I don’t believe in astrology or numerology…I tend to favor free will over fate. However, yesterday’s game against the Bucs had me wondering if a win just “wasn’t in the cards” for us.
There appeared to be something ominous about the number 3. It was our third road game in a row. Brees threw an uncharacteristic three interceptions. Coach Payton was taken out on third and three on our first drive. His surgery today lasted three hours.
I should have known the day was off when we forgot to buy the Andouille sausage for the red beans and rice….
The truth is, the Saints haven’t been clicking on all three – offense, defense and special teams - cylinders all season. So far, we have at least had one aspect of our game compensate for other lower performing parts, leading to a 4-1, nearly 5-0, record going into Sunday’s game. Yesterday, we seemed out of rhythm across the board.
With each quarter, the mood dampened in our house. The desperation for our “comeback” drive was palpable. Our thirst for that momentum shift - when we take the game by the horns and put it away - would prove elusive. The interception in the end zone confirmed… this was just not our day.
The numbers actually don’t look that bad. We tallied roughly the same number of total offensive yards. Our third down efficiency of 41% (while far below our season average of 59%) was better than the Bucs 28%. After all, we only lost by six points.
One big exception– turnover ratio. The Bucs were awarded an extra four possessions…resulting in an extra 10 points. It should be noted that two of the three interceptions were fluke-ish.
Maybe there is something to this power of three. And if I had three wishes, I would want “Friday Night Lights” to come back to television. I would want a low fat version of King Cake. But even more, I would want to understand WHY he Saints kept trying to run the ball up the middle when clearly it wasn’t working. If you take away the Brees scramble, and the pitch and catch to Sproles, we had 43 yards on 18 carries. I am curious what it is that the coaching staff saw on film, or noticed on he field, that would lead us to not abandon this strategy somewhere in the mid-third quarter. To me, this “throw away down” took us out of sync.
I don’t want to make excuses – we just didn’t play well. Then again, maybe it was just out of our hands. We need to figure it out, so we don’t risk a third loss.