The name of one of my best friends is Matt. Matt is a Tennessee Volunteers fan. Not just a casual Vols fans, Matt is of the, “of course I’m going to get up early and watch every bit of the East Tennessee State game,” sort. Therefore, Matt is sad at the current state of affairs in Knoxville, because I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but the Volunteers struggle at all facets of the game called football.
So, on Saturdays I do my best to console Matt. However, on Sunday, I use my secret weapon and always a smash hit, former Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara. Because Matt also loves the Saints and, if you have blood flowing through your heart, you love Kamara, too. How could you not?
The latest of many examples of his Holy Alvin-ness, was the 33-18 Saints victory over the New York football Giants. Kamara once again…did it again.
On a day the Giants focused on taking wide receiver Michael Thomas out of the game plan, the passing game never truly clicked at its usual all-pro level. It was workmanlike and the receiving corps was led by back up tight end Josh Hill’s three catches for 63 yards. Thankfully, Kamara was there to help, catching five balls out of the backfield for 47 yards; including a beautiful 25-yarder that he nearly took to the house in the second quarter.
On this day however, most of Kamara’s damage would be done on the ground, as the second-year back went for 134 yards on 19 carries. Kamara’s ability to dodge, juke and bounce off of tackles still amazes, as the kid just keeps moving forward. On one play I actually think I saw the left side of his body turn into liquid metal like the bad guy on Terminator 2 causing a defender to fly right through him. I’ll have to check the replay though.
Point being, lets gush about Kamara! He’s a damn gem of a player and arguably the most exciting player in the NFL. And most importantly, he makes people happy, including Matt.
The New Orleans Saints return home to take on Washington, Oct. 8 at 7:15 p.m., on Monday Night Football. Are you ready?
Gauntlet of Games
The Washington contest begins a gauntlet of six games against teams that feature a combined record of 15-7-1. To shine a light on how tricky this set of games will be, the only two teams without a winning record are last year’s NFC Championship runner-up, the Minnesota Vikings at 1-2-1 and, oh, the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles at 2-2. It’s going to get nasty, folks.
Every other team on this trail is in, or at least shares a piece of, first place. The Saints will play both leaders of the AFC North, the Ravens and Bengals, who are both off to surprising starts. And then, on Nov. 4, the possible Game of the Year candidate goes down as the Saints host the undefeated L.A. Rams.
After that brutal march, the Saints get to whip the Falcons at the Superdome again.
Back On Top
The win in New York put the Saints back on top of the NFC South, all alone at 3-1. Sure, the Carolina Panthers, who were on a bye this week, could possibly catch us but I’ve come to rely on the old standby storyline of Cam Newton being awesome but somehow Carolina loses the game.
Speaking of which, you have to love the Atlanta Falcons setting another dubious record as Matt Ryan becomes the first quarterback to lose consecutive games while throwing for 350 yards, 3 touchdowns and no picks in each contest. Congrats, other Matt!
Doesn’t Week One seem like a half-year ago at this point? The Saints defense, who were butchered by Tampa Bay, put in a solid performance against the Giants (I know, let’s not get carried away) and now the Buccaneers disintegration mode has begun, as Ryan Fitzpatrick was replaced by Jameis Winston in a 48-10 beat down by the Chicago Bears. Bye, Tampa Bay.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Courtyard Brewery’s “Big Mood 2018” Imperial Stout
Playlist Recommendation: Deee-Lite (ft. Bootsy Collins & Q-Tip) – “Groove Is In The Heart”
Around the Way
The winning in New Orleans started on Friday night as Tulane hosted the Memphis Tigers in Uptown. The Green Wave would enter the game as double-digit underdogs but quickly sent the message that this night wouldn’t go the way Vegas planned it, whipping the Tigers 40-24.
Tulane immediately took control of the night on the first drive, marching 75 yards and gobbling up 5:44 of the clock before Corey Dauphine plunged into the end zone for the early lead. Coach Willie Fritz kept the foot on the gas and called for an onside kick. Unfortunately, Memphis would recover and quickly score a touchdown but the gloves were off in Uptown and Tulane was ready to fight.
The running game roared all night, as Darius Bradwell would roll for 143 yards and two touchdowns, Dauphine went for 87 yards and two touchdowns and Stephon Huderson also racked up 58 yards on the ground. Jonathan Banks had a solid night before leaving the game with cramps. His back up, LSU-transfer Justin McMillan made the most of his one pass attempt, hitting Darnell Mooney, who raced 51 yards for a touchdown and the locals were on their feet cheering at Henry’s Uptown Bar.
It was a tight game for three quarters but, in the end, Memphis could never stop the Green Wave pass rush, which racked up an impressive seven sacks. More impressive still, and a testament to Fritz’s recruiting staff improving the roster, is that all of the sacks came from underclassmen. Sophomores Patrick Johnson and Cameron Sample collected two sacks apiece. Freshman Carlos Hatcher got one and fellow freshman Juan Monjarres got two sacks, including possibly the biggest play of the game as Monjarres knocked the ball loose from the Memphis quarterback into the end zone for an eventual safety. After that play it was all Wave.
Tulane travels to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats this Oct. 6 at 11 a.m.