Photo by: USA Today
After the Saints dropped an unexpected loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football, some are wondering if there’s now a blueprint to stopping the Saints offense (and consequently LA and Kansas City’s as well).
Look, if you want to follow that blueprint I’ll lay it out for you.
Control time of possession.
Get out to a quick lead to compensate for getting wrecked in the second half.
Wait for Drew Brees and Sean Payton to compile one of their worst performances ever.
Get some friendly officiating.
Give the Saints offense the ball at the end of the game with a 3-point lead and cross your fingers.
Go for it. Because 9 times out of 10, your 5th step is going to backfire and your 3rd won’t come to fruition at all.
It’s entirely unreasonable to expect the Saints to score 40+ points a game, sure. But it’s equally unrealistic to believe that the “performance” we all saw against the Cowboys is the new state of the Saints offense. I agree, that for the rest of this season we’ll be seeing a new New Orleans Saints team, but I don’t think it’s going to be one opponents will enjoy having to take on.
The Saints offense played one of its most conservative games of the season in terms of playcalling. Going for it on 4th and goal within the five on an early possession isn’t particularly conservative, but the play call of a power run up the left guard/center from the shotgun certainly is. Kamara actually had a hole between Peat and Bushrod, but Leighton Vander Esch happened to peek his head in right at the exchange point, so Kamara tried to take it back inside where there was another sliver that just never developed as Demarcus Lawrence got around the edge. Don’t expect Kamara to spend the next four week plus postseason not finding a way into the endzone.
As I have said and will keep saying, the Saints had to play their worst offensive games in order to lose by 3 points on the road. They’ll be fueled by this much like they were fueled after scoring 40 in a loss week 1, they’re only previous one. I had expected the Saints to lose to either the Panthers in Week 15 or the Steelers in Week 16. Now, I’m not so sure they don’t just run the table if they’re frustrated enough and plan to keep pace with Los Angeles.
I think for anyone that’s left to play the Saints, they’d do best to get ready for an absolute bomb to drop in the stadium when New Orleans takes the field. Look for the Saints to put together the outstanding defensive performance we witnessed in Dallas with the offense rebounding to it’s LA/Cincy/Philly rhythm. Keep in mind that the only time the Saints performed as bad as they did in Dallas was against the Seahawks in 2013. They won the following game against the Panthers 31-13 behind 313 yards passing and 4 touchdowns from Drew Brees. In fact, Brees averages over 300 yards and 2.5 touchdowns in regular season games following a loss in which he’s thrown for under 200 yards with an interception. Look out Tampa.
We Saw the Saints’ offensive version of Bruce Banner Week 13. For the rest of the season, they’re poised to Hulk out.
Follow Ross on Twitter @RossJacksonASC