The weather was pleasant, considering the possibilities of New Jersey in November. Still, it was chilly, in the mid 40's.
This looked like the 2012 Saints, a team making mistakes and a defense that was gashed all afternoon long.
The Jets lost to Cincinnati 49-9 a week ago. This is the NFL. Every week is different. These are paid professionals. If you don't show up with your best effort, you will lose. The Saints indeed lost in a sloppy 26-20 contest.
New Orleans made a talent evaluation to go with their clear miss investment in Mark Ingram over Chris Ivory. Does anyone think Ingram is a better runner than Ivory? Anyone?
The Saints were defined by their two plays on third and inches in the fourth quarter. First, you throw to the fullback in the flat. He drops the ball. Then, a tight end around? With Josh Hill? Seriously? This team cannot run the ball and has no confidence to even try to run. You needed an inch and had two downs to get it. I love Sean Payton's ability to call plays but this was a bit ridiculous. The fourth down call brought back memories of "Superdome Special." Again, I ask the question—why trade up and draft Mark Ingram in the first round if you don't trust him to make an inch?
Given a chance to win late, the Saints were simply not good enough to get it done. There were key injuries but the Jets had injuries as well. When you are favored to win, you have to take care of business. The Saints did not.
Here are my Quick Takes on the Saints loss to the Jets
**Drew Brees had to operate without Marques Colston and then Darren Sproles and it clearly affected him.
**Brees burned a timeout on the first offensive series of the game with 12:55 to play in the first quarter. He did not like what he saw and the play clock was winding down. Then, Brees took too much time. That was a ridiculous sequence but Brees and the offense redeemed itself with a 26 yard completion to Lance Moore. Brees later had yet another delay of game penalty. Then, he took his final timeout with 47 seconds left in the first quarter. It got no better in the second half as Brees had to blow another timeout late in the third quarter, down nine points.
**The Saints lost Darren Sproles on the first offensive series with an apparent head injury.
**The Saints got a first down on a personal foul on Muhammad Wilkerson for a blow to the head of Brees. It was incidental. It is tough to play defense in today's NFL.
**Garrett Hartley continued his struggles early on. He pulled a 43-yard field goal attempt badly. He broke out of the slump with a career-best 55 yard field goal late in the third quarter and later connected on a 43-yard field goal.
**The Saints have not given up a touchdown in the third quarter since the season opener against Atlanta.
**The Saints welcomed former teammate Chris Ivory on his first carry of the game, nailing him in the backfield for a two yard loss. That was the last time the Saints had the upper hand on Ivory, who quickly answered with a huge 27 yard run on his second carry. Ivory made the Saints pay, rushing 18 times for 139 yards and a score.
**The Saints went no-huddle on their second possession, to no avail. Brees made a bad throw behind Ben Watson and Troy Davis picked it off of a tip by Dawan Landry.
**The Saints started their first three possessions from their own 20, 20 and 18 yard lines.
**The Saints burned their second timeout with 2:55 in the first quarter. They had two delay of game penalties and took two timeouts in the first quarter.
**Graham destroyed Jaiquawn Jarrett for the 51 yard touchdown pass. Beat him badly. It was his ninth touchdown reception of the season, tying Wes Welker for the league lead. In the second quarter, he caught his 10th touchdown pass to take the league lead.
**Nick Toon must prove that he can be a consistent NFL receiver. While Kenny Stills has clearly done so, Toon has yet to do so. He had a key drop of a deep ball by Brees at the end of the first quarter that cost the Saints dearly. On the play, he dove for it, despite the fact that the ball was right on him, a perfect throw by Brees. No reason to dive. Then, he dropped another pass, resulting in an interception by Antonio Cromartie.
**The Jets offensive front dominated the Saints defensive front in the first half, leading to Chris Ivory's 94 yards rushing.
**Travaris Cadet was shaky returning kickoffs. He made a bad decision to run one out that was deep in the end zone and only got to the 18 yard line on one and fumbled another and had to take a knee. He then bobbled the next one as well. In the third quarter, he returned one just 17 yards, running right into the coverage.
**Statistics can be so misleading. Network announcers were making a huge deal about Brees turning the ball over twice in the first half. He turned it over once. The second one was on Toon. How do you blame a QB for that? Unfortunately, that's the way it is recorded and looks. If Colston was healthy, Toon does not see the field. I wonder what Andy Tanner is thinking?
**Nick Folk is having a season for the ages. The guy has not missed this season and it is not easy kicking in that stadium.
**The Saints inability to run the football resulted in the Jets just not respecting the run and rushing Brees hard on every play. Brees took way too many hits. He was very fortunate to get out of this game upright.
**Antonio Allen was clearly holding Josh Hill which negated the third quarter interception by Cromartie.
**Wilkerson is a terrific young player. Ben Grubbs and Brian de la Puente had no chance against him.
**Why were the Saints huddling, down by nine points with under six minutes left in the game? They should have been in the hurry-up mode, not allowing the Jets to substitute defensively and thus wearing them down while saving time.
**The Saints had nine penalties in the game, a few too many.
**The Saints missed Sproles on the final Jets punt. It was very returnable and Lance Moore elected to fair catch it.
**When the Saints got the ball back for one last shot, Brees finally got Toon to catch a pass but de la Puente was holding, killing any chance to win. You cannot win consistently, particularly on the road with this offensive line play overall and the lack of a running game.
**New Orleans threw the football 51 times and ran it 13 times. While the Saints are clearly a passing team, you must be closer to the margin of 60-40 to be consistently effective in the NFL. Oh, by the way, the Saints receivers had way too many drops.
**The Saints have now allowed 20 sacks of Brees in 2013. They allowed just 26 in 2013. That does not account for the number of hits on Brees. The attrition of allowing free agent starters to depart has caught up with the Saints. From Jonathan Goodwin to Carl Nicks to Jermon Bushrod, the replacements simply are not anywhere near as good. They made calculated decisions, knowing they could not pay everyone. This line is simply not good enough.
The Jets deserved to win. They were simply better physically than the Saints. That is scary, considering the fact that a good Dallas offense is coming, along with games against San Francisco and Seattle, the two best teams in the NFC. The Saints will have to raise their level of play, to be certain, if they hope to maintain hope of having a special season.
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