Welcome everyone to another edition of #4Downs!
1st Down: Methodical Offense
Looking at the stats, the Saints controlled the time of possession, having the ball for 37:14 as opposed to the Bucs 22:46. And every scoring possession for the Saints consisted of at least 10 plays and lasted at least four and a half minutes. This is how the Saints should have been playing. Keep the defense off the field as much as you can.
2nd Down: Defensive Penalties Continue to be a problem
The Saints defense has been an issue all year long, and the penalties continue to be an issue. Five of the Buccaneers first downs were off of penalties. Four of those were all on one drive. And let’s not even bring up Brandon Browner who had probably his best game as a Saint, but tied the all-time record for penalties in a single season. This has been the crutch for this Saints defense and there may be a huge turnover in terms of defensive players being off the team after the season.
3rd Down: Proficient play on 3rd Down
The Saints controlling the time of possession battle was thanks to converting third downs. New Orleans converted 12 of 17 on the afternoon. Only three of those third downs on scoring drives were more than five yards, meaning that the Saints were able to get into third downs that were manageable. The defense wasn’t too shabby either on third down only allowing the Bucs to convert four of 11 third down plays.
4th Down: Best All-Around Performance of Season?
A lot of the beat writers are saying that this was the best all-around performance of the season. It’s a solid debate, and I have to agree with it. The Saints played extremely well, controlled the clock, and didn’t do anything too boneheaded. They played like a team that isn’t 4-8. They played like a team that is fighting for their jobs right now.