Well that wasn’t pretty to say the least. 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: Brandon Coleman
It wasn’t a great day for the Saints’ receivers with Coby Fleener catching a short touchdown after the game was already well out of hand, but it was Brandon Coleman who helped keep the game competitive in the first half. Coleman finished with only 7 receiving yards less than Michael Thomas, but Coleman’s touchdown made him the Saints most productive receiver in the game. With the Saints missing Willie Snead for one more game, Coleman could be asked to replicate this success in Week 3.
Down: Offensive Line
The Saints are really hurting on the offensive line without Terron Armstead and Zach Strief. The Saints were held to 80 yards on the ground and Drew Brees was under consistent pressure all game. Reinforcements are coming, but they couldn’t come fast enough.
Down: Kenny Vaccaro
Rumors broke this morning that the Saints were shopping the former 1st Round Pick, and he definitely didn’t help increase his trade value against the Patriots. Vaccaro was exposed in zone coverage throughout the game and was eventually benched in the second half with Vonn Bell coming in to help cover TE Rob Gronkowski. It will be interesting to see what if anything happens to Vaccaro and the Saints depth chart this week.
Down: 3rd Down Efficiency/Play-Calling
There was a lot of questionable play-calling by the Saints in this game. The Saints were calling predictable plays to lead to 3rd and longs, and then even more predictable plays on third down that led to punts. The Saints were one of the better teams at converting 3rd downs last season, but were a shell of that team in this game.
And let’s not even talk about the decision to accept an offsides penalty and erase a FG, only to then re-kick from the same spot. Luckily, that play didn’t end up hurting the Saints as Wil Lutz was able to nail both attempts. Then there was the decision to go for it on 4th down near the end of the first half instead of to take the field goal.
If the Saints don’t get their play-calling together soon, we won’t be seeing Sean Payton in New Orleans in 2018.