Saints 20 @ Buccaneers 26: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 16: A cheerleader of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dances during play against the New Orleans Saints October 16, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The Good

  • The Saints defense allowed the Buccaneers to convert only 4 of their 14 (28%) third down attempts.
  • Patrick Robinson continues to improve and impress. He nearly came up with that late-game interception which could have completely changed the course of the game. 
  • Glad to see Marques Colston hasn't fallen out of favor with Drew Brees. He and Jimmy Graham were the two bright spots in an otherwise bleak game. 
  • Mark Ingram looked pretty sweet on his touchdown run. 

The Bad

  • The Saints offense just continues to struggle in the red zone. They went 1 for 4 (25%) inside their opponents 20-yard line.  
  • Drew Brees wasn't necessarily at fault for all of his interceptions. Robert Meachem was definitely to blame for one of Drew's interceptions. The ball hit him right in the hands and deflected into the arms of a defender. It looked as though Marques Colston was interfered with on the following interception. 
  • Want to know how bad the Saints running game was? Drew Brees was two yards shy of being the teams leading rusher for the day. For those curious, the Saints had a 31%/69% run-pass ratio. 
  • The offensive line appeared to get beat pretty regularly by Tampa's pass rush. Though he didn't get sacked once, Brees faced plenty of pressure and was often under duress. 
  • Robert Meachem was wide open on the other side of the end zone when Drew Brees lobbed his third interception. It looked like Drew wasn't even looking in that direction. 
  • The Saints waited until the two minute warning before throwing the red flag and challenging that late-game 3rd down catch by the Bucs. That was bad clock management on their part; they could have saved valuable seconds if they had thrown it immediately. 
  • I thought Malcolm Jenkins' play was hit or miss yesterday. He made a few well-timed hits that caused incompletions but was also a little poor is pass coverage at times. It wasn't terrible, but I supposed many of us are hoping for a little more at this point. 
  • Darren Sproles had one punt return attempt for -10 yards. He's in decline. 
  • I said it yesterday but I'll repeat it again: the tackling yesterday was atrocious. 
  • Once again the officiating was simply not up to par and appeared to negatively effect the Saints and their chance of winning. The key third down catch the Bucs made at the end of the game that was challenged by the Saints should probably have been overturned and ruled incomplete. The second quarter interception made on the pass attempt to Colston looked like the result of pass interference that was never called. And the helmet to helmet hit called on Malcolm Jenkins that cost the team a crucial 15 yards didn't appear to be legitimate.

 

The Ugly

  • First and foremost it was the four turnovers that lost this game for the Saints. The Saints almost definitely win this game without them. You can point to any other deficiency or problem you think the Saints may have - like Gregg Williams and the defense - but don't kid yourself, it all goes back to four turnovers.
  • I am so sick of hearing about Jimmy Graham's basketball playing days. He plays football now and he's damn good at it. Let's talk about that. 
  • After avoiding any serious injuries the past few games, the Saints suffered a few against Tampa. Most notably Sean Payton's knee but Sedrick Ellis and Justin Drescher also both limped off the field. 
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