Detillier praises youthful Saints defense, looks ahead to “mercurial” Steelers

December 18, 2018 - 10:58 am

By: Jordan Fiegel

The New Orleans Saints leaned on their defense in a 12-9 win over the Carolina Panthers.  The Saints held the Panthers to just 247 total yards, the second lowest output of the season for Carolina. 

“It’s a total team sport,” WWL NFL analyst Mike Detillier said.  “You got to have it in all phases.”

Once a liability, the New Orleans defense has really stepped up; and Detillier pointed out a lot of it comes from young players who could be in Black and Gold for years.

“You’ve got a good core of young players from Sheldon Rankins to Alex Anzalone, David Onyemata, Vonn Bell, who I thought had maybe one of his best games as a Saints, and then Eli Apple.”

Bell, a third year player out of Ohio State, racked up 7 tackles, including a 9 yard sack, forced one fumble, and deflected one pass.  Apple, whom the Saints traded for earlier this season, had two pass deflections and a crucial interception in the end zone in the waning seconds of the first half.

The Saints top-ranked run defense also turned in another good performance, limiting Carolina’s top 5 ground game to only 98 rushing yards. 

“This is 20 straight games the Saints haven’t given up 100 yards rushing to an individual rusher,” said Detillier.  “You’ve got to go back to November of last year when Samaje Perine of the Redskins did it.  That’s impressive.” 

Detillier continued, explaining what that does to a team.  “When you make a team one dimensional like they did the Panthers last night, you saw Cam Newton couldn’t make the plays throwing the football down the field.”

The victory over Carolina leaves the Saints just one win away from clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but their next opponent is a tough one.  The Pittsburgh Steelers are 8-5-1 and still battling to secure a playoff berth.  Detillier warns they’re a dangerous opponent.

“The Steelers are a mercurial team.  It depends on when you catch them.  They’re a football team that can put 40 points on you or struggle like they did against the Oakland Raiders.  That, to me, is the most dangerous type of team, since you’re really not sure what you’re going to get from them.” 

Going into the game, the offensive line is the biggest question mark, according to Detillier.

“Peat’s playing left tackle.  If that has to happen, then you also have a new guard.  Hopefully things with Max Unger’s concussion are okay, and he can play.  Otherwise you also have a new center.  Up the middle is the most crucial spot.”

Check out Mike Detillier’s entire conversation with WWL’s Tommy Tucker below.

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