NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Take One: Penalty problem
Ten penalties for 129 yards. It was the most telling stat of the game.
This was not a case of referees and bad calls. This was simply a matter of undisciplined play by the Saints.
Pass interference, horse collar tackles, offsides, holding, illegal blindside blocks. You name it and the Saints committed it. Some of those penalties killed drives others extended them for their opponent.
This is nothing new for this team. Last season, they had several games with double-digit flags. It’s something this group has to figure out fast. Teams can’t expect to win many games playing like that.
Take Two: Defense dominated
The Raiders four touchdown offensive drives:
11 plays, 63 yards, 6:18
10 plays, 75 yards, 3:38
9 plays , 75 yards, 5:02
10 plays, 89 yards, 4:34
Their field goal drive at the end of the fourth quarter that iced the game went: 7 plays, 46 yards and 3:28.
Those long time-consuming drives led to a whopping 13-minute edge for the Raiders in time of possession.
Put simply, by the second quarter, the Saints defense couldn’t get off the field. The pass rush disappeared and they lost the line of scrimmage. Plus, they had absolutely no answer for Raiders tight end Darren Waller. He didn’t matter who they put on him, he still shredded the Saints for 12 receptions, 103 yards and a touchdown.
All in all, it was an ugly effort by that side of the ball.
Take Three: Offensive inefficiency
The offense started spectacular but somehow fell out of sync.
It felt like it all shifted after Drew Brees' terrible second quarter interception. The drive before they scored a touchdown to go up 17-7, but from that pick on they never looked the same. Unfortunately, their sudden lack of chemistry coincided with the defensive struggles making it the exact opposite of complimentary football.
As for Brees, he didn’t have a good night. He kept things pretty short in the passing game. Though there were a couple of drops, he missed a few throws that he normally makes. Some are questioning whether or not his age is catching up to him. I’m not ready to say that. But the longer it takes for Brees and this offense to find their rhythm, the more those questions will come.
Take Four: What happens in Vegas...
You know the rest. And the Saints are sure hoping their Monday night performance stays in the desert when they get back to New Orleans.
The first quarter was fantastic. The Saints looked like the superior team. But then the Raiders kept plugging away and by halftime they were tied. By the end of the game, they were clearly the team that deserved to win the game, which they did.
Take Five: Other observations
- Alvin Kamara had a great night and looked good running and catching the ball out of the backfield. That smoothness to his game is definitely back.
- Tre’Quan Smith overcame an early drop to have a very good night.
- The Saints couldn’t take advantage of an early Christmas present from Jalen Richard, who fumbled a toss on a play where he had plenty of room to run. The following drive was stymied by multiple penalties.
- Speaking of Richard, the tackling on his 3rd & 10 touchdown run was atrocious.
- Malcolm Jenkins didn’t have a good night. After an early sack, he struggled in coverage and against the run.
- Jon Gruden did a great job with calling play action Monday night. Just about every one seemed to catch the Saints being too aggressive and beat them with it.
- Emmanuel Sanders and Brees are clearly not there yet with their chemistry.
- Derek Carr played better than many of us, including myself, thought he would. He executed his offense well.
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