The New Orleans Saints looked inept for much of this week's loss to the Atlanta Falcons. At the end of the third quarter, the Saints had only scored three points while allowing the Falcons to put up 17. The offensive play calling was mind-numbing most of the game, even with the Saints making a late charge in the fourth quarter. The Saints will have many questions to answer this week after this last-second loss. These are just some overreactions to the Saints loss against the Falcons in Week 9.
Sean Payton arrogance leads to loss
Sean Payton surely knows the New Orleans Saints record with backup quarterbacks. Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill filled in admirably the past two years after injuries to Drew Brees. This year, Jameis Winston goes down and Trevor Siemian has to fill in due to a Taysom Hill being out with injury. When this NFL year began, the Saints quarterback battle was not a three-way battle. This was a battle between Hill and Winston. So, it is incredibly mind-boggling to see that Payton chose to go with Siemian instead of Hill this week. This was obviously not the best decision.
Anytime Taysom Hill was in at quarterback this game, he produced. The offense looked to open up whenever he was on the field, but Payton kept going back to Siemian. Payton’s bad decision-making was increasingly evident in the Saints late two-point conversions. These short-yardage situations are exactly what Taysom Hill has excelled at his entire career. For some reason though, Siemian took both snaps at quarterback on the two-point conversions. There is no logical explanation for not relying on a guy that Payton has referred to as the next Steve Young.
Saints defense not deep enough to consistently lead to wins
The Saints starters on defense can be considered one of the best in the entire NFL. The issue is when the Saints are missing some of these pieces. When C.J. Gardner-Johnson left the game with an injury, the Saints defense lost some of its cohesiveness. This was evident when the Falcons drove the field to score the game-winning field goal. Paulson Adebo still has rookie growing pains. Bradley Roby has not adjusted to the Saints scheme. Saints linebackers not named Demario Davis are not quick enough to keep up with running backs or speedy receivers. The Saints defense has enough high-end players to be elite, but the depth is just not available to sustain over the course of a long NFL season.
Offense leaves too much time on clock
The Saints had the ball in the red zone with just 1:18 left on the clock. The ball was on the 11-yard line and the Falcons still had all their timeouts available. It is easy to judge the play calling knowing that the Falcons won with a last-minute drive; however, Sean Payton never should have leftover a minute on the clock for the Falcons.
The first play called by the offense was a dive with fullback Alex Armah. If the Saints wanted to wind down the clock, why go with Armah and not Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara? Ingram was averaging almost five yards per carry in this game and Kamara was right at four. The very next play, Payton calls a pass. Yes, the Saints scored, but it is hard to think that a touchdown would not have been the result if Ingram or Kamara was handling the ball for multiple straight plays. Again, Payton seemed as if he just wanted to make Trevor Siemian look good, instead of trying to win the game with his best players.
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