Welcome everyone to the latest edition of #4Downs where I break down what went right and what went wrong for the New Orleans Saints! This week, I look at the Saints loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
1st Down: Offense Stymied Without Kamara
The offense was firing on all cylinders on the opening drive and it was beginning to look like the Saints were going to score at will much like they’ve done all season. However, the offense lost their star player in Alvin Kamara after he got rocked by Deion Jones for a loss. He left the game with a concussion and that wound up forcing the offense to air it out a lot more.
Even with a low-scoring contest, the balance that was there all season between run and pass was gone and that was a key reason why Brees threw a costly interception in the final moments. Hopefully Kamara will be back on the 17th when the Saints host the Jets, but it’s all about his health going forward and if he has to miss one game, it should be okay.
2nd Down: Defense Creates Opportunities
The defense had some stumbles in the loss, but they were able to make some solid plays to create some opportunities. Just look at the interception by Marshon Lattimore at end of the first half. It could’ve set up a field goal to turn the tide, but we all know how that went with the illegal formation call.
They wound up having two interceptions on two straight drives with one leading to a touchdown to take the lead. That last interception was an issue though as the Saints attempted to return the pick that was caught in the endzone. Could’ve had the ball at the 20, but were back at their own five-yard line. It was a decision that hurt them in the long run because they were unable to get points off the big turnover that stopped the Falcons dead in their tracks.
3rd Down: Penalties Kill
The penalties had to be the most frustrating part of the loss on Thursday night with a total of 11 penalties being called for 87 yards. If that wasn’t frustrating enough, nine of those gave the Falcons a first down.
Were there some questionable calls? Of course, but you can’t hit reset on a live ballgame and the Saints wound being on the wrong side of a lot of those penalties. That’s how tight divisional games like this one are won and lost.
4th Down: Is It Time to End Thursday Night Football?
Look at what happened a few weeks ago with Kam Chancellor during a Thursday night game. Then take a look at the injury report after the game. You had AJ Klein, Senio Kelemente, Trey Hendrickson, Kamara, and others all leave the game with injuries.
It’s a safety hazard to have these kind of ballgames on such short rest. You hardly ever see a starting pitcher in baseball go on four days rest during the regular season, so why should it be a thing in a hard-hitting sport like pro football? Roger Goodell needs to seriously consider either getting rid of it entirely or making slight alterations to it in order to make it better for both teams.