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Ups and downs from Saints vs. Falcons

New Orleans doesn’t look much different after their bye.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints dropped to second in the NFC South after a loss to division opponent Atlanta Falcons. The Saints, fresh out of a bye, failed to score a touchdown in a 24-15 loss.

Up: Chris Olave

Chris Olave and Derek Carr have struggled to build a connection all season, but on Sunday, they had their best game together. Carr looked Olave’s way early in the game with Olave ending the first half with 100+ yards receiving. Atlanta had no answer for the 2nd-year receiver. Sadly, Olave left the game early in the second half with a concussion and never returned. He finished with 7 receptions for 114 yards on the day.

Up: Blake Grupe

The Saints' offense struggles to score touchdowns, thus relying on kicker Blake Grupe for most of their points. Grupe went 5/6 against Atlanta. Despite his one miss, the rookie kicker had a solid showing on the day making field goals of 25, 52, 41, 45, and 39 yards.

Grupe’s lone miss was costly. New Orleans settled for a field goal attempt down 10 points with 30 seconds left hoping to convert and try for an onside kick. Grupe missed a 54-yard field goal attempt, and all chances of the already slim comeback went out the window. Although a good performance against Atlanta, the rookie has shown he can’t succeed in high-pressure situations. He missed similar kicks against the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

Down: Health

The Saints came out of the bye with bad news, wide receiver Michael Thomas and cornerback Marshon Lattimore were both headed to the injured reserve. The injury luck didn't get any better after their loss to the Falcons. Wide receivers Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed both left the game with injuries and never returned. New Orleans also lost defensive end Cameron Jordan late in the game and he never returned.

The Saints have been a relatively healthy team through the first 10 weeks of the season, but now as they are entering the most critical stretch of games that will define their season, the injuries start to show up. New Orleans will be without some of their most key players heading into week 13 where they host the Detroit Lions, one of the better teams in the league.

Down: Coaching

Coaching has been poor all season so it's hard to say it could go down, but New Orleans is coming off a bye week and changes were expected to be made. The Saints’ offense has struggled all season to score in the red zone and opposing offenses have been running through the Saints’ defense like its butter. These were the team's biggest issues going into the bye and were the exact reasons they lost against Atlanta. At some point, these issues stop falling on player execution and start falling on poor coaching and adjustments.

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