Saints Nation: Saints Fall Flat in Season Opener, Lose 32-40 to Redskins

I’m going to keep this short and sweet because I’ve already done this write up once and somehow lost everything when my Safari browser decided to crash. Awesome. As if I wanted to write about this game again. In short: it sucked. The penalties thing is less concerning to me because I firmly believe that can be cleaned up pretty easily and I think the Saints have good maturity and work ethic on their team. What’s more concerning is how bad the defense looked against a team devoid of playmakers and a rookie quarterback making his first career start. Here’s my recap below in bullet points.

  • The Saints were penalized 12 times. They were completely out of character, undisciplined and not professional. At home, no less, where they destroyed all opponents with ease last year on their way to an 8-0 record. I perhaps underestimated how tough missing Sean Payton and Joe Vitt would be. The Saints didn’t look prepared at all for this game. Mike Shanahan ate Aaron Kromer’s lunch. Not a good debut for the Saints interim to the interim head coach.
  • The defense was horrible. RG3 had his coming out party on week 1 as a rookie and carved up the Saints at will. He did pretty much whatever he wanted to the Saints’ defense. 
  • One of the few times the Saints did stop the Redskins, Patrick Robinson decided to loaf around and trot off the field and couldn’t get off the field when the Redskins snapped to punt. That turned a 4th and 5 into a first down. That mistake is unforgivable. It’s a good thing I don’t coach the Saints because I would cut Robinson on the spot for a mistake that idiotic. 
  • The Saints ran the ball 10 times and threw 52 times. I realized part of that was because they were playing from behind, and part of that was atrocious down/distances due to penalties, but that kind of lack of balance is ridiculous. The Redskins, by comparison, ran 44 times and threw 26. And despite the Saints throwing twice as much as the Redskins, the Redskins only threw for 15 yards less. The passing game tends to be more efficient when it’s not obviously coming on every single play.
  • The big back breaking moment of the game was a 4th and one where the Redskins went for it and decided to throw a bomb to the end zone. Roman Harper turned to the ball and batted it away and was called for pass interference. That turned a Saints first down into 7 free points for Washington. The Saints get that stop and who knows what happens. The call was weak. There was contact but a poor judgment call in my opinion. 
  • Some positives: Cam Jordan is incredible against the run and led the team with 11 tackles, Martez Wilson’s punt block and Courtney Roby’s scoop score was reminiscent of Steve Gleason. So cool to see. Thomas Morstead was booming punts big time. The defense did a decent job against the run.
  • The offensive line played atrocious. They were flagged constantly and poor in pass protection. Brees was hurried a lot more than usual. 
  • Joe Morgan was a complete liability out there. He couldn’t get separation, ran poor routes and couldn’t catch.
  • Marques Colston wasn’t himself. He dropped two very catchable balls for him and had a fumble. He seemed gun shy and a little hesitant to attack the football out there. I don’t know if his timing is off from missing practice all week or what? But he seemed out of sorts and off to me.
  • The Saints had three injuries that I noticed: Scott Shanle hurt his leg, which was too bad because he was playing well before he went out, Johnny Patrick seemed to re-injure his knee which is tough because the Saints are already missing Jabari Greer, and Devery Henderson was knocked out cold on a helmet to helmet hit. Hopefully we can get those guys back soon.
  • The Saints’ pass rush was abysmal, and the coverage was worse. You get the idea, I’m not going to belabor the point. But I will say this: it reminded me of the 49ers game, and if the defense keeps playing like this it’s going to give the offense an extremely small margin of error to win games. I would like to see Martez Wilson and Junior Galette in more often to possibly help pass rushing.
  • I’m starting to lose faith in Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper on the back end. They are just not impressive in passing situations, almost ever.
  • Corey White started for Greer, who was out, and the rookie from Samford was a mixed bag. He did some nice things but also lost receivers and was beat badly a couple of times.
  • It’s kind of shocking that as bad as this game was and as poor as the Saints performed, they were within a hail mary of making it to overtime. My apologies for being so negative but it really was a sloppy game and having to write this review twice adds to frustration.

The good news is this is just one game and the Saints get to play again next Sunday at Carolina. Hopefully they can rebound with a divisional win.

 

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

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