New Orleans Drops Pivotal Game to Dolphins – Saints Playoff Dreams Still Alive?
After the New Orleans Saints Week 16 loss to the Miami Dolphins, many members of the #WhoDatNation are reluctantly looking to see how the NFC playoff picture is shaping up. See the update here on how the Saints' playoff dreams are looking after the Monday night loss.
When it was announced that both Taysom Hill and Trevor Seimian would be unavailable for the New Orleans Saints' Monday Night Football matchup with the Miami Dolphins, all eyes turned to Ian Book.
The draft pick out of Notre Dame had only seen action in a pre-season game against Baltimore, which he made some really good throws in, so the late-season primetime battle with significant playoff implications would be in the hands of the rookie quarterback.
The Dolphins defense has had one of the most aggressive fronts over the second half of the regular season, so Book had his work cut out for him before entering the Caesars Superdome. Thankfully, the Notre Dame product is an above-average runner and could at minimum get himself out of a pinch every now and then.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins defense had multiple opportunities to get at Book in the backfield and racked up in the sacks category. Things got really ugly in the fourth quarter when Book took a series of big hits as the Saints' offense continued to sputter.
While the Saints did their best to get Kamara involved as much as possible, it just never seemed to be enough as #41 was not able to make any significant game-busting plays. A draw play here or a quick-pass there was far to be found, as AK definitely displayed his frustrations throughout the game.
Kamara even got himself a 15-yard-penalty in the first half after this back-and-forth.
While the Saints defense did get after Tua Tagavailoa, the Dolphins were able to do enough early in the game while letting their defense hold up the stagnant offense of New Orleans. Some field-goals made it nearly impossible for the Saints to make any sort of comeback with a non-existent offense.
The Saints got absolutely obliterated with positive COVID cases across the roster. They even reportedly called Drew Brees to see if he was available to come back-up Book. But the Saints placed a call to Blake Bortles, aka the B.O.A.T., to come hang around in New Orleans just in case there was an emergency.
In the end, Ian Book wasn't able to have his shining-star moment. As a rookie in the league, Book will certainly get more opportunities. Unfortunately, the start of his career will go down as one to forget.
Saints vs. Dolphins Playoff Implications
It can get pretty confusing to determine who could sneak in the playoffs and who is mathematically eliminated. Thanks to @BryKno on Twitter, here is an easier visual.
A list breakdown from @wooak5 here.
Here is how the Top-7 in the NFC shake-out after the Saints loss via @TheJosephWaked on Twitter.
Further explanation from @christomasson on Twitter here.
The Saints will certainly need to win both next week against the Carolina Panthers and the following against the Atlanta Falcons. Even then, the Saints will need some teams to lose in order to have a shot at the last spot in the NFC playoffs.
Mathematically - the Saints aren't out of it. But, it certainly feels like it is over for this campaign's efforts. A disappointing reality for the #WhoDatNation in a year decimated with injuries and now, COIVD cases across the roster.
With the absence of Demario Davis, one other recent draft pick for the New Orleans was given plenty of responsibility as well. Read more about Saints' linebacker Payton Turner here.