the top to wipe away Minshew’s favorite target. Chark was held to a season-low 43 yards on three catches. The Saints’ D compiled seven total passes defended, including three by Lattimore.
"It’s just about showing different looks, trying to confuse him into throwing us the ball and he did that in the second half," cornerback Eli Apple said. "Anytime you can keep him in the pocket, and have someone that can converge on him, that just makes it easier for us on the back end."
With Drew Brees out, the Saints’ defense has stepped to the forefront, carrying the squad through some offensive struggles. In the last three games, New Orleans’ D has allowed 13.3 points per game, 245.0 yards per game, and a 75.6 passer rating.
Sunday marked the second time in three games, the Saints’ D held an opponent to 10 or fewer points, joining the Patriots (3), 49ers (2) and Bears (2) as the only teams to allow 10 or fewer points multiple times this season (entering "MNF").
Credit Sean Payton’s squad for forging ahead with its defensive identity that has produced four straight wins sans Brees. The best teams adapt in times of uncertainty. Quieting Minshew Mania on Sunday once again proved Payton remains one of the game’s top coaches as New Orleans remains atop the NFC South.
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