Redskins vs. Saints: 10 Things We Learned from New Orleans' 40-32 Loss
It was apparent from today's game against the Washington Redskins that the Saints have some work to do. Good thing is, it's just the beginning of the season. The offense looked a little off. The Saints defense did not look good and had a hard time stopping rookie quarterback RGIII.
Everything is a learning experience. Let's hope the Saints learn and build from their first loss.
Let's take a look at a few things we learned from today's loss against the Redskins.
The Saints Were Sloppy
The Saints looked sloppy in their season opener at home against the Redskins.
The team was penalized 12 times, totaling 107 yards. Because of the penalties, the Saints couldn't build a running game, they had to pass just to get out of the hole they put themselves in.
They had three turnovers and the defense had a hard time getting off the field, allowing the Redskins offense to dominate and control the clock.
The Redskins had possession for 39 minutes of the game.
Defense Needs Work
It's no secret the New Orleans Saints defense needed work. Just look back to the divisional round against the 49ers to be reminded of how much work was needed. The New Orleans Saints D made the 49ers quarterback, Alex Smith, look like Joe Montana.
The Saints brought in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, known for turning out some good defensive units, to work on the Saints defense.
That was not evident in the Saints' first game. The secondary was torched by RGIII for 320 passing yards and two touchdowns. Washington also ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
There's still plenty of time for Spagnuolo to work on this defensive unit and leave his mark, today's game was a minor speed bump.
Offense Needs Some Work
Yes, the Saints scored 32 points. They still are a scoring machine. But they did not look sharp.
Drew Brees threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns, but he was sacked twice and intercepted twice. The Saints offense only converted 2-of-11 third-down conversions, which is rare.
The false starts were hurting the offense and set them back a few times, disrupting any flow they were trying to produce. Because the penalties kept pushing the offense back, they abandoned the run game, only rushing the ball 10 times.
Robert Griffin III Outplayed Drew Brees
RGIII a better quarterback than Drew Brees? Nonsense. But he did lead his team to a win over Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Rookie Robert Griffin III outplayed Drew Brees, just for today. He went for 19-of-26 for 320 yards, two touchdowns,no interceptions and carried the ball 10 times for 42 yards. Brees went 24-of-52 for 339 yards, three touchdowns with two picks and got sacked twice.
The rookie kept his composure and did a good job of dishing out the ball and exposing the Saints' secondary.
The Replacement Refs Missed Some Calls
Contrary to popular belief before the season started, the replacement refs haven't been doing too much of an awful job, overall.
Not sure that was the case for the referees at the Saints vs. Redskins game.
There were 24 penalties called the whole game between both teams. One that sticks out was a pass interference call against Roman Harper in the end zone. He turned to make a play for the ball, but the refs still blew the whistle. Next play, the Redskins scored.
How about the non-existent pass interference calls on the Redskins defense in the first quarter?
Well, can't complain too much. As with anything, you have to move on.
Running Game Needs to Improve
For all the talk the Saints and their vicious passing game received last season, their run game was just as dangerous and was not to be taken lightly.
In today's game, the ground game was non existent. The Saints carried the ball only 10 times and gained a mere 32 yards in those attempts.
That is unacceptable and needs to improve in order for the pass-game to be lethal as it was last season. It's only the first game, so the offense was a bit rusty, but the Saints need their run game to be productive with any chance they get. At the same time, their offense needs to be a bit more balanced.
Saints Came into the Game Overconfident
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Saints were sloppy. After going undefeated last season at the dome, they were handed their first loss in a long time there.
The Saints were rusty, out of sync and undisciplined. Even Brees had an off game and was missing his target for parts of the game. The final score of 40-32 was nowhere near how uncompetitive the Saints were, showing no urgency until late in the fourth quarter when it was too late.
There was a lot of emotion going into the first game at home. Maybe it overwhelmed the team too much.
Marques Colston Was Not Himself
Maybe it was the lack of preseason snaps due to his injury, but Marques Colston was almost a non-factor in this game.
The Saints' No. 1 receiver and playmaker is back from injury, but he didn't have too much of an impressive game. Drew Brees targeted Colston 11 times, but the wideout only hauled in four of them for 71 yards.
He had a key catch that could've changed the momentum of the game knocked out of his hands for a fumble. He also had a key drop at the beginning of the second half.
Defensive Line Did Not Produce
Steve Spagnuolo, known for producing some stellar front-four defensive lines, has his work cut out for him.
The Saints' defensive line failed to pressure the rookie quarterback much. They could not break through the line and get into the backfield. They only got sacks when the secondary blitzed, which was last year's problem.
The team needs to find a way to generate some pressure with their front four.
No Time to Panic
It's only the first game. No need to panic. We all knew, including the Saints, that it wouldn't be an easy season.
We know the Saints' offense will pick up and be the offensive threat they were last season; but, at the same time, the big question mark is the defense. They showed that they still have a lot of work to do.
It's just the first game of the season. The Saints have 15 more to go, but they need to improve soon and will have to show it against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers next week.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter for more Saints news and other NFL updates: @ItsJPeralta.
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