Well it’s been a few days since Sunday’s victory in Tampa bay and after re-watching it a few times, I still don’t know how I feel about it. Yes the Saints definitely have some things to clean up and quite frankly they should have lost the game, but they didn’t. It was a crazy game for both teams with numerous highs and lows, so when thinking of the turning points I had to go with the game winning drive.
If they would have lost I probably would have pointed to the Tampa goal line stand or the Brees pick six. I also decided to include the Saints defense stuffing Doug Martin on 3rd and 6 and holding him to three yard gain setting up the Game winning drive following the Bucs failed field goal attempt. So it’s the 3rd down stuff and the three Saints offensive plays that followed that will be this week’s Grind Factor.
Third and six from the New Orleans 32 yard line….they make it to the 29.
Junior Galette made this play with his speed, athleticism and great awareness. On the pitch out, Doug Martin wants to kick it to the outside but Galette shifts to the outside so in a split second Martin find his lane on the inside of Galette. Junior reads it perfectly and is able to reverse his momentum and make the shift to close the hole as Martin is about two yards from the line of scrimmage.
Galette gets Martin low around the legs as John Jenkins is coming across the line and is able to get over a block around his knees to put the finishing hit on Martin to bring him down, Keenan Lewis was also there to clean things up. It should be noted that this was at the end of a hard-fought game and the big man (Jenkins) still had plenty to give, I am really encouraged by his play this early on.
Saints take over after the missed field goal at their own 36 yard line.
FS Ahmad Black was playing close to the line of scrimmage and before the snap, drops way deep to protect the for the long ball. Darren Sproles runs a short underneath from out of the backfield drawing coverage from SS Mark Barron and the attention of and freezing for a second WLB Lavonte David.
Jimmy Graham finds the soft zone in front of FS Dashon Goldston and behind Lavonte David, by the time Ahmad Black could respond it was too late, completion for fifteen yards to Graham to the Tampa 48 yard line.
This next play was somewhat surprising; the Saints call a screen play to Darren Sproles while they are up against the clock with no timeouts, good thing this two-minute offense was clicking on all cylinders. Ben Grubbs and Brain De la Puente get down field in front of Sproles with Grubbs delivering a monster block on SS Mark Barron. De la Puente whiffed on his block of WLB Lavonte David who just did enough to disrupt Sproles, if he makes the block the play could have went for long yardage but instead would only gain eight.
With the ball on the Bucs 40 yard line, the Saints pretty much run the same play as the first play of the drive to Graham. With Graham on the inside, Marques Colston in the slot and Kenny Still lined up wide right, Graham again splits the zone pulling momentarily FS Ahmad Black in freezing him just enough, it’s too late the ball is in the air.
With Stills running a fly pattern to the end zone, Marques Colston is left one on one with CB Leonard Johnson. Even though the coverage is tight, Colston’s size and a perfectly placed pass are too much to defend. By the time the ball arrives, Johnson’s help (Black) is way late in arriving. Complete pass to the nine yard line, Drew gets the offense lined up and spikes the ball.
Like I stated earlier, if they would have lost I probably would have picked that goal line stand or the pick six, I’m just glad I didn’t have to. The Saints better tighten up because 95% of the league would have beaten the Saints Sunday; it just so happened that the Saints played the most undisciplined team in the NFL led by a knucklehead coach.