The New Orleans Saints were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday, so it was an "adding injury to insult" feeling watching them play on Monday night against the Detroit Lions, especially seeing the Saints' struggles with injuries exacerbated over the course of the game. Drew Brees looked hobbled for much of the game, and Marques Colston was brutalized by former Saint Isa Abdul-Quddus over the middle of the field towards the end.
The game started predictably enough. Detroit jumped out to a 21-3 lead as they are want to do early in games, Brandon Browner picked up a few penalties, and the first half ended on an absolutely bizarre set of refereeing decisions. Pretty much par for the course in Monday Night Football.
The Saints' defense, unfortunately, was horrific in terms of tackling. The yards after catch were ridiculous, as was the inability to wrap up in the running game, and receivers still ended up inexplicably open throughout the game. The defense was nearly bailed out towards the end of the game by a few Detroit fumbles, one of which was recovered by New Orleans, but ultimately they fell just short.
To Brees's credit, he played with tremendous heart throughout the game. Brees's shoulder looked troubled and he was hobbled from an early foot injury, but he played through and extended his record for consecutive 4,000 yard seasons, career 300 yard games and he became just the fourth player to surpass 60,000 yards. It was a historic night for him, and a game that he struggled in early but willed the Saints back into late, but 27 points, once again, just wasn't enough.
To the Lions' credit, Theo Riddick played outstanding, finally getting a chance to showcase his quickness. Don't let Brandin Cooks's statline fool you into thinking that Darius Slay didn't play well as well, as he made several fantastic plays throughout the game, particularly downfield.
All in all, it was a game befitting a team that had just had its season ended. It started out horrifically, and the Saints battled back into the game, but there simply was too much to overcome for the high powered offense. Mix this with a defense that has all but given up at this point in the year, and it is hardly a surprise that the Saints are, for all intents and purposes, done for 2015.
Saints vs. Lions Stats:
NO - Drew Brees: 34/52, 341 YDs, 3 TDs
DET - Matthew Stafford: 22/25, 254 YDs, 3 TDs
NO - Tim Hightower: 13 CAR, 54 YDs
DET - Ameer Abdullah: 9 CAR, 77 YDs, 1 TD
DET - Joique Bell: 8 CAR, 71 YDs, 1 TD
NO - Brandin Cooks: 10 REC, 124 YDs, 1 TD
NO - Willie Snead: 10 REC, 76 YDs
DET - Eric Ebron: 4 REC, 79 YDs
DET - Golden Tate: 6 REC, 45 YDs, 2 TDs