Michael Thomas was inactive against the Chargers despite being healthy. Thomas was being disciplined for an altercation in practice.
However, Saints Head Coach Sean Payton hasn’t given a definitive statement on when Thomas will return.
Sean Payton didn’t definitively say whether Michael Thomas’ suspension was going to be for just one game: “We’ll let you know when the time is right.” #Saints
— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) October 13, 2020
It remains to be seen whether Thomas will miss more games, but clearly this response isn’t the most positive.
Why was Michael Thomas suspended?
Michael Thomas was kept out of the Monday Night Football lineup despite being healthy after missing games due to an ankle injury.
Reportedly, Michael Thomas got into a fight with second-year safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson during practice. Tensions flared during a red-zone session and Thomas punched Gardner-Johnson.
Therefore, the Saints took the decision to discipline Thomas for his actions against the Chargers.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 11, 2020
The decision had to be difficult for both sides. As a team, New Orleans’ passing game had been struggling without their star receiver.
While players like Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith have picked up the slack, it’s clearly not the same. Thomas was a security blanket for Brees. His ability to record 10-12 catches a game made him one the most reliable threats.
However, the Saints are winning games. The beat the Chargers after beating the Lions last week. Both games involved erasing a large deficit. However, the absence of Thomas is what has led to these big deficits in the first place.
Saints vs. Chargers
The Saints reached deep into their back pockets to pull out this victory. Trailing 20-3 with 4:25 left in the second quarter, things looked bleak.
However, the offense finally picked up as the Saints outscored the Chargers 27-7 the rest of the way, including the game-winning field goal in overtime.
How it started: How it ended: pic.twitter.com/Gn1ol5UWQJ
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 13, 2020
This was a critical victory for a Saints team looking to contend in the stacked NFC. New Orleans moves to 3-2 on the season while the Chargers are now 1-4.
For the Chargers, this one has to sting. They had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Michael Badgley missed a 50 yard attempt. In overtime, the Saints got the stop they needed to seal the game.
Marstrong Lattimore. Saints win!#WhoDat!
— PFF NO Saints (@PFF_Saints) October 13, 2020
Justin Herbert continued to shine in his rookie campaign. Herbert threw for 264 yards on 20/34 attempts along with four touchdown passes.
I wasn’t as enamored as many were last year, but no doubt that Justin Herbert has been super-impressive to this point. His first toss last night was ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/nFF60FKrhq
— ryan (@StillRyanFive) October 13, 2020
The rookie has been sensational.
When will Michael Thomas Return?
As of right now, the Saints haven’t said anything about Thomas’ return. The hope is that he will be back next week. The offense has slowed down and Brees has been reluctant to throw the ball downfield without his star receiver.
His return to the Saints lineup will once more make them an intimidating offensive force. Thomas is coming off a season in which he set the NFL record for receptions with 149 and having him back will lead to a more aggressive attack from the Saints.
Whether this incident was a result of Thomas’ competitiveness or something else remains unclear, but the Saints definitely miss him.
Urban Meyer hinted at Michael Thomas’ competitive nature immediately after he got drafted by the Saints. pic.twitter.com/txmuEimbZO
— Chris Rosvoglou (@RosvoglouReport) October 12, 2020
The Saints take on the Panthers next in a big NFC South showdown, once more at home. Meanwhile, the Chargers will play the New York Jets at home.