After Further Review: Five takes from the Saints loss to Ravens

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey (44) is sacked New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy...
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey (44) is sacked New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton (14), with Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton nearby in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)(Butch Dill | AP)
Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 1:56 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Take one: Ravens dominate Saints

Any thoughts of last week’s dominant win being the spark for this 2022 Saints team were quickly squashed by the Baltimore Ravens Monday night.

For as nice as last Sunday win over Las Vegas was, Monday’s loss was equally as bad. Whether it was offense, defense, or even special teams, the Saints were simply dominated by a more complete team. The Saints deserved every bit of their 27-13 loss. In fact, it felt like they lost by much more than 14 points.

The season has now hit the second half , and the Saints are a dismal 3-6 and have yet to show the type of consistency that would lead anyone to believe they have a significant run in them. At this point, average would be an upgrade. That’s harsh, but it’s reality. Yet, as bad as it’s been they remain relevant thanks to a putrid NFC South.

Take Two: Where the game was lost

The Ravens were up 7-0 at 11:46 mark of the second quarter . The Saints defense had just forced a punt. On offense, they could do nothing; Andy Dalton completed a one- yard pass on 3rd & 3 to Juwan Johnson to go three -and out and punt the ball back to Ravens.

With 9:05 left, Lamar Jackson stepped in and executed a near flawless 11-play drive that chewed up seven minutes of clock. Along the way they converted two third downs, Jackson went 4-6 and ran for three first downs.

When Kenyon Drake punched it in from one yard out , it made the score, 14-0. Though it may have only been a two-touchdown lead, with the way that game was going , it might as well have been a hundred.

At no point after that did it feel like the Saints had a chance. The energy in the stadium shifted, and the Saints body language was never the same after that drive.

Take Three: A contrast in ground game

One team ran the football with incredible proficiency Monday. One team did not. If you’re reading this, you know which team is which.

The Ravens outgained the Saints 188- 43 on the ground Monday. By the second half, Baltimore was gashing a clearly worn down Saints defense. They ran the ball 40 times Monday; 25 of those carries came in the second half.

By contrast, unlike in their previous game, the Saints could simply never get it going in the ground. They only had 15 attempts for 48 yards, which won’t come close to getting it done with the way this current team is built.

The Ravens made it a point to game plan Alvin Kamara, who had limited impact in the game. They stonewalled him on a third and one early in the game that felt like a big opportunity for the Saints. Kamara finished with nine carries and 12 total touches.

Taysom Hill only had one carry in the game. You read that right : one carry for six yards. I know sometimes the flow of the game prevents certain things from happening, but there should be zero circumstances where Hill, one of their best playmakers, only has one touch in the game (two if you count the pass completion.) That’s inexcusable by the offensive staff to allow that to happen.

Take Four: Third down disparity

Let me start take four like I started take three.

One team converted third downs with proficiency Monday night . The other team did not. If you’re reading this, you know which team is which.

Baltimore finished 9/15 on third down, while the Saints went 3/11. That disparity allowed the Ravens to hold an astounding 15-minute edge in time of possession. The Ravens seemed cool and confident in their third down plan and execution. The Saints came into Monday ranked second in the NFL in 3rd down conversions made, yet appeared rattled and unsure of themselves against the Ravens.

It was one of the deciding factors in the outcome.

Take Five: Other Observations

  • The Ravens’ exotic pass rush got in the heads of both the offensive line and Dalton. The Saints never knew where the blitz was coming from and it led to busts up front and confusion from Dalton. At times, Dalton had a free blitzer in face. Other times he was anticipating pressure that wasn’t there. Simply put, Dalton and the entire offense were uncomfortable all night.
  • On the Ravens first touchdown, Lamar Jackson faked the quarterback sweep and found his tight end for a score. Marcus Maye struggled to recover in coverage despite Jackson tipping his hand early that he was throwing the pass. It was just poor execution by Maye on the play, who wasn’t going to make the tackle on Jackson even if he had kept it.
  • Through nine games, the safety position still has not found it’s groove, and the defense as a whole has suffered because of it .
  • Rashid Shaheed misplayed a punt and let it bounce in the first half. It cost the Saints about 25 yards in field position, which made a difference in the style of game that was played Monday.
  • The Saints lost Marcus Davenport, Erik McCoy and Pete Werner to injuries Monday night. Hopefully they’re not too serious.
  • The Ravens had an incredibly high amount of fans in the Dome Monday. They all stayed well after the game was over.

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