So there’s been a lot of talk about what we should take away from the Saints loss to the Raiders on MNF. After a dominant performance week 1, the Saints shit the bed in Sin City. And per our usual procedure, the asinine “Drew Brees ain’t that sharp, his time is up” take is recirculating. Needless to say, if you watched that game and claim to know anything about football and the first thing that comes to mind is Drew’s performance, please sit down. There are some glaring holes that I don’t think are getting nearly enough attention.
First: Our Sad Ass Defense
What else is there to say? We sucked. Raiders owned time of possession and we had no answer for Darren Waller. As for the pass rush other than 3 sacks in the first we got dominated in the trenches. We were totally outcoached and couldn’t tackle to save our lives. And to top it all off when it mattered most on third downs the Raiders converted 10 of 17 attempts. But the lack of pressure on the QB was the thing that really stuck out to me.
Getting after the QB
As I said the Saints had 3 sacks but they were all in the first quarter. The first was a designed blitz with Jenkins coming in unblocked for the saints. One of the few plays the old man made all night. The other two came on the last drive of the first quarter and ended in a Raiders touchdown anyway. Trey Hendrickson did play well early on in the game. He recorded 1 sack, 1 other QB hit, and 2 TFL but even he faded as the game went on.
Cam Jordan, Mr. All-Pro was this game’s biggest disappointment by far. Trent Brown was not active nor was his backup Sam Young for this game so he was matched up against the elite Denzelle Good. That’s right he went up against their third-string tackle and didn’t sniff Derek Carr once. No sacks, zero QB hits, not A TFL. Shoulda just stayed home Cam.
Darren Freaking Waller
Let’s talk about this man Darren Waller because as bad as the Saints were covering him lets give the man some credit. He’s very underrated and very athletic for someone his size, 6’6 255lbs with a 4.46 40 time. The bad news for the Saints is there are only two other guys in the league at tight end who is as much of a threat as Waller, Kittle, and Kelce, and lucky for us they’re both on the schedule. The Saints will have to figure out how to guard the tight end eventually because Malcolm Jenkins and Pj Williams ain’t cutting it fellas. Hell, Malcolm got burned by fucking Foster Moreau!
Marcus Williams, who in year 4 is still incapable of making an open-field tackle, is not the answer. He got beat bad by the elusive Zay Jones for Jone’s only catch for a 15 yd touchdown and in my opinion is nowhere near physical enough to cover the tight end. I don’t really have a good answer for this issue. I would’ve liked to see Demario Davis on him more, getting up in his face and fighting with him off the line. Having to do that for an entire game with a guy as athletic as Davis can wear you down but as some people pointed out to me he got beat by Waller early on too. So I have no clue folks lets just hope we don’t catch one of those tight ends in the postseason.
So we started out well scoring on three out of our first four drives. Partly because we were running the ball. You know that thing teams do that Sean Payton says every year he wants to commit to then just forgets exists when we get in any close game. We averaged 5.9 yds per rush and Kamara and Murray only combined for 16 carries! Same ole SP though. And to be fair when your defense spends almost the entire second half on the field and gives up the lead it makes it more difficult to stick with the run so I won’t harp on play calling too much. I will however harp on the pathetic showing by our offensive line last night.
The Battle in the Trenches
Our O-line did not look good down the stretch. You wouldn’t know it from their stat sheets but Maxx Crosby and Jonathan Hankins had themselves a night. They lived in our backfield on passing downs and forced Drew to get rid of the ball quickly often as well as forced multiple penalties by guys like Ryan Ramczyk who did not have a good night. Go ahead and watch my boy Baldy break it down for you here. That is a perfect transition into the Saints biggest problem and that is sloppy ass penalties.
For the second week in a row, the Saints gave up 100+ yards in penalties. Now while the holding call on Jack Rabbit on the deep ball to Ruggs was bad and the blind side penalty on Sanders was even worse, we can’t blame the refs for this. The Saints just played sloppy, that’s all there is to it. Holdings, Illegal hands to the face. Most of the drives the Saints didn’t score we were behind sticks. 100 + yds in penalties is a disgusting number, especially for a professional team.
To put that figure in some context believe it or not the Saints outgained the Raiders in total yardage 424 to 377. Now add the penalty yardage 10-129 by the Saints and 3-13 by the Raiders and that stat looks more like the Raiders 506 yds to the Saints 437 yds. Folks, 129 yds is approximately the distance of two touchdown drives and last I checked Saints lost by two possessions. You can’t win games like that folks.
Look I’d be lying to you if I said Drew had a great game and I cannot tell a lie. They don’t call me “Honest Vathdawg” for nothing. Drew did look inaccurate on multiple throws and did not seem like his usual poised self in the pocket. And his pick before halftime was very not good, an example of him trying to do too much which has been something he’s done his whole career. BUT, y’all knew this was coming, this loss ain’t on Drew. At the end of the day, the Saints still put up 24 points, and Drew posted a 26-38 312yd 1 TD 1 INT stat line. Not pro-bowl numbers but not the stats of a guy that’s washed up.
Also, consider that with Michael Thomas out his number one receiver was Emanuel Sanders who thanks to the lack of preseason only had one game together with Drew and also dropped 2 passes Monday. To add on to that they were playing behind the sticks too often and only got four possessions in the second half. Really three if you consider that the last drive was with a minute left down two scores. So spare me the ignorant, lazy claims from morons like Ryan Clark and fantasy wiz Matthew Berry that Drew’s washed up.
One positive take away from this game is something that I was saying was going to be key with Thomas out, we had a Tre’Quan sighting! That’s right my man Tre’Quan Smith showed up to play and had 5 catches for 86 yds. Now I know what you’re saying, that’s decent but is that performance really anything to write home about. My answer for Tre’Quan, is yes sir. Smith was a reliable second option for Drew at the receiver position. He looked good running with the ball after the catch. He doesn’t have to be a 100 catch 1000 yd receiver to play the role we need. Last night he did just that. If Sanders ever decides to show up he and Tre’Quan will be the perfect complement to Michael Thomas and can really open this offense. So the Saints shit the bed in Sin City but look for a big bounce back on Sunday Night Football.