After Further Review: Five takes from Saints loss to Panthers

Deuce McAllister and Sean Fazende discuss the Saints' loss to the Panthers

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Take One: Preseason Atmosphere

We’ve heard the term ‘playoff atmosphere.'Well Sunday was the exact opposite of that. It didn’t take long for it to feel like a preseason game. Given the circumstances, this game was obviously never going to have the same intensity the other games have. Still, I thought there would be a little bit more life on the field.

Take Two: Teddy Time

Teddy Bridgewater was the biggest storyline for the Saints heading into Sunday. There was a curiosity about how he would perform in his first start since the 2015 season.

All in all it was okay. Nothing great, but nothing terrible either. To be fair, he didn’t have the Saints full arsenal of weapons available, and was playing behind a makeshift offensive line for most of the game.

Still, Bridgewater finished 14-22, 118 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith, and his early connection to Ben Watson where he rolled left and connected, were his two best throws. His interception was not his best moment. The pass was late and a little behind the receiver. There was also times Bridgewater did well alluding the pass rush, but other times he held onto the ball too long.

Bridgewater’s upcoming free agency will be a huge storyline not just in New Orleans, but around the entire NFL. In my opinion, Sunday’s game didn’t move the needle much either way.

Take Three: Defensive Disappointment

There’s no need to sugarcoat it, the defense played terrible Sunday. Most of the starters played the first half and into the second, but they couldn’t stop Kyle Allen, who was making his first career start. Allen got more and more comfortable as the game went on, before he left late in the game.

It wasn’t necessarily energy this group lacked, more like a lack of focus. They just didn’t execute with the same precision that they normally do, which is disappointing for a group that’s done so much good this season.

Take Four: Putting into perspective

Clearly, it was the Saints worst effort of the season, but it’s important to leave it at that. Reading anything more into it would be foolish. For those concerned about a carryover into the playoffs, the finish in 2009 season was much more concerning. They limped into the playoffs with three straight losses, and obviously won it all. With the road to the Super Bowl coming through New Orleans, I’m still going with the Saints to make it to Atlanta.

Take Five: Other Observations

- The Saints fell short of a franchise-record 14 wins. While Mark Ingram came 90 yards short of passing Deuce McAllister as the team’s all-time leading rusher. However, Michael Thomas was able to surpass Joe Horn for the most receiving yards in a season.

- The Saints got a scare early when Alex Okafor and Sheldon Rankins both went down. Fortunately, both returned. Andrus Peat injured his hand and did not return.

- We don’t know who the Saints will play in the divisional round, but we do know when it will happen. The NFL announced they’ll play Sunday, January 13th, at 3:40 p.m.

- Out of Philadelphia, Dallas or Seattle, I’d most like to face the Cowboys.

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