The New Orleans Saints got more than they bargained for in their Week 9 match-up against the New York Jets, coming out of Met Life Stadium 6-2 on the season after their 26-17 loss. Some might say it was the colder, windy weather that did them in. Others might say losing veteran Darren Sproles and having Marques Colston inactive may have left them a little thin on offense, especially since Jimmy Graham is still working through his foot injury.
There were plenty of mistakes from the team as a whole, including penalties, balls that should have been caught and a porous run defense, but I think perhaps the biggest culprit was some of the fourth quarter play-calling.
Down by two scores with just under eight minutes to play in regulation, the Saints were in Jets territory and were driving for a score. On third-and-inches Drew Brees dropped back and tried to pick up the first down with a short pass to fullback Jed Collins. Collins would have had the first down and a little more, but he dropped the ball.
On fourth-and-inches New Orleans ran a reverse, but it was quickly picked up and Josh Hill was tackled for a loss to give the ball back to New York.
This was just painful to watch, and I was none too happy with the play-calling. The Saints could have had Brees do a quarterback sneak or a fullback rush or even send one of their other backs straight up the middle with a hefty push from the offensive line. The New Orleans run game this season is not very good, but surely it could have gotten a couple of inches for a crucial first down late in the game.
I have said it before, but without an average running game to complement their explosive passing attack, the Saints may have some serious problems in the future. Having to constantly rely on the passing game makes them one-dimensional.