I'll spare you the suspense and make you aware right away that Drew Brees will be getting an F in the player grades. The defense on the other hand played out of their minds. What an insane development that the defense would turn in by far their best performance of the year on a night when Drew Brees would play the worst football of his career. Then again, the football gods (and commissioners) were against the Saints from the get go in 2012 and it just wasn't meant to be. The Falcons finished with just 284 yards, which has to be at least 150 yards less than any other output against the Saints' defense this year, Brees threw 5 interceptions, and his record touchdown streak was snapped. It felt like opposite day. Just a weird game. Here are some bullets below.
- I don't think Zach Strief was ready to play in this game. He was slow and played miserably at right tackle. That said, I'm not sure the alternative was much better. Hopefully he's good to go in 10 more days.
- I actually think scoring 0 points on that final drive of the half due to insanely poor clock management was worse than any turnover by Drew Brees. How he mismanaged that situation is just shocking. Words can't do justice just how inexcusable that was. The Saints had the ball inside the 10 with about a minute left and just let the clock run out on them. I have never seen a professional team play that stupidly.
- Nice to see the Saints commit almost exclusively to Pierre Thomas. It worked. From here on out I only want to see him or Chris Ivory running the football.
- Jimmy Graham didn't have horrendous drops, but he seems out of it. He jogs on routes, gets zero separation, doesn't break tackles, and doesn't catch contested balls. What's happened to him? Major regression this year.
- Great to see Garrett Hartley nail that 52 yard bomb. Impressive kick.
- Travaris Cadet tried to take out just about every kickoff and never got to the 20. Just miserable.
- The Saints remained in this game despite horrendous offense because the defense held Atlanta to 1 for 11 on 3rd down. Shocking.
- I for one am shocked the Falcons didn't run the ball EVERY PLAY after that first drive. They passed way too much given how effective they were running the ball. Poor play calling there. They threw 33 times and ran 23. They averaged 5.4 per run and 4.8 per pass!
I don't really have much else to say besides the fact that this one really hurts. I remained in denial that we would own Atlanta, yet again, and Drew Brees just didn't show up. The season effectively went up in smoke with him, and now we have to hope for 4 straight wins and some help to sneak in. That's just not going to happen, and in fact I'm very much expecting a loss to the Giants next week in New York. I don't really care about Brees' streak because he already got the record and, frankly, I only cared about the win. It does suck to lose it against Atlanta, though. From here on out the only thing I hope to get out of this season is the Falcons not playing a Super Bowl in New Orleans. So I'll be rooting against that above all else.