Well that stunk. In what was another roller-coaster of a game with plenty of ups and downs along the way, here are a couple that stood out.
Up: Pass Rush
Nick Fairley roared off to an amazing start to begin the season, and quieted down after the loss of his mother. He, along with Cameron Jordan and the rest of the defensive front, were able to have a monster game this week.
The Saints were able to sack Broncos QB Trevor Siemian a whopping 5 times, while consistently putting pressure in his face and landing hits as he was releasing the ball. Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen might finally be starting to have faith in his group of blitzers, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
For the second week in a row, the Saints defense was able to get an interception (undoubtedly helped by the pass rush the defense was able to generate), but the Saints offense’s four turnovers were too much to overcome.
Saints QB Drew Brees threw two interceptions (one of which was not really his fault), but rookie WR Michael Thomas had his first dud of a game - with a quiet night in production and two costly fumbles. Hopefully the kid is able to bounce back in the coming weeks.
Down: Special Teams Play
For the second week in a row, there was a botched decision on a kickoff about whether or not to run a kick back. Again, the return man (RB Tim Hightower this time) mishandled the ball, was forced to run it out, and gave the Saints poor field position that eventually led to an unsuccessful drive.
These kind of decisions cannot happen. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has said that this Saints team is frankly not good enough to overcome things like turnovers and poor special teams play, and this week, the Saints had to deal with both.
Down: Officiating to end the game
I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but the officiating at the end of the game cost the Saints a victory. I know that any team blaming officiating for a game is a bit of a cop-out in that good teams should not put themselves in positions where a single bad call can make or break the outcome, but this one just stings.
In what as a clear violating of the leverage rule on field goals/extra points, #93 of the Broncos defense pushes down on the Saints long-snapper to allow #31 of the Broncos to jump over him for the block. This is illegal. Point blank. The block should have been flagged with the Saints able to re-attempt the kick.
But even if the extra point was blocked legally, it looked to most like the Broncos returner of the blocked extra point clearly stepped out of bounds on his way to 2-points for Denver. If anything, the game should have been tied heading into a Saints kickoff with 1:22 left in the game.