Last night, as the inevitable train-wreck that is the New Orleans Saints 2016 season was unfolding in front of our eyes, I thought about something. Something rather sad (in the very unimportant context of football, of course): "Had Sean Payton figured out how to field even a decent defense throughout his head coaching career, he'd be considered one of the greatest coaches in NFL history." He isn't, and he likely won't. And that's too bad.
1. 474 Yards
These are not the number of yards given up by the Saints' defense. These are the total yards piled up by the Saints' offense on Monday night. Oh yeah, they also score 32 points, were 7 of 13 on third down (54%) and yet, New Orleans lost by 13 points. Um...what? Yes.
2. 54 Times
That's the number of throws attempted by Drew Brees last night, against only 23 rushing attempts. New Orleans averaged 5.0 yards per carry on Monday night, and had 115 rushing yards and yet, Sean Payton and Pete Carmichael Jr. live in the mantra: you live by the pass, you die by the pass. Lately, the Saints have mostly died by the pass, as it was a pick six by former LSU linebacker Deion Jones that for all intents and purposes, sealed the game for Atlanta.
3. One Reception, 16 yards
That was Falcons receiver Julio Jones' night in the Superdome on Monday. Atlanta didn't need its best receiver to beat a Saints team that gave up 7.0 yards per carry and a total of 217 yards rushing. If someone had told me before the game that Jones would be so ineffective, I would've likedthe Saints' chances, especially after they had held the Giants to only 64 yards on the ground. I would've been wrong.
4. Credit Where Credit is Due
I've been hard on Saints tight end Coby Fleener since he joined the Saints this offseason. You've been hard on him too, heck everybody has called him some name that no one would dare say in front of their mother. Yet, on Monday night, when Brandin Cooks was held to two caches for 13 yards, and with Willie Snead out, Fleener had seven catches on 10 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. Welcome to the party Coby, unfortunately, it seems only the offensive players were invited.
5. Not-So-Special Teams
So the Saints are ahead 7-0, slicing into Atlanta's Swiss cheese defense with ease. Then they sack Ryan on the Falcons' first offensive possession and force a punt. Are you kidding me? We're coming, the Saints are coming!!! The Falcons punt, we 'bout to get ahead 14-0 y'all, this 'bout to get loud this 'bout to...wait!!! Wait what just...what just...what just happened? The last three NFL seasons in New Orleans, that's what. Hang in there though, we're going through it together y'all. And no matter what happens: Who Dat!