5 Reasons New Orleans Saints Lost to New England Patriots
The New Orleans Saints lost to the New England Patriots. Five Reasons Why
New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s demoralized expression Sunday on the visitor’s sideline was telling. Ryan watched in agony his defense surrender a 70-yard game-winning touchdown drive to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady proved once again why he's one of the game’s best quarterback’s, and that it’s ill-advised to give him time on the game clock, because he will capitalize.
The Saints defense played well most of the game containing Brady. He was sacked five times, and intercepted once. In the end, the Saints defensive effort was overshadowed by Brady's clutch touchdown pass to receiver Kembrell Thompkins.
New Orleans was down by as many as 10 points, but rallied to take the lead late in the fourth quarter on a 34-yard touchdown pass by Saints quarterback Drew Brees to rookie Kenny Stills. Brees didn’t have the luxury of utilizing tight end Jimmy Graham. Graham was shut down by the Patriots defense.
The Saints had a chance to keep Brady on the sidelines by gaining one first down, which would have ended the game because the Patriots were out of timeouts. Late game clock management, and a questionable play call by Saints head coach Sean Payton contributed to the loss. It’s blasphemous to question a decision by Payton, who is the best play caller in the league, but it’s worth revisiting.
After two consecutive run plays, Payton decided to call a bootleg with Drew Brees, which was snuffed out by Patriots defender Chandler Jones. Brees will never be confused with Cam Newton, or Robert Griffin III in terms of elusiveness. I understand the logic of putting the ball in Brees’ hands, but give him the option to pass also if the run isn’t there.
Ultimately, it was Brady’s late game excellence which was the Saints death knell. The loss definitely stings, but this team is 5-1, and should feel good heading into the bye week. Don’t expect this loss to linger throughout the season, because Payton and Brees are too great as leaders to allow it to happen.
New Orleans is still one of the best teams in the league, and this loss is an aberration.
5) Sean Payton's Late Game Clock Management, and Third-Down Call
Sean Payton is a great coach, and the best play caller in the league. However, his mismanagement of the play clock late in the fourth quarter, combined with the third down play call contributed to the loss. Payton was right to put the ball in the hands of his best player, but if Brees had the option to pass or run off the bootleg, the Saints get a first down, run the clock out, and win.
4) The Saints Secondary Mistake: Jabari Greer Didn't Protect the End Zone
The Saints secondary played well for most of the game, except the final drive. One reason was the miscommunication between defenders Raphael Bush and Jabari Greer. Greer let wide receiver Kembrell Thompkins get behind him expecting safety help from Bush. Greer's a good corner, but should have jammed Thompkins at the line of scrimmage, to keep him out of the end zone.
3) Bill Belichick's Masterful Game Plan to Neutralize Saints Offense
Bill Belichick created an outstanding game plan to curtail the Saints big plays. One way he did this was taking away one of the Saints biggest weapons, tight end Jimmy Graham, who was held without a reception. Belichick is a guru at taking away what a team does best, and Graham's ineffectiveness hindered the productivity of Drew Brees and the offense.
2) The New England Patriots Defense Frustrating Drew Brees
The Patriots defense disrupted Drew Brees' timing all game, and stymied the offense.
1) Tom Brady's Greatness
Tom Brady displayed once again why he's a future hall of famer. The Saints defense held him in check for 59 minutes. Inexplicably, the defense took their foot off the gas, and Brady torched them with a great throw. Here's a public service announcement to New Orleans. You can't give Brady any time to work with, he will rip your heart out!