I already vented my initial post-game frustrations yesterday immediately following the Saints loss to the Cardinals. So I will just give you the rest of my thoughts/feelings about yesterday's debacle in bullet format and broken down by the good and bad. Naturally, there's a lot more bad than good.
- The big offensive plays made an appearance yesterday. Last week the Saints didn't have one play for over twenty yards but this week there were at least three, including a long touchdown pass to non other than Robert Meachem. That's a good sign. I think.
- Patrick Robinson was making some pretty nice tackles out there, leading the team actually and probably turning in his best performance to date. Granted it seems to be a throw-your-body-around, hit-or-miss style of tackling, not so much using his arms or attempting to wrap anyone up.
- The Saints defense did a much better job getting pressure on the rookie quarterback and taking advantage of a weak offensive line. They finished the day with a total of four sacks, the most for the defense in one game since week 4 last year against the Jets. Give it up to Alex Brown for notching his first sack of the season and as a New Orleans Saint. He might want to lose the gator clap celebration, though. Didn't he watch the game on Saturday? I also thought Jeff Charleston filled in admirably at defensive end for the injured Will Smith. Most notable was his tackle for a loss early in the game after quickly releasing from his blocker.
- I'm thinking we'll see Garrett Hartley make his triumphant return to placekicking duties next weekend. Carney is supposed to be the guy you can count, but if even he's not going to make the easy kicks then there doesn't seem to be any sense in wasting roster space with not one but two head cases. Carney's missed field goal could have sent this game to overtime and been the difference maker not that they ever should have needed it.
- Turnovers were a huge difference maker in this game. The Saints finished with a -3 ratio no thanks to a Betts fumble and three Brees interceptions. That's not to say the Saints didn't have their chances. Sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way. The Saints defense did what it does best and forced four fumbles. They just weren't fortunate enough to recover any of them.
- Ladell Betts and Chris Ivory both split time carrying the ball again. I was satisfied with their output, again, but they didn't get used quite enough to my liking as the playcalling continues to remain unbalanced. The other bad news is that Betts coughed up a costly fumble, so now neither one of the current Saints starting running backs can really be trusted.
- The red zone play continues to suffer. They were 1/4 yesterday, running thirteen plays and only gaining 22 yards. In the past two weeks they are 2/9 in the red zone.
- Not that he isn't one of the best receivers currently playing the game but the Saints couldn't do much to stop Larry Fitzgerald, who had 93 yards receiving. Jabari Greer was on him most if not all of the afternoon and seemed to be giving a good amount of cushion, letting him make catches but being sure to keep Fitz in front of him. Or he was just getting burned. You be the judge. The Saints were, however, able to keep him out of the end zone and kept his longest play to 26 yards. Greer was also responsible for the Saints only turnover in their favor with his early-game interception.
- The offensive line continues to struggle and turned in what may have been their worst performance this season and once again, it's the right side that is most to blame. I mentioned last week that Jahri Evans was responsible for two stalled drives courtesy of his holding penalties and you can add another one to that disgusting total. Jon Stinchcomb was flagged for a false start on a key third and goal play and was also the one who got beat by his man on the Drew Brees sack/fumble. Fortunately, Stinchcomb was able to make up for his mistake and recover it.
- The Madden Curse continues to seemingly strike as Drew has yet another sub-par performance by his standards. Definitely the worst one of the year. No matter what issues the team as a whole may have, their chances of righting the ship drop significantly if Drew can't get himself together. It all starts and ends with him.