Injuries, injuries, injuries! The major story of this disaster of a game has definitely got to be the injuries. From a health standpoint, the Saints weren't in great shape before yesterday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but now they're even more banged up. By the end of the afternoon the team was down to only one tight end and two running backs. Not good as they head into the playoffs and a Wild Card matchup against the this Saturday.
Though I hate them as a fan, these games are interesting to watch when you sit as close to the Saints bench as I do. Looking more like a triage unit than an NFL sideline there was a lot of action going on at field level. Let's go through a quick rundown:
- Didn't get a good look at the actual Malcolm Jenkins injury but I did catch the aftermath. Things looked good initially when Jenkins walked off the field on his own power. But after being looked at on the sideline table, Jenkins was taken off the field in the front seat of a cart with his knee wrapped in what I would assume was ice.
- Jimmy Graham walked in and out of the locker room before walking out one last time, never to return.
- Chris Ivory was laying on the ground and getting worked on; what I presumed to be hamstring massaging. He limped off the field to the locker room later in the game, never to return. I heard on WWL's post-game show that this injury to Ivory was new and not his pre-existing hamstring condition.
- Alex Brown needed a little help off the field. He had his shoulder pads off and was getting looked at on the table. He later returned.
And let's not forget about some of the key players who weren't even able to dress yesterday:
- Marques Colston (knee scope)
- Pierre Thomas (ankle)
- Jeremy Shockey (groin)
- David Thomas (knee)
Then, of course, there was the actual game on the field. In short - and to be polite - I would simply say that it was sloppy, replete with poor tackling and lots of dropped balls. The good news is that the outcome on the scoreboard doesn't matter and we can just forget yesterday ever happened. The bad news is that we can't really forget about this game because the Saints obviously aren't playing their best football when it's about to matter most and they're even more worse for wear because of it.
Might as well JUMP! for more notes from the game.
- I got a surprise pre-game visit from non other than our very own stujo4! We had a chance to talk for a few minutes. Wish I had thought to take a picture.
- Devery Henderson was in charge of leading the pre-game Who Dat chant.
- Black pants. 'Nuff said.
- The scoreboard updating of the Falcons/Panthers game was noticeably more delayed than the other games around the league. This was probably done on purpose. But pretty much by halftime everyone in the building knew the Falcons were definitely not going to lose. Hence Payton's decision to rest starters.
- The more I watch Jimmy Graham play and think about how far he's come in how short a time, the more I think he's just an athletically gifted savant, If he took up curling tomorrow, he'd probably be representing the U.S.A. in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
- Greer completely mistimed his jump on the Buccaneers third quarter touchdown.
- At least we don't need to be worried about Garrett Hartley anymore. Hartley has looked much better as of late and I believe has made his last ten in a row. He's especially money from 45-yards and out.
- For those fans looking for a breakout game from Reggie Bush, I think yesterday is as close are you're going to get. Seriously though, Reggie looked great with 70 yards rushing, 55 yards receiving and that much more north-south, hard-nosed running style we've seen occasionally from Bush. The question is: can he continue to do it? .
- Can't say I'm suprised that Adrian Arrington took advantage of his opportunity and had such a great game yesterday after waiting so long for his chance. He led all receivers with seven catches for 79 yards. If Marques Colston really has to miss significant time, having Arrington at least takes a little bit of the sting out of it.
- Will Smith only had one tackle on the day but it was a sack. He looked solid on a few other plays as well. But I can't forget his jump offsides during a Buccaneers field goal attempt, giving Tampa a fresh set of downs and ultimately leading to a touchdown instead. That offsides cost four points.
- The stat sheet may show that Drew Brees has now thrown an interception in twelve straight games but I don't think this one was his fault. From my seat it looked as if the intended receiver was interfered with, causing him to fall and allowing the ball to land directly into the open arms of a Larry Asante.
- Which leads me to my point about the lack of penalty flags thrown in favor of the Saints yesterday. Remember, I didn't get to watch the game on television but including the interference on the interception I thought the referees missed two horsecollars and a late hit or two.
- Jeff Charleston came up with yet another big play this week when he got a sack on Freeman and recovered the subsequent fumble.
- The friend I took to the game noted that there are no redheads on the Saintsations cheerleading squad and I'd have to agree. What's up with that?
- Tory Humphrey should have made that catch at the goal line. Looked like the ball went right through his hands.