Just as many people expected, the most recent episode in the Saints/Falcons series was a battle right down to the very last play. With 7:13 remaining in the 4th quarter, John Kasay converted a 44 yard field goal to put New Orleans up by 2 scores with a 23-13 lead, giving them what seemed to be a comfortable two score lead. However, Ryan brought Atlanta back after a touchdown strike to Tony Gonzalez 3 minutes later, and then set up kicker Matt Bryant with the game-tying field goal as time expired. The Falcons would receive the ball first in overtime (as the Saints fell to 0 for 11 in coin tosses this season, a particularly unbelievable stat), but both teams would end up punting before the Falcons faced a critical 4th and inches from its own 29 1/2 yard line. Falcons head coach Mike Smith initially sent his punt team out, but after calling a timeout, he decided to put his offense back out on the field and go for it. The Saints’ run defense stepped up in a huge spot, stuffing Michael Turner and therefore getting the ball in immediate field goal range. Four plays later, Kasay delivered the game-winning 26 yard field goal, moving the Saints to 7-3 and into a comfortable 1 1/2 game lead in the NFC South entering their bye week. Here are my other thoughts from New Orleans’ crucial road victory in Atlanta.
In a solid all-around performance, the New Orleans Saints capped off a very successful weekend of football for the state with a 27-16 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Louisiana Superdome. Though the game was far from a blowout, it was never really in doubt, as the Saints led by more than one score from midway through the second quarter all the way until about 5 minutes to go in the 4th. Even when the Bucs were able to cut their deficit to 8, Brees promptly marched the team back down the field and allowed kicker John Kasay to convert an easy 34 yard field goal with 1:17 remaining, effectively icing the game. Let’s take a look at this game by the numbers and see in which areas the Saints were able to have the most success.
Turn on any TV this week and tune in to ESPN or any other sports show and chances are the topic of discussion is something pertaining to this weekend’s matchup of #1 ranked LSU versus #2 ranked Alabama. This game has been hyped up for the past 3 weeks, and talk has seemingly now moved into the realm of obsession.
The New Orleans Hornets’ 2011 season kicks off Wednesday night in the New Orleans Arena as the team takes on last year’s #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls. The CP3-led Hornets will try to rebound this season after suffering a first round playoff defeat by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. The Bulls, on the other hand, are coming off an Eastern Conference Championship defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat, and are poised to make another run at a championship behind last season’s regular season MVP, Derrick Rose.
…What’s that? There’s a lockout, you say? Well, that’s one hell of a buzzkill. I already wrote a game preview and everything! I may as well share it with you guys, right? Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the keys to tomorrow night’s fictitious season opener.
Just one week removed from the most lopsided victory in franchise history, the Saints could not have looked like a more different team in St. Louis on Sunday afternoon. New Orleans was outplayed in every phase of the game from start to finish, and didn’t even remotely resemble a playoff-caliber team. As a result, the Saints fell behind 24-0 to the previously-winless Rams, eventually losing 31-21. There is literally nothing positive to discuss in regards to this game, so let’s take a look at where the Saints failed and will need to improve for next weekend’s monumentally important home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Just wanted to give a quick update to those wondering if and when the NBA would be cancelling more games or coming to an agreement. As of tonight, the New York Daily News is reporting that the owners and players have agreed to try once more to close the gap between both sides, and will attempt to do so on Wednesday in Manhattan. Given how far apart the NBA owners and NBPA were when they last broke off negotiations last week, the odds of a deal being reached in the next few days are fairly minimal. If enough progress is made, however, it could lead to an agreement in time for games to be played as early as December, and doing so could allow the rescheduling of those games that have previously been cancelled in order to play a full 82-game season. Keep in mind that this seems to be the current best case scenario, so while this is a possible outcome, it certainly isn’t the most likely one. For continuous updates on the meeting taking place tomorrow as well as other lockout news, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@HoopDat), as we will do our best to relay news to you as soon as we get any information.
In what quickly became a pleasant, stress-free end to the weekend, the Saints absolutely demolished the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. As I noted on Twitter last night, I started to feel like I was watching the Saints dismantle my alma mater’s football team (Tulane), not an actual NFL squad. There are so many ridiculous stats that represent how good the Saints were in this game that I can’t possibly hit on all of them, but I listed my favorites after the jump.
First things first – if you want to know how I’m feeling about the lockout, look no further than this 20 second YouTube video.
Now that we’ve addressed that important aspect, let’s move on to what’s actually going on in said lockout.
Looking back on this game as soon as it ended, the first thing that came to my mind (besides numerous profanities which shouldn’t be repeated) was – “how did we only lose by 6?” The Saints made so many mistakes on both sides of the football that it is honestly a miracle that they were only down by one score in the game’s final minutes. The four turnovers stand out, but there were just as many defensive lapses which makes it impossible to blame this loss on any one area. The following are the three key areas where the Saints failed in Tampa yesterday afternoon (and have really been problematic all season long), and the team will need to fix all three if it wants to keep being considered as a legitimate Superbowl contender.