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Can't Miss Slants

Saints Fall To Broncos 25 – 23

Broncos edge Saints

 

The Saints were looking to go above .500 for the first time this season and hopefully start to make some noise in the division.  Alas, costly mistakes and a stout Denver defense had other plans.  For a change of pace, the New Orleans defense out played the New Orleans offense.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Brees was Brees, completing 21 of 29 passes (72.4%) for 303 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs.  One of the two picks was a deflection off of the receiver’s hands and even though it goes on Brees’ stat sheet, it can hardly be blamed on him.  If we needed further proof that ESPN’s ‘Total Quarterback Rating’ is a bad way to measure a QB, Trevor Siemian had a higher rating than Brees (76.2 to 75.4) even though he had less yards (258), fewer TDs (2), a lower completion percentage (62.5), fewer rushing yards (5-9), was sacked more times (6-1) and the same amount of INTs (2).  While the old QBR may not be perfect, it did have Brees at a 111.7 to Siemian’s 76.9.  The running game was sluggish, but Mark Ingram’s 4.5 ypc was enough to keep Denver honest and had a lot to do with Brees staying upright most of the game.  I know this was the Denver offense and they are middle of the road in most offensive categories, but the Saints’ defense put in another solid performance, holding the Broncos to a total of 361 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.  They were in Siemian’s face all game, sacked him six times and picked him off twice.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Turnovers, plain and simple.  A pick thrown by Brees, a deflection off of Snead’s hands resulting in a pick and two fumbles by rookie WR Michael Thomas did more to do the Saints in than any blocked XP were the defender may or may not have stepped out of bounds while returning it.  This is the third loss for the Saints this season in which turnovers have probably cost them the win.  New Orleans is still +2 in the turnover category, but where real estate is reliant on location, turnovers are all about timing.  The two fumbles by Thomas were extremely costly; not because they led to Denver points, but because they both stopped 4th quarter drives.  While the defense is continuing to improve week after week, giving up less than their average in both points and yards this game, getting off the field on third down is a problem.  Offensively, the Saints were at 44.4% converting third downs, which is slightly below their league leading 52.4%, but still very respectable.  Defensively is another story.  The Saints allowed Denver to convert 11 of 19 (57.9%) third downs with most of them needing more than 5 yards for the conversion.  This will increase their already 9th worst 42.2% defensive third down conversion percentage.

GOING FORWARD

New Orleans will visit Carolina on Thursday for a game that should help with your insomnia.  The Panthers will no doubt be looking for revenge after losing to the Saints earlier this year in New Orleans, but will that make it an exciting game?  Probably not, but we will all watch because there should be plenty of LOL’s to go around.

SIDE NOTE

New Orleans Saints’ first round draft pick Sheldon Rankins got his first NFL sack in this game against the Broncos.  I hear that he will be getting fitted for his Hall of Fame jacket sometime this week.