Through three weeks, the Saints' offense has performed like a bad record on repeat. They show no signs of life, then suddenly operate at a level that if shown for an entire game would have them rank as the best in football.
Sunday's 22-14 road loss to the Carolina Panthers was the third consecutive contest where the Saints' offense was dead on arrival but resuscitated 45-minutes into the game.
The numbers say it all. Of the team's paltry 51 points scored on the season, 75% of them have come in the fourth quarter. And of the team's 1,119 yards on the season nearly half (49%) come during the last 15 minutes. Their fourth-quarter average of 184.3 yards would amount to 736 yards over an entire game.
The team's inexplicably absent offense for the majority of the season is made even more disappointing considering the defense has held up their end of the bargain.
On Sunday, Panthers' starting quarterback Baker Mayfield completed less than half of his attempts, and the defense gave up 293 yards overall.
But still, the Saints found themselves on the losing end and the offense searching for an answer for their early game woes that persist nearly a month into the season.
According to first-year head coach Dennis Allen, the solution doesn't involve making a switch at the quarterback position.
Dennis Allen said he’s not looking to make a quarterback change. Said everyone has to play better.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) September 25, 2022
And for their part, the defensive leaders aren't putting the blame on the offense. "It starts with [the defense]," said defensive end Cameron Jordan.
He lamented the team's inability to stop the run in two of the three games to begin this season as an area that needs to be corrected if the team is to avoid failing to make the postseason in back-to-back seasons.
Cam Jordan, regarding people questioning Winston, said “I’m going to let you guys question Jameis, I’m going to focus on what I can control.” Lamented the run defense several time, said it starts with them— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) September 25, 2022
While the leaders on the team say the right things, until they start doing them on the field, questions will remain about Winston's viability as a long-term option at quarterback. The offense's constant slow starts may spell his end.