Now that everyone has had time to process what happened on Sunday, a bunch of analyses have been done and many stats have been given to try and explain this fiasco. Some of the numbers are relevant while some of them aren't so much. Regardless of the stats, anyone who watched the game witnessed the pass rush was poor to say the least. When you look at the stats (Pro Football Focus, Football Outsiders, etc...), you realize just how poor it was. So let's do just that and find out about the key numbers that show how ineffective the Saints were at rushing the passer.
8 - Number of times the pressure reached RGIII
Th number of sacks doesn't always tell the whole story. When the number is only one you get a pretty good idea of what the story was but let's not stop here. Griffin dropped back 31 times to pass but was only reached 8 times by pressure (hurries, hits and sacks). Teams don't rush the passer only to sack the quarterback and stop the play but also to disrupt his timing and confidence by hitting him and forcing him to throw before his target is open. The Saints weren't able to do that and as a result they had to face the consequences as they struggled to get pressure with conventional ways.
2 - Number of times the Redskins' offensive line surrendered pressure
Not only the Saints weren't able to get much pressure on RGIII but only two these pressures (Two hurries, no hits, no sacks) came because the Saints' defensive line beat the Redskins' offensive line. Because of that the Saints had to get "exotic" to overload the opposing line and generate pressure. That didn't work great either as the only results worth mentioning were a sack by Patrick Robinson and a hit by Malcolm Jenkins. (But a hit is not really useful when you give up an 88 yards TD on the same play)
88,9 - Percentage of passes RGIII completed when the Saints sent at least five pass rushers
Yes, you read that right. Not only did RGIII have a whopping 73,1 completion percentage during that game (88% minus three drops and a throwaway) but he was actually even better when the Saints sent at least five pass rushers (34,5% of the time when the average was 55,1% last year) by going 8 for 9 (88,9%) with 188 yards and 2 TDs. That is worrisome for a couple reasons. First off, it shows that during this game blitzing didn't help force missed passes or turnovers. Furthermore, it shows how vulnerable the defense was when getting "exotic". When you consider RGIII only aimed two passes at least 20 yards down the field that's a lot of yards given up even when you take away Garcon's 88 yards reception. Part of it can be explained by the depleted secondary but it was still an awful performance.
That's not a lot when the defense played 76 snaps. Galette had 13 snaps on defense. Wilson, despite his great play on special teams only had 1. I understand the concept of a situational pass rusher but I can't believe there's only one situation when he should be used. There is no guarantee that giving these two more snaps would have helped but Will Smith (60 snaps) didn't contribute much so I can't really see why they didn't get a chance to use their speed against a quick guy like RGIII.
The Redskins were able to use play-actions efficiently while getting rid of the ball quickly with screens and short passes which greatly worked against the Saints' defense that was missing defensive backs. However it doesn't come close to explaining all the struggles we saw last Sunday as it was an unacceptable performance. Let's see if they can bounce back against Carolina.
This FanPost was written by a reader and member of Canal Street Chronicles. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CSC and its staff or editors.