If for some godforsaken reason there actually is an NFL lockout next season then this will, unfortunately, be the final game we see the Saints play for quite a while. Sucks, I know. We might as well analyze the hell out of it so we can quickly put it behind us and make sure to gain some closure We've got no other game on the horizon to look forward to anyway, right?
Make the jump for my usual notes. I've left plenty of room to add your own thoughts.
- I've noticed a handful of fans already calling for Gregg Williams' head and I'm admittedly shocked by such a sudden change of heart. Is he not the same defensive coordinator who strolled into town last year and took this team all the way to Super Bowl glory? What the hell do you expect from the man? Williams may be the captain of the ship and deserves slight blame simply because of that fact. But it took quite a few players and a serious breakdown of fundamentals to miss eight tackles on Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard touchdown run. Gregg Williams is merely one man on the sideline at the mercy of his players on the field. In the debate between game plan vs. execution, I'm not sure how you couldn't put most of the blame on the latter. The fact of the matter is: the Saints don't have enough talent at certain positions on defense. We've got seven months to discuss that last sentence ad nauseum.
- I saw Deion Sanders on NFL Network call Marshawn Lynch's run the greatest ever in the playoffs. Really? I think we're giving him too much of the credit and the Saints defense not enough of the blame.
- The tackling was atrocious and I'm not just referring to the back-breaking Marshawn Lynch run. Off the top of my head I remember Jabari Greer missing a couple of tackles and I'm sure there are plenty of other culprits as well. That kind of crap was acceptable in the pre-season, not the post-season.
- At least the Saints don't need to worry about finding a field goal kicker this off-season. Garrett Hartley went a perfect 3/3 yesterday and has really rebounded nicely this season, closing out the year with thirteen straight made. That onside kick to end the game was atrocious, however, and I'm not sure why Morstead wasn't used in that situation.
- Roman Harper had a rough, rough day. This was a team loss so there's plenty of blame to go around but Harper probably did enough to earn himself the title as this games goat. He got totally burned on a couple of vertical routes and bit on the play-action pass to wide open tight end John Carlson for the score. Unfortunately, something tells me fans aren't going to be forgetting his performance for a while.
- I'm now rooting for Seattle to go all the way. It would at least offer some solace to know the Saints actually lost to a talented football team who got really hot at the right time as opposed to just a lucky one-hit wonder.
- What happened to Colston at the end of the game? He was Drew's go-to guy early on, making some big catches, but seemed to disappear on those final drives.
- I can't complain too much about the play calling. The only play I might question would be the Julius Jones run on 4th and inches when he tripped over Carl Nicks' leg. Why not just go with a quarterback sneak on that play?
- The Saints needed to use DeShawn Wynn in the final stanza after Julius Jones appeared to get injured. You've got to see the humor in that. Even until the bitter end the Saints continued to get decimated by injury, particularly at the running back position. I'm not so sure those banged up boys in Black & Gold would have had a chance in the next round of the playoffs.
- The offensive line played a little better than usual and did a decent job keeping Drew protected. I would haev to say Jon Stinchcomb is the clear weak link. He was responsible for the only Drew Brees sack.
- Yesterday's game shined a light on the Saints return game, both punt and kickoffs. I believe Payton mentioned in his post-game press conference how poorly they executed and the team's constant lack of good field position because of it. Bush, Moore, Henderson, Meachem; none of them are good kick/punt returners. And the rest of the special teams unit? Well, they aren't helping open any running lanes.
- Do you think the Saints would have lost to the Rams?