Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wild Card Review: Dat's Over

Another loss to feathered fiends.

The defending world champion New Orleans Saints concluded their drive for a "Two Dat" losing to the NFL's first division winner with a losing regular season record, despite the visiting Black and Gold being a heavy favorite.

The game in a lot of ways was a microcosm of the entire season: injuries, a battered running game and poor play by the offensive line. The only thing that was different was an atrocious performance by the Saints defense, which generally bailed out the team's struggling offense during the season and was expected to be the difference maker.

Seattle's 41 points represented the most the Saints' defense surrendered all season and the most the Seahawks' 23rd ranked offense scored all season long.

The loss marks for the Saints their fourth straight conference road playoff game, having never won one.

Give the Seahawks and their "12th Man" (the rowdy loud louts in the stands) credit for retrofitting what had been up until Seattle won had been an ignominious entry into the post-season.

Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck once again had a big day against the Saints' defense, but on this occasion in a successful effort. Hasselbeck completed 22 of 35 passing attempts for 272 yards, including several key indefensible passes perfectly in front of his receivers, for four touchdowns and a pick.

And just when it looked like the Saints were rallying, running back Marshawn Lynch earned his place in not only this week's highlight reel but perhaps an ESPY for his “back and tackle” breaking 67-yard touchdown run that extinguished the Saints' hopes of retaking the lead.

I suspect some of those "broken tackles" were rooted in the defense’s attempts to knock the ball out Lynch's hands once he had picked up the first down, though tackling wasn't just a problem on Lynch's big run but throughout the game.

Strong safety Roman Harper had what might have been the worst game of his career, being burned by the Seattle passing game for big plays, especially a possum play by Seattle’s tight end. Cornerback Jabari Greer joined Harper on having an uncharacteristically awful day. As for 2010 first round draft Patrick Robinson, Saturday was more the rule than the exception as the young cornerback continued to struggle to make a substantial contribution to the team and justify the substantial investment by the Saints’ front office thus far.

Drew Brees's "bodyguards" failed to protect the number Nine and didn't buy him the time he needed to keep the offense, which was once against riding disproportionately on his shoulders, on the field. The targets of his passes didn’t help Brees either, as there were a few dropped balls, including what would have been a certain touchdown catch by running back Reggie Bush.

No comments:

Post a Comment