What...the hell...was that?
Let me get this straight: Chris Ivory - the undrafted rookie free agent running back and former fourth-stringer who improbably earned a roster spot on the team this year - is out with injury and the entire run game shuts down as if there's no other player on the bench to replace him? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the rushing attack supposed to get better when your starting backs are healthy and carrying the load once again? Isn't that how it works?
That's a lot of questions, I know and I apologize, but that's all I'm left with following yesterday's incredibly lopsided offensive play calling by Payton and the Saints. Never mind the Ravens, with their 39 rushing plays to only 20 passing attempts. Because believe it or not, as off-balance as that may be, the Saints ran an even more disproportionate offense with 46 pass attempts and only fourteen rushing plays.
Fourteen!?! That's absurd. The lowest total number of rushing plays in a game this season for the Saints. In other words, the Saints have never been more unbalanced. The only other two times this season the Saints didn't eclipse the 20 play mark on the ground was against the Falcons (16) and Browns (18). We know how those games turned out. High five! While that may not necessarily prove causation, it certainly illustrates a correlation.
Here's another question: Why aren't the Saints using my boy Pierre Thomas more? He wasn't listed on Friday's injury report so we can only assume the ankle injury is a non-factor. In a Times-Pic article this Tuesday titled, "New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas is back, big time" Drew Brees said...
It was great to have him back. Obviously, we missed him. We're glad he's healthy, glad to have him back.
And ESPN's Pat Yasinskas had him listed as a rising stock in the NFC South. Yet Thomas finished yesterday's game with only seven total touches. Interestingly enough, those seven touches tie him for a team high yesterday; it's not like he isn't getting his fair share of chances.
So if it's not a question of injury or an issue of favoritism, then we can only assume that the Saints asymmetrical play calling was either the plan from the get go or a poor job by Payton in-game. Either way, I'm incredibly confused and equally pissed. It's not the first time. I want the run game back and I want it done with more Pierre Thomas. But don't look to me for answers. I thought for sure that a heavy dose of the rushing attack by one or all of the teams running backs was going to be just what the doctor ordered on a cold and windy Baltimore day.
I might have even been right. We'll never know.