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
The New Orleans Saints defensive line is one of few completely healthy units in the game. Rookie DT Sheldon Rankins continues to be disruptive in the middle of the defensive line since debuting a few weeks ago, and Nick Fairley and Cam Jordan remain forces to be reckoned with.
The Saints again were able to get a couple of sacks, a handful of tackles for loss, and were able to put a fair amount of pressure on the opposing QB.
Down: Drew Brees
Brees made multiple poor throws and poor decisions. He threw into coverage, leading to interceptions, overthrew/underthrew open receivers, and failed to record a passing TD for the second week in a row. Hopefully Drew is able to right the ship and end the season with a bit of momentum.
The Saints were playing against the Bucs this week, but ended up also having to play against themselves. The Saints committed a season-high in penalties and were constantly putting themselves behind the sticks on early plays on offense. This is on top of defensive pass interference calls and an unnecessary taunting penalty on Willie Snead.
Down: Clock Management
I’m not even just talking about the clock management to end the first half.
The Saints poor clock management has been an unspoken issue for much of the second half of the season. Poor use of timeouts and lackadaisically moving down the field in crunch times have resulted in a couple of losses already (the Panthers second game and the Broncos game come to mind). This was another game that showed poor use of managing the clock, and that falls completely on the shoulders of Sean Payton.