Welcome everyone to the latest edition of #4Downs where I break down the performance of the Saints game by game! This week, I look at the Saints loss to the Chiefs.
1st Down: Penalties Derailed Saints
When you look at the diagram of how to lose games, having double digit penalties has to be in there. The Saints had moments where they looked to begin moving forward, then they go backwards offensively due to delay of game penalties. A veteran quarterback should rarely get delay of game penalties. With around two minutes left, the Chiefs would have had 3rd and 8, but Nick Fairley had a little extracurricular activity that gave them a first down. These were moments that took the game out of the Saints hands and gave the Chiefs a win.
2nd Down: Brees Adds More Milestones
Something about the last few seasons of Drew Brees has been the biggest mixed bag. He’s put up Herculean numbers in the last few seasons and countless records to accompany it. This week was no different with his 100th 300-yard game, the first ever to do it. And this hasn’t changed the end result to games. 7-9 records at the end of the year mean that the team is underperforming, but when you look into the stats and facts, it looks like this team is good. At the end of the day, a lot of these milestones are because of one thing: he has to play from behind and try to get this team another win. If these were two possession games to start the fourth and the defense could do their job, Brees could get this job done and be a great team. In other words, the Saints have wasted Brees the last couple seasons.
3rd Down: Run Game Continues to be Issue
A lot of good teams have that solid balance between run and pass. The Saints don’t have that going at all with 68% of their plays going through the air and 31% on the ground. If you want to succeed in the NFL or any level of play, it needs to be a little closer to 50-50. Ingram fumbling the ball away late doesn’t help matters in terms of confidence in the running game.
4th Down: Offensive Line Bright Spot
It continues to boggle the mind that the Saints were able to go from being a poor O-Line during preseason to a somewhat respectable one. Andrus Peat looks like a different player and the retrun of Terron Armstead from injury really helped keep Brees vertical and give him time to go through his progression and find his guys. But then there’s players like Jahri Evans who crumbled like a piece of paper on some plays and created issues for the Saints veteran quarterback. Overall though, the offensive line’s performance was fantastic and saw only one sack on the day and four hits. Going forward there needs to be a complete effort from all sides of the ball if they want to get out of the 7-9 muck.