Saints vs. Falcons meeting 1: Observations
Wow! These two teams routinely put on exciting games that often go down to the wire. Today’s 43-37 win by the Saints was no exception. Let’s take a look at some observations from this barn burner:
-Drew Brees is now the NFL’s career pass completions leader. He did it in typical Brees fashion on a short curl route to Michael Thomas. He ate the Falcons up on the short and intermediate routes as he’s very adept with throwing the ball into pinhole-sized openings for completions. His best play of the game was his game-tying touchdown run with just over a minute left in regulation.
-Saints took advantage of a blocked punt mid way through the third quarter to go ahead 23-21 on a Brees to Cameron Meredith touchdown pass. Creating turnovers and scoring off them has been a recipe for success for the Saints whenever they’ve been contenders. Basic football math: more possessions= more chances= more points.
-The Saints racked up 534 total yards of offense. Sure the Falcons were missing several key defenders, but to take advantage of it with that many yards and 43 points in a back and forth affair was amazing.
-With the ball inside the 10 yard line up 10-7, the Saints had to settle for a field goal because of compound penalties. A holding call, followed by a false start pushed them out of the red zone. Seeing tons of teams this year shoot themselves with compound penalties. *(I’m going to poor-man copyright that phrase. No Stealing!)
-The defense continues to give up points and yards at an alarming rate. In fact, 407 yards and 37 points is enough to get you blown out of most games. What happens when this team runs up against the teams with an equally good defense? Shootouts aren’t a recipe for playoff success, much less making the playoffs.
-Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas accounted for 317 of the 534 yards the Saints had. Relying on these two young studs so heavily so early in the season will get them banged up. Mark Ingram can’t come back soon enough. Sure the records are nice, but if this team wants to keep these guys around long term, they’re going to have to spread the ball around more.
-PJ Williams gave up a 75-yard touchdown to Falcons rookie Calvin Ridley a few minutes before the half. He was badly beaten in man coverage deep, the same reason he started in place of Ken Crawley. Ridley burned the Saints for three touchdowns and 147 yards on seven catches.
-Speaking of Williams and Crawley, they’ve both been picked on this season, but so has defending defensive rookie of the year Marshon Lattimore. The Saints secondary was a strength last year and has been their biggest weakness thus far.
-11 penalties for 120 yards showed this team played with poor discipline. Perhaps none was more damming than David Onyemata’s penalty on the Falcons’ field goal attempt that gave them a first down. The Falcons flipped that into a touchdown and two-point conversion giving them a 37-30 lead.
Division rivalry games are always tough. Sometimes, they get a little personal. This rivalry gets very personal. The opposing fan bases get downright nasty with each other (shot out to the Facebook sports group “NFC SOUTH – FYT Trash Talk Petty 24/7”). I’m sure this win by the Saints will do absolutely nothing to change that. Although the Saints are 2-1, they have lots of issues to work out moving forward. They need to count their lucky stars they aren’t 0-3 right now.