5 Positives/Negatives From Saints’ Loss To Falcons
The New Orleans Saints fell at home on Monday evening, dropping a 45-32 decision to the Atlanta Falcons in NFL Monday Night Football action at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.
Let’s take a look at 5 positive things to take away from the loss, and then 5 negative things.
5 Good Things:
1)—Mark Ingram: The Saints tried to run the ball early, before they fell behind too far, and Ingram took advantage, rushing for 77 yards on 15 carries. As a team, the Saints averaged 5.0 yards-per-rush, with 115 yards on 23 attempts. Running the football is a mentality, and the Saints showed that mentality, at least early, on Monday night.
2)---Drew Brees---Sure, he had an interception returned for a touchdown, but Brees helped keep the Saints in the game, completing 36-of-54 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns.
3)—Coby Fleener: This was, by far, Fleener's best game as a Saint, with 7 catches for 109 yards, along with a touchdown. Hopefully, Monday night was his coming out party, and his production will be the norm, instead of the exception.
4)—Craig Robertson: This guy has been outstanding for the Saints early in 2016. Once again, he led the team in tackles, with 11. It was the third-consecutive game that Robertson has led the team in tackles, and the third-straight week he's totaled double-digit stops. Great free agent find, so far.
5)—The offensive line: Playing without left tackle Terron Armstead, the offensive line played as about as well as one could realistically expect. Yeah, Brees was sacked twice, but one was because of a blitz, and another was due to a future Hall of Famer (Dwight Freeney). What it boils down to, is Brees had time to throw most of the night, and the Saints were able to average 5.0 yards-per-rush on the ground.
5 Bad Things:
1)—Defense: The Falcons scored on six-consecutive possessions at one point, and were able to move the ball seemingly at will at times. The defense just didn't seem to play with much passion, after a great effort the week prior. Then again, it's harder to play with passion when you're not playing well.
2)—Third down efficiency: The Saints were a brutal 3-of-13 on third downs conversions on the week prior, against the Giants. Monday night, they were better, converting 7-of-13, but when your defense is in shambles because of injury you have to be well over 50%, and the Saints were only slightly over that mark.
3)—First quarter fumble on a punt return: Nothing is worse than when your defense makes a stop, forces a punt, and then you give the ball right back, in scoring position, because you can't field the punt. De'Vante Harris was pushed into Tommylee Lewis, causing a muffed punt, starting the Atlanta onslaught. When you're playing short-handed, you simply can't have things like this happen.
4)—Turnover margin: The Saints were minus two in the turnover margin against the Falcons, with one turnover leading to the first Atlanta score, and the second one being an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Somehow, someway, the Saints are going to have to find away to create some turnovers, while protecting the ball better themselves.
5)—0-3. For the second-consecutive year the Saints are 0-3, and their chances of making the playoffs are again pretty slim. The last NFL team to make the playoffs following an 0-3 start was the 1998 Buffalo Bills. Hard to believe too, but the Saints have now lost 11 of their last 18 home games.