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Deuce: Hats off to Saints running game in win over Eagles

January 14, 2019 - 4:50 pm
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By: Jordan Fiegel

The New Orleans Saints started slow against the Philadelphia Eagles, but they picked things up enough to earn a 20-14 victory.

Despite the slow start, McAllister was impressed with the commitment to the ground game.

“You may not have a lot of successful runs early on, particularly when you’re playing against a line that has players like Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan. They were determined to not allow the Saints to run the football.”

It was tough sledding for a while, but the Saints eventually found some success. “They did stick with it,” McAllister said. “They were able to hit on some outside runs; and obviously Alvin Kamara’s last run was what sealed it. Hats off to them.”

The Saints defense also struggled early, giving up 151 yards in the first two drives; but they buckled down.

“The Saints didn’t have any sacks, but they were able to make the quarterback throw the ball early,” McAllister pointed out. He also credited the Saints coverage for forcing Foles to hold on to the ball longer than he normally liked. “He likes to get it to his playmakers quickly, but the Saints were able to make him hold it for a little while and come up with enough stops.”

New Orleans’ defensive front suffered a big blow early on, when defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins went down, and they fear it’s a torn Achilles. McAllister didn’t sugarcoat the impact.

“It’s a huge loss. He was playing really, really well and coming into his own. Sheldon was another guy who could win his one-on-one battles, and he had a career high in sacks this season.”

McAllister believes the Saints will turn to a handful of players to make up for the loss. “They have a three man rotation with David Onyemata, Tyeler Davison, and Taylor Stallworth; and I wouldn’t be surprised if they signed someone else.”

Still, it won’t be easy when the Los Angeles Rams come to town. “It’s going to be a tall task,” McAllister said. “The Rams have been running the football well with Todd Gurley and now C.J. Anderson, who has played really well the last month.”

McAllister had high praise for Gurley, who was the #3 rusher in the NFL in the regular season. “The Los Angeles Rams offense starts with Gurley. You have to be able to slow him down,” McAllister warned. “They do an outstanding job of using the stretch run, and you’ll see them taking a lot of shots down the field.”

McAllister then moved on to the Los Angeles defense.

“Defensively, it starts inside with Aaron Donald,” McAllister said. “Ndamukong Suh has also had some really good games. The Rams can hurt you in a lot of different ways. It starts with Donald but also their cover corners Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib; and their linebacker Cory Littleton can be a problem, too. They have a lot of playmakers.”

The Saints host the Los Angeles Rams Sunday at 2:05pm CT in the Superdome.

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