Welcome everyone to another edition of #4Downs! In this edition we break down the Saints loss to the Oakland Raiders.
1st Down: Offensive Line Improves Vastly.
One of the biggest issues heading into this game was the offensive line. It looked like this was going to be another issue after what was seen during the preseason. The performance on the field Sunday looked leaps and bounds better. Brees only got sacked once and hit four times against the Raiders, who have a tough looking front seven highlighted by Khalil Mack and that says a lot about the quality of the play offensively. Also, the setup where Tim Lelito was used on occasion as a third tight end was probably one of the smartest plays that’s been drawn up by the Saints in some time. It really helped keep the veteran quarterback safe and having enough time to find the open man.
2nd Down: Craig Robertson Plays Well, Costs Team Game Late
Craig Robertson looked great on Sunday with two tackles for loss and 11 total tackles on the day. But it was one play that everyone will remember: that fourth down play that set up what would be the game winner. The Saints looked to have shut down the Raiders defense one last time, but a defensive pass interference call would give new life for Derek Carr and his offense. The second Robertson put his hands up on the play, the refs threw the flag. Was the pass catchable? No. Was it a penalty? It didn’t look like it, but the hands up motion drew some attention to the referee who was right there. The crew working this game will receive some notes about this game.
3rd Down: Defensive Wheels Fell Off In Second Half
The Saints looked great defensively in the preseason with new acquisitions like James Laurinaitis, Nick Fairley, and even undrafted free agents in DeVante Harris and Ken Crawley showed signs of brilliance. This defense proved to be strong in the first half allowing only 177 yards off of 26 plays. But in the second half the narrative changed once Delvin Breaux, the big story of the Saints from last year, went down with an injury. According to numerous sources, the injury looks to be a fibula and could sideline Breaux for the rest of the season depending on severity. He did put a message out on Twitter a few hours after the game saying that he would be working to get back out there. Without Breaux, the corners for the Saints have all only played one regular season game in the NFL, so there will be a lot of growing up to do for this secondary.
4th Down: Don’t Hate On Lutz
One of the things I saw on social media was that everyone wanted the new kicker Will Lutz to be let go after one game where he went 2-for-4, even though one of them barely got over the goalpost when a Raider got a hand on it. But the two he missed were from 50 yards and 61 yards. For a rookie who got signed in the last week, the nerves seemed to have gotten to him. All that being said the 61-yarder had the distance, but just went to the left at the most inopportune time. Let him breathe and get the jitters out and you could see a future star kicker. At first, it confused me how the Saints let Connor Barth and Kai Forbath, but what I’ve seen from the former Georgia State kicker shows why Sean Payton has touted him so heavily.