Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week Five Review: Plucked

Well Dat sucked.

Let's see: reckless quarterbacking, bad coaching, poor time management. Miscommunication. Failure to execute. Sounds like a summary of an LSU win but wait, it's the story of a New Orleans Saints loss.

In a game against an awful opponent, Sean Payton's team once again played up to the level of its competition proving that they could play every bit as terrible as the Arizona Cardinals and then some.

The Cardinal is passerine bird, more commonly known as a songbird, but the ones in the University of Phoenix Stadium proved to be more like raptors forcing four turnovers, which in the end decided the contest.

Sure it's only the 5th game of the season. Sure the Saints have a lot of players hurt. And yes it was very loud in the stadium. But in these past five games I've seen a sputtering offense that has had to rely on a defense playing above their talent.

This is the same kind of play their fans have been subjected to five weeks in a row. I'll become an optimist when I see a different Black and Gold team take the field.
Apparently the boys in Vegas had the Saints sized up just right.

Against one of the worst defenses in the NFL, the Saints racked up a total of 358 yards of offense. And the Cardinals D had the distinction of picking Brees off three times and recovering a Ladell Betts fumble. Considering he was starting the first game of his professional career, rookie quarterback Max Hall performed adequately, completing 17 of 27 passes for 168 yards and one interception.

The one good thing that came out of the game for the Saints was their defense's performance against the run. The Saints held the Cardinals to a grand total of 41 yards on the ground, the area one would have thought Arizona would have victimized the Saints the most.

Special teams coverage was poor as well. Cardinals kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling (what is it with these law firm named players?) had two big returns, one for 60 yards and another for 50 yards.

The defense cannot be blamed for this one as it was the offense that committed suicide by shooting themselves with a gatling gun. The aforementioned three INTs and fumble, the missed field goal, the dropped passes, bad communication on the field, bad clock management and settling for field goals...pardon...field goal attempts in lieu of touchdowns.

And the sad irony is that the Saints had a shot to come back in the final minute of the game thanks to an Arizona mistake. But the Cardinals never really suffered for their errors.

Next Sunday the NFC South's "third team" Black and Gold could dig themselves even deeper when they face divisional rival Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium.

A loss there would give the Saints their second loss in the division and would make snatching a wild card bid their most likely entree into the playoffs.

The S.S. Two Dat is taking on water quick. The Saints need to figure out soon what is holding them back. Judging by the close margins they have managed to eke out wins by, it appears their opponents have.

Note of Recognition: Saints Fans

The Black and Gold faithful showed up in numbers and to their credit stayed to the bitter end of a miserable game at time when being present at University of Phoenix Stadium was like being in the middle of a prison riot in the wrong uniform. Kudos to the Saints fans who made the trip and stood by the team until Brees took the knee.

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