Tonight the Saints rise up against the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome on Thursday Night Football, in the final NFL game of November this year. Last time, we gave them their first loss of the season, and now we get to to hand them their first home loss of 2012. I like these kind of firsts.
That means you get a super-special weekday version of your favorite Sunday morning treat, HansDat's Hot Reads, bitches!!! You're welcome.
So, settle in, buckle up, and get down as you take these in and start amping up for kickoff.
** Let's use the comment thread to let each other know where our heads and hearts are at right now. Please also share how the work day and game day coexist for you. Are you able to freely wear Saints gear and express your Who Dat love at work? Will you be off work in time to watch the pre-game coverage? Will your work shift prevent you from watching the game live? And as always, I want to know what you're eating, imbibing, and wearing for the Main Event. Yes, once again this is our pre-pre-pre-pre-game Open Thread. **
With those two Pick-Sixes and passes both over-and underthrown against the 49ers, including a second half in which the Saints signal-caller had to literally run for his life, a BREES BOUNCE-BACK GAME is certainly on the menu tonight. Drew Brees needs to up his game by making smart throws, and the line needs to do a better job of giving him passing lanes, time to throw, and a well-defined pocket to step up into.
What I'd Like To See: Brees plucking those birds by putting up astronomical numbers with no interceptions or sacks while his feathers are hardly ruffled.
Checkdown # 1
I've heard that Atlanta fans can be a bit late in arriving to the games, so it may take them some doing to get fired up and really impact the game, and a couple of EARLY SAINTS SCORES could also really dull their edge, chafe their chaps, and snuff their wick.
What I'd Like To See: The Saints win the toss, march right down the field and score a touchdown. Then get a quick stop to take the ball back, and add another touchdown to that first one, or at least a field goal. This will silence the crowd and keep them sulking in their seats the rest of the night as the rout continues.
Checkdown # 2
Against the 49ers, the Saints offense had numerous short-yardage failures and as a result, failed to sustain many drives in that game, which limited their scoring chances and really hurt the team. This MUST be flipped over to SHORT-YARDAGE SUCCESS and SUSTAINED DRIVES.
What I'd Like To See: A well-called mix of run plays and passes that are executed crisply and provide this success on short-yardage plays, while boosting the Saints to at least 5 sustained scoring drives of at least 10 plays and 70 yards.
Make those CLOSE PLAYS IN THE CLUTCH - Twice on Sunday, had receivers corralled the clutch catches that we've become accustomed to seeing them make while marveling at the ridiculous grabs, the game would have surely gone our way.
The first one came in the first half as Devery Henderson streaked down the sideline on first down, right after Patrick Robinson's interception of Colin Kaepernick near midfield. He snatched the ball out of the air beautifully, but juuuuust missed getting his second foot in bounds to make it a legit reception. We are still trying to wash the next play out of our minds, as Ahmad Brooks did what he did. But at least that replaces VD in the end zone, amIrite?
Had Brees thrown either of these passes with a bit more precision, or had these guys converted the clutch catch in those impossibly close plays, it would have made a HUGE difference.
The Saints throw the ball so much that these same opportunities will definitely arise in the game tonight, and Brees and our wideouts need to make those plays count for us, rather than against us
What I'd Like To See: I'm asking Brees to be a bit more on the money with those passes, and for the receivers to hang on and finagle the fancy footwork to wrangle those receptions.
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There they are, folks. Here's hoping your work and game day mesh together well, that we can stay sane until kickoff, and then get to go crazy after a big win tonight!!