The New Orleans Saints lost a shootout to Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins in their home opener. The Saints kept it close down the stretch but ultimately fell short as the Redskins defeated the Saints 40-32.
I think the Saints definitely underestimated Griffin III as he destroyed the Saints for on 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I have to admit I was not expecting this at all from Griffin III and I too am guilty of underestimating the Hesiman Trophy winning quarterback.
Griffin III stunned the Saints in a record-breaking fashion but he was not the only reason the Saints lost this game. The Saints’ defense had no answer at all for Griffin III and they just could not slow him down.
In addition to the Saints’ lackluster defense the ground game also gave them nearly nothing. The Saints only rushed for a total of 32 yards.
The Saints’ secondary was already very thin heading into the week one matchup and as they showed they still have a lot of work to do to master the Steve Spagnuolo system. Furthermore, it did not help that the Saints were without starting cornerback Jabari Greer.
Greer missed the game due to an ongoing groin injury he suffered during the off-season. Then the Saints’ secondary took another hit when cornerback Johnny Patrick injured his knee in the second quarter breaking up a pass and did not return.
However, I do not think having Greer and Patrick for the entire game would have made much of a difference since Griffin III played so well. The Saints’ secondary had no interceptions and did not do a very good job breaking up passes.
Overall the Saints’ defense just did not show up as they gave up a whopping 40 points to an offense run by a rookie quarterback. The Saints were not aggressive enough and did a poor job pressuring Griffin III as they only had three QB hits and one sack.
Despite the horrendous ground attack and two interceptions by Drew Brees the Saints’ offense did a good job of putting points on the board, especially down the stretch. However, the running game needs to help Brees and bring some balance to the offense.
I know the Saints run a pass-heavy offense but rushing for a total of 32 yards is unacceptable for a ground game that features Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, and Pierre Thomas. In Sproles’s defense he did not carry the ball once for the Saints in Sunday’s game.
However, Ingram and Thomas only carried the ball a combined 10 times and were very ineffective. The Saints need to do a better job of establishing a ground game throughout the game and take some pressure off of Brees.
The Saints said they wanted Ingram to be a “200 carry” running back this season and they are going to have to get him the ball more to accomplish that.
The Saints were stunned by Griffin III and it is evident that they will need to plan better and not underestimate their opponents. It was the first game of the season and a very emotional one at that.
Interim coach Aaron Kromer should have the Saints ready for next week and I know the Saints will have a better outing. The Saints will square off against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in week two and this game will be weighted a little more since it is a divisional game.
The Saints will face another young dynamic quarterback in Newton and they will have to plan accordingly. The Saints’ defense will need to contain Newton and keep the ball in Brees’s hands as often as they can. Furthermore, the Saints will need to establish their ground game that was nonexistent in week one.
This first game was a bad showing for the Saints but it was only the first game of the season and the Saints will get it together in week two as they attempt to get back to the Super Bowl this season.