Saints Grades (Rams)
Monday, October 24, 2005
Compiled by Brian Allee-Walsh, Times-Picayune
Based on their two first possessions, the Saints looked as if they would have a banner day on offense -- two touchdowns and 114 yards, resulting in an early 14-0 lead. The Rams seemed incapable of stopping quarterback Aaron Brooks, who threw scoring passes of 11 and 17 yards to DontÃƒÂƒÃ‚Â© Stallworth and ex-Rams wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim. The Saints managed only 218 yards the rest of the way. The Rams had surrendered 126 points in consecutive losses to Indianapolis, Seattle and the New York Giants but only allowed 17 points Sunday. The Rams also forced their first two defensive turnovers in four games. The second proved most costly -- a controversial 67-yard interception return for a touchdown by Rams free safety Mike Furrey that clinched a 28-17 victory.
Overall, it was a pretty solid effort considering two turnovers resulted in 14 points. Steve Gleason, who was making his first NFL start for injured strong safety Dwight Smith, also had a hand in the Rams' scoring. Gleason was called for a 42-yard pass interference penalty that set up Steven Jackson's six-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Jackson had one big run, a 43-yarder on the Rams' first play from scrimmage. He finished with 97 yards rushing on 20 carries. The Saints thought they had caught a break because the Rams played without injured starting quarterback Marc Bulger and wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. But Kevin Curtis acquitted himself, catching four balls for 90 yards.
Grade: C plus
The only consistent element about the Saints this season has been the inexplicable play of their special teams. For the second consecutive game, an opponent blocked a field-goal attempt by John Carney. Once again, Kevin Hauser's snap was high, throwing off the timing, and Rams defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson easily smothered Carney's low-trajectory kick. Three of Mitch Berger's four punts were downed inside the 20. Four more penalties, a big 35-yard kick return by Terry Fair and a botched fourth-down quarterback sneak by holder Todd Bouman also worked against the special teams.
Grade: D minus
A tip of the fedora to beleaguered Saints coach Jim Haslett, who managed to keep his cool after another frustrating loss that was influenced by the officials in the final minutes. But the fact is the team still is making the same mistakes that had plagued it through the first six games. Penalties and turnovers continue to haunt the Saints at crucial times. Players make the plays, but it's certainly a reflection of Haslett and his staff. No doubt, Haslett would like to have had a challenge left on Ernie Conwell's apparent catch that resulted in an interception return a for touchdown by free safety Mike Furrey. Obviously, the accumulation of these displaced times in San Antonio are taking a toll.
Grade: C minus.
RE: Saints Grades (Rams)
They keep this up San Antonio won't want them.
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