John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE
After getting back to .500 on the season in Week 11, the Saints have now lost two in a row, and are more than likely going to miss the playoffs. But until we see the conclusion of what is the 2012 campaign, I have been pondering some important and seemingly unanswerable questions.
First, what has happened to Drew Brees? After starting the season kind of sloppy, Drew picked up the tempo and got into his midseason form. He was throwing for tons of yards, tons of touchdowns, and was being extremely efficient in the process. The usual stuff.
But all of a sudden, Brees looks about as elite of a quarterback as Blaine Gabbert. Against San Francisco, Drew threw two costly interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Although one was from Colston being flipped over, it was still a questionable throw. Thursday against the Falcons, Drew was horrendous. He threw five interceptions and his touchdown record came to an end. His balls were not crisp at all, as it seemed every one he threw was behind the receiver and a touch too late. I was in the Georgia Dome for this matchup and I noticed that Drew was uneasy the entire game, whether it be in the pocket, or fidgeting on the sidelines. What a complete 180. I love ya Drew, but where you at?
What's up with the offense? Aside from Drew's horrid play the last couple of weeks, the Saints are struggling in every facet of the game offensively, and this starts with the play calling. I don't know who is calling plays around here, *cough, cough* Pete Carmichael *cough*, but that person is doing a terrible job.
Why is Chris Ivory, who is averages 5.4 yards per carry, all of a sudden not in the game plan? There is no excuse for him to be losing carries to Mark Ingram when he has had considerably more success running the ball. How has the management not figured out that this guy is a monster? Is he a cancer in the locker room? Whatever it is, if I was Ivory, I would want off this team because he is not getting the amount of carries that he deserves. I have a lot of respect for Ivory for dealing with this buffoonery in a mature way. As a fan, I am disappointed in the coaches for this.
Staying with the running game, why do the coaches insist on abandoning the run when it's successful? On the Saints' first two drives in the second half, they ran the ball 8 times for 62 yards. They got field goals on both of those drives. After those drives, the Saints ran the ball twice for a total of one yard the rest of the game. What a head scratcher. Riddle me this: why do the Saints have five perfectly good running backs on the roster when they rarely use them, even when they're effective?
Why is the defense keeping the Saints in games now? Is the world coming to its end? This is one of the more celebratory and ironic topics I will cover. The only two games that the Saints have held their opponents to under 400 yards, they have lost. How comical. 375 total yards were surrendered to the 49ers, and the Falcons gained only 283. Ironically, the Saints offense lost both of these games for the team. Hats off to this defensive group for getting better game by game. It must be tough on them knowing that when they have stepped up, the offense has faltered.
Is Sean Payton really that big of a factor for this team? This team just looks unorganized without Payton. Can the team really not function without him? Letting the clock run out before halftime Thursday like they did is just embarrassing. I hope to God that the Saints pay this guy as much money as he wants. The team would be in complete disarray if he were to leave for good.
And finally, why are the Saints still in playoff contention? I'm sorry, I will forever be a die hard Saints fan, but the Saints don't deserve to be in the big dance this year. Not after their putrid performances the past two games. If they somehow absolutely destroy the Giants, Bucs, Cowboys, and Panthers, then more power to them to get in. What makes me sick is that all of Who Dat Nation knows how talented this team is and that they should be fighting for the division crown again.
Something has to give around here.