5 Positives/Negatives In Saints’ Win Over Seahawks
Below are five positives, and also five negatives, to take from the New Orleans Saints’ 25-20 home win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
The triumph improved the Saints to 3-4 on the season.
1)—Drew Brees: He's been absolutely outstanding this season, and Sunday was no exception. Brees completed 37-of-45 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown, without throwing a interception. Understand, he was going up against one of the league's best defenses, but still put up very good numbers, and had one of his best overall games of the season. He was sacked twice, but still managed to avoid a number of hits, and make key throws in the process. The New Orleans offense was terrific as a whole, gaining 375 total yards, but Brees was the architect. And to think there are still people that want to trade Brees and completely rebuild!
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. Since then, they were 7-of-13 against the Falcons in week three, 11-of-18 against the Chargers in week four, 8-16 against the Panthers in week five, and then 9-of-14 against the Chiefs last week. On Sunday, they were 9-of-15, giving them 5-consecutive games of at least 50% third down efficiency, while holding the Seahawks to only 5-of-11. That's how you get to 3-4, after an 0-3 start, without a lot of key players, and get back into playoff contention.
3)—Tim Hightower: Mark Ingram was benched after a first quarter fumble, and Hightower was inserted. He responded, gaining 102 yards on 26 carries. Impressive against anyone, especially the Seahawks.
4)—Nate Stupar. He made five tackles, but made the play of the game, defensively, with an impressive diving interception in the second quarter, which set up a touchdown. That helped swing the momentum, and possibly won the game for the good guys.
5)—Will Lutz: He went 4-of-4 on field goal attempts, including a 3-yarder. Those field goals, along with a botched snap by Seattle at the end of the first half, were another difference in the game.
1)—Mark Ingram: His fumble in the first quarter that was returned for a touchdown by Earl Thomas really put the Saints behind the 8-ball. He was replaced by Hightower, and didn't see the field again. It's easy to say; "Well, just play Hightower", but there was a reason Ingram was the starter, including his abilities to pick-up the blitz and run the screen. The Saints need Ingram to be as good as they can be, but he simply can't keep turning over the ball. Plain and simple; turnovers were the difference between a win and a loss to the Chiefs, and the fumble put the Saints in a big hole on Sunday.
2)—Brandon Coleman: You just have to have better awareness than what Coleman showed in the second quarter, when he caught a pass, thought he had enough for the first down, and just fell. As it turned out, he didn't, and instead of a first-and-goal, the Saints had to settle for a field goal. That could have been a critical 4-point difference. To Coleman's credit, he caught a 38-yard pass on a flee-flicker later on.
3)—Not Enough Touchdowns: The Saints only scored two touchdowns. Now, again, they were playing against an elite defense, but struggled on goal line plays, and had to settle for four goals. Fortunately, they won, and the offense was very good, with the exception of having to settle for too many field goals.
4)—Special Teams: This is special teams, other than Lutz, of course. Travaris Cadet mishandled a kickoff in the first quarter, and Tommylee Lewis almost muffed a punt in the fourth quarter. He's way too scary back there for my taste. Lewis also misread a punt in the first half that he let hit, and then was downed inside the 5-yard line. Fortunately, Seattle was flagged on the play, and it was ruled a touchback. The Saints had two kickoff returns for only 23 yards, while the Seahawks returned two kickoffs for 115 yards.
5)—Goal Line Offense: The Saints had the ball on the Seattle 5-yard line twice, and inside the 1-yard line twice, but had to struggle to score, as their halfbacks were stopped every time. Brees was able to leap over the pile for a touchdown once, and they had to settle for a field goal on the other one. The offensive line has to get a better push, and the Saints have to better utilize the fullback, or the play-action pass.