SEATTLE — The weather conditions at Lumen Field on Monday night may have been cold, rainy and windy, but tempers for several New Orleans Saints ran hot.
For Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, he unleashed his fire after he and Seattle Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf traded shoves down the sideline, with the 235-pound receiver ultimately winning that rep that saw Metcalf score an 84-yard touchdown and had Lattimore laying on his stomach.
By the game’s end, Lattimore was flagged twice for unnecessary roughness after both heated altercations with Metcalf and was caught on camera appearing to call the former Ole Miss standout an expletive. Fortunately for New Orleans, the flare ups between the two didn’t negatively affect the result with the Saints pulling off the close, 13-10 win.
“You don’t want to bring 140 people to Seattle from New Orleans and lose because it gets away from you,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Everyone’s counting on everyone.”
Another heated moment caught on tape came midway through the fourth quarter after the Saints had a drive stall out. Quarterback Jameis Winston appeared to come unglued at receiver Tre’Quan Smith on the sideline.
Winston, who completed 54% of his passes for 222 yards, said after the game it was a “communication” thing and that he and Smith needed “to get on the same page.” Smith, in his first game back from injured reserve, had one catch on three targets for 11 yards.
But nothing, not even a Seattle double team, was going to stop running back Alvin Kamara from bullying the struggling Seahawks defense. Kamara contributed 179 of the Saints’ 309 yards of offense — which is nearly 60%. Over the course of 30 total touches, Kamara had 20 carries for 51 yards rushing and 10 catches for 128 yards receiving with one receiving touchdown.
With the Saints planning for inclement weather all week, Kamara said he “didn’t know what to expect” regarding his workload.
"(Alvin) is one of the most dominant players in this league so it’s always exciting when you put the ball in his hands and watch the things that he does,” Winston said after throwing 31% of his passes Kamara’s way Monday.
The other key contributor, scoring wise, for the Saints was undrafted rookie replacement kicker Brian Johnson, who made his NFL debut after being signed by the Saints during the bye week in place of kicker Cody Parkey. Parkey went on the injured reserve after playing in just one game for New Orleans.
Johnson, after having a tough time gauging the constantly-changing wind, made both of his field goal attempts from 21 and 33 yards out, the latter of which was ultimately the go-ahead score coming just after the two-minute warning.
“Unreal feeling,” Johnson said postgame. “Couldn’t have written it up better myself.”
The two teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 10 apiece, and that score held until late in the final frame when Johnson booted in the kick.
The Seahawks (2-5) had their chance to tie it up or take the lead, but the Saints' stifling defense forced Seattle to go four and out because of back-to-back sacks from safety Malcolm Jenkins and linebacker Demario Davis on second and third down. Davis' near-pick on Seattle's fourth-down attempt sealed the game.
Davis pieced together a dominant, player-of-the-week worthy, performance against the Seahawks. He led the team in tackles (10), sacks (2), tackles for loss (4), quarterback hits (3) and had a pass breakup.
When asked if it was one of his better games of his 10-year career, Davis deflected the praise.
“I’m my harshest critic,” he said. “It’s kind of hard for me to find my best game or my worst game. I always just feel like it could have been better.”
Payton, though, was happy to speak for his captain, saying, “Man, I just love the way he leads and plays with enthusiasm.”
Even though the Saints ultimately won, the Seahawks jumped out of the gate first.
Backup quarterback Geno Smith, who has now filled in for the injured Russell Wilson for two weeks and threw for 167 yards Monday, aired out his first pass attempt of the game down the sideline toward Metcalf for what would have been a large first down.
Though, Metcalf won the back-and-forth shoving contest Lattimore, sending Lattimore to the ground. From there, safety Marcus Williams missed on a tackle and Metcalf sprinted 84 yards to the house.
Metcalf finished the game with two catches for 96 yards. Excluding that one play, Smith completed 11 other passes for 83 yards.
The Saints (4-2) and the Seahawks exchanged empty drives after that before New Orleans pieced together the longest series by any NFL team this season. The Saints slowly marched 86 net yards down the field over 19 plays and more than 10 minutes to set up a chip-in field goal for Johnson.
The Saints' offense was back on the field a short time later, getting a rare shot at a full two-minute drill, which the Saints executed almost flawlessly. Winston completed 4 of his 5 passes on the drive, helping the Saints march 85 yards downfield over seven plays before passing the ball to Kamara for a 13-yard touchdown. The first-down play, though, started out messy after Winston fumbled, but he quickly regained possession and found a wide open Kamara for New Orleans' first lead of the game.
Kamara said postgame that he didn’t even know Winston fumbled on the play and that he actually ran the wrong route. He said he was supposed to angle in and then back out of it, but he wanted to take advantage of the zone look Seattle presented.
"I saw I had a little cushion and stayed right there," Kamara said.
The Saints held the advantage until late in the third quarter when kicker Jason Myers briefly redeemed himself. After missing a 44-yard field goal earlier in the period, Myers tied up the game after making a 50-yard field goal. Later, though, Myers was back in the negative after he missed a 53-yard field goal, giving decent field position for New Orleans' final scoring drive.
The Saints began that series at their own 43-yard line and almost went three-and-out before getting bailed out on a roughing-the-passer penalty from Seattle safety Marquise Blair. Had Blair not been flagged, Winston would have been sacked for a loss of 5 yards on third down near midfield.
Three plays later, the Saints faced third-and-long again and opted to hand the ball off to Kamara. Payton knew Seattle would be playing a soft zone defense in that situation, so he figured Kamara would rush for around 7 yards to help set up a shorter field goal attempt for Johnson. Instead, Kamara ran for 12 yards and converted the first down.
Benchmarks: Alvin Kamara became the fastest player in NFL history to have 3,000 yards receiving and 3,000 yards rushing — achieving the feat in just 66 games.
Injury update: Guard Andrus Peat left the game with a shoulder injury in the first quarter. He was originally tabbed to be questionable to return, but he didn't come back. Calvin Throckmorton filled in for Peat.
Up next: The Saints have their second home game of the season, facing the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay on Halloween.