- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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The defense was no fluke. New Orleans’ defense looked very good in the season-opening win against Atlanta. But when you have a defense that ranked No. 32 in the league last season, it’s natural to remain skeptical after only one good outing. But the Saints followed it up with another solid defensive performance against the Bucs. They allowed only one offensive touchdown, and Malcolm Jenkins came up with a big interception. The defense did allow 160 rushing yards, but it also limited the Bucs to 113 net passing yards. The defense has helped the Saints to two victories in which the offense wasn’t quite as good as we’ve come to expect. You know the offense will come around. If the defense can continue playing this way, the Saints could have a really good year.
Jimmy Graham just keeps getting better. The tight end finished with a career-best 179 yards on 10 catches and also scored New Orleans’ only touchdown. If Graham isn’t already the best tight end in the league, he soon will be. Graham is in a contract year, and the Saints should try to sign him to an extension as soon as possible because his price tag is only going to keep rising.
Mark Ingram might be a bust. A lot of Saints fans have been saying this the past two years. I’ve argued the point and said that Ingram can be effective if he’s used properly. But I saw nothing even close to promising in his eight carries against Tampa Bay. The Saints might be better off giving Ingram’s carries to Pierre Thomas.
So much for being a “dome team.’’ The Saints won outdoors in less-than-ideal conditions. The game was delayed 69 minutes by lightning and the field was wet when play resumed. New Orleans didn’t have a huge offensive day, but the Saints did enough to get the win in the great outdoors.