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McAllister: No matter the opponent, the Saints are up for the challenge

December 24, 2018 - 10:49 am
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By: Jordan Fiegel

The New Orleans Saints defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28 on Sunday.  It wasn’t an easy win, but the Saints didn’t let the challenges stop them.

“They’ve been able to overcome adversity,” said Deuce McAllister, WWL’s Saints color analyst.  “At some point, you know you’re going to have something not go your away; and they’ve been able to step up.  Different guys at different times have stepped up and made plays on offense, defense, and special teams.”

All three units came up with big plays, particularly in the 4th quarter when the Saints were down.

“It just shows you have a resilient bunch that, regardless of what they’re up against, they’re willing to face it and take on that challenge.”

One of the biggest challenges for the offense was the game of musical chairs the offense was forced to play.  Terron Armstead aggravated the injury that had kept him out since October and had to leave the game.  That led to Andrus Peat kicking out from left guard to left tackle, and rookie Will Clapp replaced Peat at left guard.

“Will Clapp has really been thrown into the fire,” said McAllister.  “He’s had to just go in and play, and he’s played well.  It hasn’t been perfect, but it was well enough to go out there and feel good and have confidence in what you’re doing and what the coaches are teaching you.  You tip your hat to him.”

It didn’t stop there for Peat, however.  At one point, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk exited the game; and Peat flipped sides to fill in for him.  McAllister praised how he held up.

“Having to play three different positions, that’s not easy.  Particularly when you talk about the offensive line, you have to change your mindset from playing all those positions.  It’s almost like your crossing over from footwork to stance to everything.  I thought he did a really nice job.”

The offense wasn’t the only unit that had to overcome adversity.  The Saints defense gave up 429 yards and 28 points, but they also generated two 4th quarter turnovers to keep giving the offense chances.  McAllister described the performance as “greedy.”

“You knew with the type of offense Pittsburgh has they were going to get lots of yards,” McAllister explained.  “They’re a prolific offense.  You have two receivers in Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster who are very, very dynamic.”

Brown and Smith-Schuster accounted for just over 70% of the Steelers’ offense. 

“The thing the Saints defense had to do was limit their touchdowns,” continued McAllister.  “At times, it was rough because of miscommunications and things of that nature.  They didn’t do a great job of handling those things; but at the end of the day, they did a well enough job to make sure the team could secure the win.”

The Saints did secure the win; and with that win, they secured the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs.  It’s still a little too early for McAllister to think about possible playoff matches, but he does think the Saints will be ready no matter the opponent.

“Saints will be up for the challenge regardless of who they play.”

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