For the second consecutive game, the New Orleans Saints found themselves trailing by double-digits in the fourth quarter.
For the second consecutive game, the Saints rallied and put themselves in position to win.
And, for the second consecutive game, the Saints came up short.
When Trevor Siemian’s two-point conversion attempt to Mark Ingram fell incomplete with 1:16 remaining, all hopes for stealing a win on the road were dashed.
The Saints have failed on three two-point conversions over the last two weeks, and another familiar problem cropped up as well.
Brian Johnson, the fourth kicker for New Orleans this season, missed a pair of extra points, ultimately forcing the Saints to go for two on their final possession.
Trevor Siemian passed for 298 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Deonte Harris led the Saints with 84 receiving yards, as seven different players had at least one catch on the afternoon.
After falling behind 3-0, the Saints picked up their first points when Siemian found Tre’Quan Smith for an 11 yard touchdown; his first TD reception of the season.
Johnson’s first missed extra point, kept the lead at 6-3.
The Titans would bounce back with a pair of scores before the half. Randy Bullock booted a 36-yard field goal immediately following the Saints’ score.
Quarter back Ryan Tannehill then punched it in from one yard out to put Tennessee up 13-6 at the half.
The start of the second half saw the Titans extend their run to 17 unanswered points when Tannehill found MyCole Pruitt for a two-yard score as Tennessee went up 20-6.
New Orleans was able to cut the lead to eight following an 11-play, 87 yard drive that was capped by a 13 yard rushing touchdown from Mark Ingram II.
With that carry, Ingram passed Deuce McAllister to become the Saints’ leader in career rushing yards with the team. However, he and the rest of the New Orleans ground attack were largely held in check, putting the weight on Siemian’s shoulders.
The teams swapped field goals in the fourth quarter, leaving the Saints down eight with 3:34 to play.
Siemian went 4-6 for 59 yards on a drive that covered 71 yards in just over two minutes.
His last play of the drive was a beautiful 15-yard strike to Marquez Callaway that set up the two point attempt.
The defense did an admirable job against the Titans, limiting Tennessee to 264 yards of total offense (66 rushing), but the pass rush yielded only two sacks.
But it wasn’t enough for an offense that failed to score at least 24 points for the fourth time in nine games. The Saints were held to 24 or less four times during the entire 2020 season.
With major contributors missing every week, including five starters against the Titans, the talent deficiency is understandable. What is harder to comprehend are the mental mistakes that continue to plague the team in critical situations.
The Saints were called for nine penalties that cost them 65 yards, with Adam Trautman’s false start making the two point try even more difficult.
Without so many weapons available the Saints don’t have a margin of error wide enough to afford those types of miscues.
It’s a certainty that Sean Payton will be putting plenty of emphasis on playing smarter, cleaner football.
Finding the fifth kicker of the season may also be on his to-do list.
Whatever the issues, the Saints will have to pull it together before heading to the northeast to face the Philadelphia Eagles.