Five Saints Positives/Negatives Following Win Over Chargers
Below are five positives, and also five negatives, to take from the New Orleans Saints, following their 35-34 road victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
The Saints overcame a 13-point 4th quarter deficit to record their first win of the season.
1)---Special Teams: Finally! Finally, this department shows up in the positive department! Was it great? Not really. But Travaris Cadet partially blocked a punt, Thomas Morstead punted a kick 62 yards to pin the Chargers at their own 4-yard line, and there were no negative plays to speak of.
2)---Third Down Efficiency: The Saints were 4-of-11 in third down conversions against the Raiders in week one, before going 3-of-13 against the Giants in week two, and 7-of-13 against the Falcons in week three. On Sunday, they had their best showing, going 11-of-18, while holding to the Chargers to 6-of-13, including 3-of-8 in the second half. It was not a good offensive performance, but they kept drives alive.
3)---Rush defense: The Chargers rushed the football 21 times for 38 yards for 1.8 yards per carry.
4)---Michael Thomas: The rookie receiver from Ohio St. only had four catches for 44 yards, but made the big catch, on a terrific reception on fourth down in the fourth quarter. If Thomas doesn't make that catch the Saints don't win.
5)---Turnovers: It's really quite simple; the Saints were plus-one in the turnover margin and they just happened to have won by one way. Sure, the Chargers helped them out, by simply not protecting the ball well enough with a 13-point fourth quarter lead, but the bottom line is the Saints came up with the loose balls, and then took advantage of the situation.
1)---Overall offense: This group didn't have a good day, despite going up against a suspect secondary. On the ground, the Saints rushed for only 83 yards, while quarterback Drew Brees didn't seem to be on the same page with his receivers most of the day. Bottom line is that the offense averaged less than four yards per play (3.8), and that's simply not good enough.
2)---Offensive line: The Saints averaged only 2.4 yards-per-carry on the ground, while Brees was sacked three times, and pressured on numerous other occasions.
3)---Craig Robertson: He was great for the Saints the first three weeks, leading the NFL in tackles, but took a step back on Sunday, after being moved to middle linebacker, as he looked to have blown pass coverage on at least two occasions.
4)---Coby Fleener: He didn't drop any passes, but only caught three passes for 19 yards. I was hoping for more, especially after having a 100-yard receiving performance against the Falcons the week prior. I was just hoping for a little more consistency.
5)---Jairus Byrd: No, he didn't do anything bad, but that's because he didn't play a lot. Rookie Vonn Bell got the start at safety, relegating Byrd to a reserve role. It's just another reminder of a bad free agent signing. The signing of Byrd prior to the 2014 season got Saints' fans excited. Now, it just leaves them frustrated.