The New Orleans Saints were able to come away with a victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon, but it very well could have ended up the other way around. Tampa Bay started a drive up 14-13 with 6:56 left in the fourth quarter on their own 14-yard line and were able to drive to the New Orleans’ 29 yard line to attempt a 47-yard field goal. The kick was ultimately no good as it went wide left, leaving Drew Brees and his offensive unit 1:06 on the clock to work with.
Brees and company went to work and drove down the field to set up a game-winning field goal to win the game as time expired, but this all could have been avoided with an improved running game.
In the second quarter, New Orleans made it all the way to the Tampa Bay one-yard line and attempted to run it in with Mark Ingram on fourth down but was stopped. That’s an opportunity that New Orleans just cannot give up and cannot allow to continue. Against the Buccaneers, the Saints’ three-headed running attack, with Ingram, Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas, was limited to 20 rushing attempts and only 75 yards with no touchdowns.
Thomas had 29 yards on five carries for an average of 5.8 yards per carry, but it was Ingram again who just couldn’t be productive out of the backfield. Ingram gained 20 yards on eight attempts for an average of 2.8 yards per carry. The Saints now have a grand total of 153 rushing yards in their two games this season. This is something that cannot continue if New Orleans wants to be competitive as the season plays out.
The Saints won’t need a spectacular, run-heavy offense like say, the Minnesota Vikings and Adrian Peterson, but it would be nice if their three backs could put up at least 100 rushing yards between them in a game. That would compliment the passing game well and would force defenses to think twice about forgetting the running game and defending only the passing attack.
New Orleans will get a chance to improve their running game next week at home against the Arizona Cardinals. Hopefully they’ll break 100 rushing yards for the first time this season.