The New Orleans Saints seem to be in a tailspin. The injuries as well as the losses are piling up on this team and the schedule doesn’t get any easier the next couple of weeks. The team is scrambling to find answers but the problem is there are far too many questions to address at this point. Sunday’s game was an exact microcosm of what has been going on with this team the last few weeks. Here are a few of my biggest takeaways from the demoralizing defeat on Sunday.
Starting off slow
We have detailed this fact at nauseum for much of the season, but the Saints are just not a fast-starting team. This reared its ugly head again on Sunday when the Saints failed to score a point in the first quarter for the 6th time this season. They are one of only 2 teams in the league who has not scored an opening drive touchdown, the other is Atlanta, and the Saints are 29th in the league in 1st quarter scoring. With all the injuries and changes in personnel, this team is not setup to have to consistently mount comebacks in every game. As they move into the schedule where they are playing more superior teams, the Saints need to get on the scoreboard early as clearly this offense isn’t the type to be able to move the ball up and down the field at will like Saints teams of the past. Saints need to start fast and finish strong.
For the second year in a row the Saints trotted in their top ranked rushing defense to Philadelphia and for the second straight year the Eagles ran through the Saints like a wet paper bag. This year the Eagles controlled the game from the start on the ground en route to rushing for 242 yards on 50 carries. At times it seemed as if Philly could have told the Saints which way they were going to run the ball and the Saints still wouldn’t be able to stop it. Not sure if this is a case of Philly matching up well with the Saints or if these 2 games are the exception and not the rule. At any rate, the Saints run defense should be the strongest aspect of this team and on Sunday it wasn’t. The Saints can ill afford to have another showing like this again as it is abundantly clear the offense is the weakest link on this team.
As it was alluded to above, this offense is downright putrid. Granted, being down your top quarterback, top running back, top wide receiver, and 3 starting offensive lineman would cripple any team facing those circumstances. However, that’s the hand you are currently dealt so you have to try to make lemons out of lemonade. What the Saints are making in the kitchen needs to be put directly in the trash. The wide receiver corps minus Michael Thomas may be the worse in the league. Trevor Siemian is showing that he is a spot backup quarterback that isn’t a long-term option and seeing Caesar Ruiz’s bad play has really put a full spotlight on the 2020 draft class and not in a favorable light. The lone bright spot may have been another member of that class in Adam Trautman who has taken recent criticism because of his poor play, but probably had his best game of the season. Unfortunately for him, he was injured in the game and will now miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL. This offense is not only going nowhere fast, but it’s going backwards and there may not be much that can be done to stop that.
These were a few takeaways I had from the game on Sunday. What did you observe? Sound off in the comment section below. The Saints are in Primetime this Thursday as they host the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving night in the Superdome.