Coming in to Gillette Stadium to square off against the New England Patriots in Week 6, the New Orleans Saints‘ offense would have hardly been considered a liability. After the late afternoon game was over and the Saints fell to 5-1, however, I think it was the offense that deserves a lot of the blame for their Sunday loss.
Yes, the defense gave up 376 yards of total offense and a last-second touchdown pass from Tom Brady, but that was hardly the reason for New Orleans’ first loss of the season.
The Saints struggled on offense all afternoon and could not really get themselves into a groove. Shockingly, star tight end Jimmy Graham was held to zero catches and suffered an injury to an ankle late in the fourth quarter. None of the other Saints offensive players really stepped up in the game either.
Saints rookie receiver Kenny Stills did make a go-ahead touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter, but other than that, the rest of New Orleans’ receivers did not look all that great. Veteran Robert Meachem dropped his only target of the night and fellow veteran Marques Colston limited to one catch for 11 yards on three targets.
Although New Orleans’ running game did look better this week with 50-plus yards from running backs Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson as well as a touchdown catch from Travaris Cadet, it was a reliance on the running game late in the fourth quarter that I believe helped seal the game against New Orleans’ favor.
After a Keenan Lewis interception late in the fourth quarter with under three minutes to play, I think that the offensive play calls were far too conservative and allowed the Patriots to drive for their game-winning score after the Saints punted.
Two straight running plays were buttressed by a third-down passing play that resulted in a loss of yardage as Drew Brees scrambled out of the pocket, but he was tripped up by a New England defender. That led to the game-winning drive by Brady and the Patriots. I just expected better from head coach Sean Payton.
All in all, that the Saints punted six times and turned the ball over twice on offense are the real reason New Orleans got their first loss of the season.