Despite a gut wrenching 30-27 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon, there were small signs of life for the New Orleans Saints‘ running game. Not including quarterback Drew Brees‘ two rushes for 11-yards, Saints running backs were able to rush for 120 yards on 24 carries for a five YPC average.
First-year running back Khiry Robinson showed excellent signs of progress, leading the team with 53-yards on seven carries for a 7.6 YPC average and one touchdown. Veteran back Pierre Thomas contributed 51 yards on 11 carries for a 4.6 YPC average and did not find the end zone.
Since the season began, I have long been calling for better quality in the running game, and tonight I feel like I got it for the first time. Well, at least somewhat, anyway. I was not very happy with the conservative run game play-calling after New Orleans intercepted Tom Brady in the fourth quarter with less than three minutes to play, but I will take what I can get at this point.
After that interception, the Saints called two back-to-back running plays for a total of three yards. On third down following those two plays, Brees tried to scramble out to the left side of the line but was tackled for a five-yard loss, and the rest is history.
New Orleans’ running game was mostly good on the evening, and I cannot wait to see more of the young Robinson as the goes on. Running back Travaris Cadet was also able to snag a touchdown pass late in the first quarter from three yards out.
I have no doubt that Sean Payton will take the upcoming bye week to assess the team, its weaknesses and its strengths, and come out strong in Week 8 at home against the Buffalo Bills.