At this time last week I wrote about how the Saints would need to create turnovers to have a fighting chance to win one in one of the toughest venues in the NFL – I was wrong. It was the Saints two turnovers that was the difference in the game with one going for a pick six.
That’s a losing proposition anywhere you play being at home or on the road..
The Saints actually had a good offensive game plan going into the game, take advantage of the one weak spot in the Kansas City defense – their run defense and then dink and dunk them with the passing game.
Drew Brees was outstanding as usual, I could be be wrong but he looks like he’s playing at his highest level since 2011 and maybe of all his time in New Orleans. His reads, touch and command of what they are doing is probably the best in the NFL right now.
Let us not forget about Mike Thomas – enjoy this folks because you are seeing a superstar at the beginning of his climb to greatness…he’s that good.
As far as the defense goes – what you see is what you get.
They actually didn’t play that bad except for two plays (the horrible tackling on the Spencer Ware 46 yard bubble screen pass and the 38 yard TD pass to Tyreek Hill over Crawley)
But the mistakes persist every week.
The Saints should just crown Kenny Vaccaro the leader of this defense right now, at least he has a sick pit in his stomach after a loss and is man enough to shoot an arrow over the players heads he’s lining up next to who look like they are playing for a paycheck and nothing more.
Said Vaccaro (from Nick Underhill of the Advocate)
I think guys on this team need to look themselves in the eye and really, truly, analyze yourself, Are you helping the team or are you a selfish player right now?
Vaccaro wasn’t finished.
When you don’t play to your leverage, when you don’t play to your gaps — you’re going to make mistakes but when you’re a repeat offender on film over and over, you just don’t care. To me, you don’t care. When you see the same things showing up, you don’t care. You’re either helping us or shooting yourself in the foot.
You just don’t care….
I think it’s obvious who on this defense is not all in – I’m not going to name any names because I don’t think I have to. So on that note lets start the Grind Factor:
The Grind Factor New Orleans at Kansas City
The Chiefs have the ball 1st and 10 at the Saints 46 yard line with 4:44 left in the 1st quarter
I might as well get started at one of the plays that Vaccaro was hinting at – the 46 yard touchdown by Spencer Ware. Below is a look at the pre-snap personnel.
Whenever I see these little wide out screens or in this case a running back, I always think of Sammie Watkins at Clemson – he was so good at it. Whenever I see the Saints try it (mainly to Cooks, I cringe) but this is just really really bad defense.
It’s really just a hat on a hat on this one with the key of course is having LB Craig Robertson being taken out of the play (Spencer Ware is his man) but also just as key is Crawley not recognizing the WR screen. below is the Chiefs blocking assignments.
Once the play gets underway Crawley who’s probably thinking crossing pattern instead of reading the screen backs up six yards, by that time with Robertson taken out of the play it’s up to Jairus Byrd to clean it up as seen below.
Right here Byrd is in no man’s land with two offensive linemen barreling down on him but notice John Jenkins (arrow) the hustle by the big man should be noted – he almost caught him at the end. Also look at how clean that Kansas City blocking wedge is.
At this point Byrd is all out of wack trying to get right and all Ware has to do is make an inside move to the end zone.
And last but not least, hats off to John Jenkins for at least trying on this play.
I could go on about the other plays that cost the Saints the game but they were self explanatory – Mark Ingram’s fumble at the Chiefs 7 yard line, the long touchdown over Ken Crawley and the bonehead personal foul on Nick Fairley.
I’m just going to turn the page on this loss because up next is a game I’ve had circled on the calendar for a very long time – the Seattle Seahawks.
Offensively the Seahawks aren’t a juggernaut by any means but they don’t need to be because their defense is so good.
The Saints banged up offensive line better bring their A game because this front seven brings the heat led by Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Bobby Wagner. On the back end of course there is Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. It should be noted that Chancellor missed the last two games with a groin injury but he was close to playing last week so I fully expect him in the lineup.
The offense needs to be on point this game, I look for quick drop backs and a lot of underneath routes. Don’t expect the usual 30 plus points the Saints usually put up at home, expect a grind it out game that will be decided on which team makes the less mistakes. I don’t see the Saints playing mistake free based on everything we’ve seen this year so my best hope is that Seattle makes more mistakes.
This is a tough match-up no doubt but it is winnable. The Saints have to take advantage of the crowd noise and flip the table on Seattle who thrives on it at home.
A few years back I remember watching a cocky rookie at training camp bring the wood to Jimmy Graham on a seam route down the middle to which Graham was visibly upset. The Saints are going to need Kenny Vaccaro to bring that wood again this Sunday, I think he will.
It’s payback time for a Seattle team that has twice snuffed out the Saints hopes in the playoffs – I’m up for it…are you?