Yep. The headline pretty much says it all. This makes the second Sunday in row that has become somewhat frustrating and quite depressing. Granted, we played against a very good determined Panthers team on their turf and gave them a solid fight. Both of these teams were once in a very strange position early in the season where the Saints sitting at 5-0, (supposedly in well control of the division) and the Panthers sitting at 1-3 looking at another disappointing season. Well here we sit at 10-5, where we were recently fighting for no.1 seed, well in control of no.2 seed. Now in just a split second as it seems, the Panthers are 11-4 in control of the NFC South and the Saints are fighting for no.6 seed, provided IF we beat Tampa Bay, another divisional opponent which will not be an easy task. The good news? We play them at the dome where we "should" win the game. We never fare well when other teams need to help us get in, so we're on our own now. I wanted the Saints to rest their starters the last game of the season to keep everyone healthy for the playoffs. That's not going to be the case this time. I swear, I feel like the ghost of Jim Mora is back on the sidelines with the WTF playcalling.
So what's wrong with the Saints? Well if you look at the Saints road record this season, it's very apparent they've been terrible on the road,mostly on offense. And I know our O'line has not been good this season. However, there are more factors that come into play. And before I go into details, I'm really tired of some people giving Drew Brees a free pass.He's an outstanding QB and has done a lot for this franchise, but he is human. And you guys know me, I don't sugar coat a damn thing, I call it as I see it. Sean Payton is as much to blame as well. I'm not giving him a free pass either. So here goes. Do you guys notice a steep decline in our offense as I mentioned earlier this season? Meaning horrible 3rd down and manageable plays, play calling, scheme, and most importantly, the lack of spark. The spark is just not there. Something is terribly wrong. I sense it, and I hope you can too. This team does not perform well in low scoring games. Years ago, this team was built for a high flying high scoring offense which has been successful for a long time. This year, I've seen a lot of changing, in all phases on offense. Once again today the Saints were terrible on 3rd down, 5-18 and 7 punts. Looks like Mora stats doesn't it? When you have Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston in your offensive lineup, and you fail to convert on the majority of 3rd and manageable? Yeah, I'd say something's terribly wrong here. When this team is not at least scoring 27 plus points a game, trouble arises. The Saints have been in a few situations where all they needed was "ONE FRIGGING 1st DOWN" Yet Payton elects to run up the middle "3 TIMES" for what? 2 yards? Just over a minute left, when the Saints punted, I just knew we were going to lose. And we rightfully deserved to lose today. When you play to "Not To Lose", this is what happens. See Jim Mora back in the day.
Oh yeah, regarding Payton's post game interview. We're Disappointed But Not Discouraged. I was quite disappointed in that. A coach should have been mad as hell, just the same as last week. This loss was on Payton and the offense. There's no spark, play calling stinks to high heaven, and no creativity. Even though our o'line has issues, they should still be making plays down field, not chickensh__ 2 yard passes who are covered by 2 defenders. And please, enough with the screens, find something else in the playbook. Defenses are reading it like a book. Can this team regroup for Sunday against Tampa? We certainly hope. Tampa will play for nothing to lose.
Do NOT blame this loss on the defense, they played very well today. They were put into a situation that should not have been. Thanks to Payton's boneheaded play calling. Please, let's not have a heartbreaking let down like we did in 2002. I would loathe the fact of going 10-6 and not make the playoffs.