The Saints came back from a 14-point deficit and 21 unanswered by the Ravens to tie it up in the 4th quarter. They couldn't seal the deal, however, when they were down by three with the ball in their possession and three minutes left on the clock.
I don't have anything inspirational to say right now. I apologize if you've come here looking for hope and/or support. I believe at the heart of the Saints problems today was their inability to stop the run while at the same time not dedicating themselves to and successfully running the ball themselves.
The good news is that the Ravens are a good team and this was a tough road game for the Saints. The other good news is that they're an AFC opponent so the loss doesn't hurt in the standings so much. Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter because unless the Falcons lose out the Saints now have no chance of winning the division and can only hope for the 5th seed (first wildcard) at best.
Click the picture for more official photos from today's game. Make the jump for the rest of my initial reactions from the Saints loss.
We've got an open thread going on right now for the Falcons @ Seahawks game.
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- Drew Brees almost made it the entire game without throwing an interception until he threw a pick - and the Saints chances of winning - to Cory Redding with less than two minutes remaining along with it. I'm sure that screwed up a bunch of our weekly predictions. The interception streak now extends to ten games in a row.
- Brees had pressure in his face all afternoon. Not good work by the offensive line to give Drew time. Fortunately, the Saints were able to recover the two fumbles by Brees in the same series.
- Ravens running back Ray Rice had 233 all-purpose yards. It's going to be a long day if you're giving up that kind of yardage to an opposing team. The Saints defense did a poor job stopping the run.
- At the same time, I would have really liked to see the Saints dedicate themselves more to the run.
- It was an afternoon of magical catches. Jimmy Graham's first touchdown was a splendid one-handed, falling grab. Lance Moore's game-tying reception after a tip drill was a heads-up effort of concentration.
- Jabari Greer left the game with a left knee injury. Instead of playing Leigh Torrence it seems like it would have made more sense to move Jenkins over to Greer's spot and have Sharper play free safety full time.
- Courtney Roby is a great gunner but I think Pierre Thomas is a bigger threat as a kickoff return man.
- Too much dancing from Reggie. Officially he had four carries for -4 yards in the running game.
- Both teams were penalized for 68 yards each, but the Saints managed to do it with only half the number of penalty calls (5).
- Give credit to the Ravens, who did a good job with ball protection. It looked like the Saints tried desperately to force a fumble throughout the game but just couldn't make it happen.
- A lot of piss poor tackling by the Saints defense.
- Hartley's ability to kick in the wind was never a factor. He did all that was asked of him.
- Congratulations to Marvin Mitchell who got the first sack of his career.
- I enjoyed the Christmas-themed scoreboard during the FOX broadcast, particularly the Christmas lights denoting the number of timeouts. Really puts me in the holiday spirit.