The Good: (Most of) The Offense
The Saints offense scored 34 points on Thursday night which was their second best output of the season, and their fourth straight game scoring 25+ points. A few bad plays by the offense (which we’ll talk about later) set the team back by gifting the Cardinals points, but despite this the offense was able to keep the game reasonable throughout and was able to answer almost every time the Cardinals went and got points. Andy Dalton threw for over 350 yards and for 4 touchdowns, but that was all overshadowed by just a few plays.
The Bad: Defense
The defense has some major problems, the like of which we have not seen since Rob Ryan was roaming the Saints sideline. No one outside of Demario Davis and Cam Jordan have been able to get pressure on the quarterback this year, and over the last four weeks they are giving up an average of 33 points per game. This final score is a little misleading from the defenses perspective, as the Saints offense gave up 14 of the Cardinals 42 points, but the defense still was unable to stop the Cardinals when they needed to most as they put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
The Ugly: Pick Sixes
Right when we thought Andy Dalton was the right game manager to succeed in this offense he throws two of the worst timed pick sixes we have seen in a while. On back to back drives at the end of the first half Dalton threw a pas that bounced right off Marquez Callaway’s hands and into Marco Wilson’s, which the former shoe thrower promptly took back for a touchdown. On the very next drive Dalton threw a pass right to linebacker Isaiah Simmons that Simmons ran 56 yards back for another touchdown. All this after the Cardinals scored a touchdown and two point conversion on their previous drive. In a matter of 1:46 of game time, the Saints went from being up 14-6 to being down 14-28 headed into the half. Meltdowns like this just cannot happen, especially for struggling teams. This may cost Dalton his starting job as well with Jameis Winston looking like he is healthy again.
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