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
Cam Jordan is good at football.
In what was the lone, consistent bright spot for the Saints this game, the defensive front was (for the second game in a row, and for the second time this season against the Panthers) able to generate consistent pressure on the opposing QB. The Saints were able to sack Cam Newton, get in his face, force poor throws, bat balls down at the line, and stuff Cam’s running game.
And for the second week in a row, the Saints were not able to overcome early turnovers. This time, a sack fumble of Brees early in the game, coupled with what could only be called a terribly thrown ball that led to an interception, the Saints gave up two quick possession that led to 10 points in the other direction.
Down: Special Teams Play
This has moved into a “Down” for the whole season.
Special Teams play was again atrocious. Penalties on kickoff returns. Another terrible decision to try to catch a ball that was clearly going out of bounds on an opposing kickoff. Another blocked FG(/extra point) returned for a touchdown(/2PC).
Down: Clock Management
For the record, I wanted to put Special Teams play here again, just because it’s been that bad.
But equally as bad, and even less forgivable, was the decision to lackadaisically move down the field late in the fourth quarter. The Saints were constantly going back to the huddle, taking time to get plays off at the line, and just generally not acting with the haste the situation required.
Had the Saints put a little more pep in their step on their TD drive in the 4th quarter, maybe they would’ve had a little more time to try for a go-ahead TD or game-tying FG.