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Saints 22 @ Titans 17: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

  • Marques Colston had seven catches, 105 yards and the Saints only two touchdowns of the game. Just an ordinary Sunday for the Quiet Storm.
  • Shutting down Chris Johnson was obviously a huge part of the defensive game plan so you've got to give them credit for executing it to perfection. Johnson was a non-factor, limited to just 23 yards on 11 carries. In fact, Jake Locker wound up being the Titans leading rusher with 36 yards on the day.
  • Say what you will about this Saints defense but they got the job done once again and come up with the play when they need it most. Saints fans might be left with a bad taste in their mouth but let's put things in perspective. Ignore the Titans three big plays for 140 yards and the defense basically shut them down. Those three plays were 43% of Tennessee's total offensive production.
  • Drew Brees extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 40 and his streak of games with 20 or more completions to 33.
  • Chris Ivory looked pretty darn good (13 rushes - 53 yards) for having been inactive the last three games. Love the deep rotation the Saints have got going at the running back position.
  • Kicker John Kasay was perfect on all three field goal attempts, which is good because the Saints needed every one of them.
  • For all of those people complaining about the poor officiating against the Saints, it looked like Patrick Robinson got away with a blatant push on Marc Mariani in the end zone on the final play of the game. High five!
  • You've got to credit rookie Jake Locker for his play today and for almost leading his team to victory against a superior opponent.
  • The Saints dominated time of possession, controlling the ball for 37:33 compared to Tennessee's 22:27.
  • Malcolm Jenkins' fourth quarter tackle on Chris Johnson just shy of the first down was crucial. The Saints would hold that yard for another two plays and force the Titans to turn it over on downs. Once again this season the Saints defense came up big on a key fourth down play, this time stuffing Jake Locker on a quarterback sneak.
  • Tracy Porter came up with some big plays as well. His hit on Jake Locker as he was throwing the ball was arguably a sack/fumble though it was ruled an incomplete pass. Porter was also responsible for the tight coverage and nice breakup on the pass attempt to Marc Mariani on the second to last play of the game.
  • As I mentioned in my post-game wrap-up yesterday, the Saints were successful in taking care of the football for the third game in a row. Zero turnovers = super important.
  • Let's not get too excited just yet but Shaun Rogers actually showed up to play yesterday. He had three tackles and a nice pass deflection.
  • Always good to get a win on the road.
  • The Saints seem to have avoided any serious injuries to any key personnel. That's always good.

The Bad

  • Lance Moore was a little off his game yesterday. He missed an easy third down catch in the end zone he almost always makes then ran out of bounds late in the game to stop the clock when the team really wanted to keep the clock running.
  • Jimmy Graham suffered from back spasms before the game and was limping around on the field early. He still played through it and caught five passes for 55 yards but I think he was limited. Hopefully this isn't some lingering issue for Graham.
  • The decision to pass the ball on third down late in the game instead of run out the clock with a rushing play was probably not the best idea.
  • The Saints got caught a couple of times with linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar defending wide receiver Nate Washington, not the ideal matchup for the Saints defense. It was the culprit on the 54-yard completion to Washington in the final series.
  • The tackling in this game reminded me too much of the Saints playoff loss to the Seahawks last year. Tracy Porter over pursued and missed Jake Locker in the back field, turning a potential sack into a first down. Patrick Robinson could have prevented the 54-yard catch and run by Damian Williams with a better open-field tackle attempt. It wasn't all bad, but it definitely could have been better.

The Ugly

  • Like the Detroit Lions last week, the Saints shot themselves in the foot with 11 costly penalties for 95 yards. A Jermon Bushrod illegal formation penalty negated a 7-yard Jimmy Graham catch. A Martez Wilson holding penalty (incorrectly credited to Jo-Lonn Dunbar) nullified a Darren Sproles 81-yard punt return touchdown. A Robert Meachem holding penalty cancelled out an 11-yard reception by Darren Sproles. A Jed Collins holding penalty took away a 13-yard Chris Ivory run. Another Jermon Bushrod holding call brought back a 21-yard Darren Sproles run. All of which cost the team points and stalled drives. Go ahead and complain about the officiating all you want - and perhaps they were a little whistle happy, calling a tight game - but the players need to be assessed at least some of the responsibility on at least a few of these plays.
  • That being said, I think the officials really did botch the call on what should have been a Jimmy Graham touchdown. After several replays Joe Buck and Troy Aikman claimed they could see a blade of grass pop up when Graham's toe hit the turf out of bounds but I wasn't seeing that at all.
  • Whiny Saints fans. Yes, I'm looking at you.