Saints Lose a Heartbreaker to Cardinals 30-20

In a game in which many had already counted in favor of the Saints, the black and gold come up short out west in the desert. For the fifth game in a row, Saints fans are left scratching their heads and wondering what has happened to the Saints offense.

This game was marred by turnovers from the start, although things started out pretty encouraging for the Saints in that department. Jabari Greer intercepted Max Hall’s second pass on the Cardinals’ opening possession and returned it for 26 yards, but our offense was only able to get three points out of it when John Carney kicked a 31-yard field goal. Their sloppy, sluggish performance only went downhill from there. After jumping out to an early 10-0 lead, the offense went virtually stagnant.

Drew Brees made poor decisions and poor throws all afternoon long, something that we’re definitely not used to seeing from him. At the Saints 1-yard line, he rushed an ill-advised checkdown pass to Ladell Betts which deflected off the running back’s hands for an interception by the Cardinals’ Paris Lenon. Soon after, they scored a touchdown on one of the freakiest plays ever when on 3rd and 1, Max Hall fumbled the ball after having the wood laid down on him; LT Levi Brown scooped up the ball and ran it into the endzone to tie the game up at 10. Talk about a momentum smasher! The Saints first half ended uneventfully with a slight 13-10 lead.

I kept waiting for the second half to swing back in New Orleans’ direction, but it never happened. The Cardinals 29th ranked defense forced them to a three-and-out on their first possession after halftime. Penalties, turnovers, and lack of success on offense finished them off.

When I watched this game, I was uneasy at how little Sean Payton ran the ball at times. The team had much better success when there was balance rather than having Brees trying to throw on every play. It wasn’t as if there was no success with the running game. Minus the fumble by Betts, the duo of he and Chris Ivory ran very impressively. Let’s face it–the Saints clearly are not designed to be one-dimensional. They have a definite need to be able to run and throw if they are going to be successful. I’m also left wondering what has happened to the screen, which is an extension of the run. I know with Pierre Thomas out, the dynamics are changed drastically, but you’ve got to think that at some point Payton is going to have to find a way to reinsert that play into the offense. 

As I read comments from Saints fans, I notice a lot of disillusionment and disappointment.  I’m disappointed too.  But Saints fans, we’ve got to remember that regardless of what a lot of t-shirts say, Drew Brees is not Jesus and there was no miracle for the Saints today.  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times–somehow our offense has lost its confidence.  I don’t know why and I don’t know how.  But I don’t notice the same fire in them as I see on the defensive side of the ball.  I wish Payton would just get back to playing Saints football and stop worrying about not sneaking up on teams this year (as the analysts and commentators call it).  It’s not about those teams; it’s about the Saints remembering what made them successful.  Instead of trying to get away from what worked so well for them and trying to win in new ways, they’re going to have to embrace their former success and build on it rather than try to shed it.  Each team has its own identity, it’s own unique style of play.  Coach Payton, I appeal to you to stop this campaign of absolute newness.  It’s okay to tweak some things, but the Saints have to play their style of football.  You still have very loyal fans who believe in the team wholeheartedly.  It’s time you guys start back to believing in yourselves.  This game wasn’t an upset–it was a wake-up call!  It’s time to straighten this thing up.  The Saints are too talented to be lagging in this way.

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9 Responses to “Saints Lose a Heartbreaker to Cardinals 30-20”

  1. Rhonda says:

    I was extremely disappointed with the game overall. There were some good plays made, but it wasn’t enough for a win. I love the Saints and support them 100%, but I hope that they are able to learn from the mistakes made today and move forward into the season with wins.

    • Thanks so much Rhonda for your comment. It’s good to see that although you’re disappointed, you still believe that the Saints can get back on track. I absolutely agree. I see no reason why they can’t get this thing fixed. What I think is wrong is that they’re so worried about trying to win in a different way than they did last year that they’ve totally abandoned their gameplan. That’s the one thing they should never do. Do you remember how disastrous the 2007 season started out after they “buried” their success from 2006? It’s the same idea here but without the “funeral”. They’ve lost their identity. As talented as the Saints are, they cannot afford to become one-dimensional and have to rely on the passing game. That has NEVER worked out well for this team if you look back to the beginning of the Payton/Brees era. Some are pointing to Reggie Bush being out. Well, even though we all know how critical Bush is to the team, even his injury is not responsible for these poor showings. He’s been hurt before and the team managed just fine. As a matter of fact, the team was riddled with injury last year, yet it found a way to humble some of the best defenses in the league. I think Payton should go back and draw from that rather than try to put it behind them. Last year’s successes laid a solid foundation. You wouldn’t rip up a solid foundation, you’d build on it. That’s what the Saints need to do if they’re going to right the ship before it’s too late. We’re far enough behind Atlanta already and in danger of losing our own division.

  2. JSB says:

    Great article. I still Believe and love my Saints, but something is just not right. I am wondering if the organization is hiding the truth about Drew’s knee injury. True the offense was not spectacular before his injury, but the downward spiral continues. Perhaps I am grasping at straws, but I am trying to make sense out of all of this.

  3. Risha Holmes says:

    My goodness, where do I start…I am in utter disbelief that we lost this game to the Cardinals with a rookie QB. This was possibly the worst showing from Brees/Payton I have ever seen. Way too many mistakes!!! The offense is BROKEN! Drew threw 3 int’s and freaking Ladell Betts fumbled and boom whaddya know they recover for at TD! Betts has to go!!!!! Carney misses a FG, They screwed up the Red Zone opportunities, and overall just gave this game away. I am left to really wonder if there is a “fix” in the mix…in any event, I am truly disgusted with Brees and Payton and their BAD decisions today! SCREW DAT!

    • Thanks so much, Risha for your comment. I can feel your frustration. Like you, I’m in disbelief after this game. I admit, it’s hard to watch the Saints come out and play the way they’ve been playing since the season began. Each week I wait for them to get it together, yet it hasn’t happened yet. They look totally anemic and lethargic out there now and that isn’t fun to watch at all. Penalties and turnovers are the only consistency the Saints have up to this point. That’s certainly not something we’ve been used to seeing in THIS New Orleans Saints team. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, Payton has to get back to what worked for the team before rather than working overtime to get away from it. I get so tired of hearing commentators say junk like “they’re not sneaking up on anybody this year” or “they can’t win the same way they won last year”. Well nobody will, but that is no reason to totally abandon the Saints gameplan. How successful would teams like the Steelers or the Patriots, two teams who have won multiple Superbowls in recent years, be with that kind of mindset? Those teams have a trademark style of football that they play. Teams watch film and prepare for them year after year too, but that hasn’t stifled their success because they go out and play THEIR style of football. That’s what the Saints have to do. They only recently found their style of football and they’re already trying to get away from it. I know it’s hard, but I have to beg fans to stay positive. If the team sees that their fans are giving up, they really won’t have a reason to do better. I’m not saying don’t be frustrated. Maybe millions of disgruntled fans will shock them into action. Just hang in there with them and hope they get this thing on track soon.

  4. Marylyn says:

    I don’t know what to say, it’s hard, no….It’s impossible to ask fans to stay positive when we’ve been watching them spiral since the first game. They haven’t been able to score. We average one touch down a game and the rest are field goals and I am just stunned that this is the same team that won the Super-bowl. We’re not giving up on our Saints by far, but we have grown tired of these sorts of games. It’s not enjoyable to watch them anymore. It’s like watching your kids constantly pass inches away from a steaming hot iron. When do we say, Enough…..let’s get back to doing what worked for us in the beginning, and even then, it’s not enough. Something is going on with our Quarterback. He isn’t the Drew Brees he was last year. This game had to be his worst of them all. I too am wondering if there is something going on that we aren’t aware of.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Marylyn. Believe me, I understand your frustration. It’s almost painful to watch the Saints take the field now because they’re not playing with any purpose on offense. I know I’ve been urging the fans to stay positive because the Saints are going to get it figured out, but after the showing against the Cardinals, I think my words will be falling on deaf ears. A lot of the problems involve play calling. It’s almost as if Payton is coaching with a diminished playbook. I didn’t like all the back-to-back pass plays when the running game had been quite productive. The Saints are one of those teams that has to have balance on offense. Being one-dimensional really puts them at a disadvantage. I’d also like to see the wide receivers work a little harder to get open. With the exception of Lance Moore and occasionally Robert Meachem, they will not come back for the ball when Brees gets into trouble. If they would do that, it would help him out when he steps up and extends a play. I still think the problems are fixable, but the Saints NEED to draw on their success from last year rather than try to put it behind them. Payton is going to have to try to recapture some of that magic. Remember how terribly the 2007 season started when they literally buried their successes from 2006? It’s the same deal here minus the actual “funeral”. My fear is that they are in danger of doing the same thing here. They haven’t learned yet to build on their successes rather than detatch from them. It’s really sad too with all that talent.

  5. Mike in Atlanta says:

    This is a great article. The Saints need to get back to running the ball. We ran it so well on the drive in which Carney missed the FG. 5 yards from the endzone, why not run it? We have to force our will on teams. At that point, Ivory and Betts were definitely in control. It’s hard to score from the 5 yard line by passing — it’s just too crowded in there. If we can get to the bye week at 6-2 or 5-3 that would be good as it gives us some time to get our playmakers healthy.

    Disappointing loss to say the least. I’d rather we just got blown out.

    • Thank you, Mike! I agree with you totally. I think the Saints are trying so hard to shed their success from last year for fear of getting bogged down in it that they’ve lost their identity. Like you said, they have to force their will on teams (like last year) and right now they’re not doing that. I absolutely don’t think that our passing game alone can carry the team. As good and as talented as our wide receivers are, they just don’t do a good enough job getting open, maybe with the exception of Moore. They will see Brees in trouble and rather than run back for the ball like so many receivers on other teams do, they just continue down the field and what do you know–a turnover. In my opinion, Betts and Ivory have been doing an excellent job on the ground, but Payton isn’t capitalizing on their abilities in the red zone. A screen would’ve gotten it done down there I believe, but that play has all but been abandoned. Games are too close against teams we should win convincingly over. At this point, I just want to see some of the fire from the defending Superbowl champs. I don’t recognize this team.

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