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Ugly victory OK while starting secondary sits

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Four thoughts after the Saints’ ugly 28-23 win in St. Louis left them with a very pretty 9-0 record: 1) Winning ugly doesn’t matter as long as New Orleans is injury-depleted. If the Saints had struggled to put away the ...

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Old 11-17-2009, 10:04 PM   #1
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Ugly victory OK while starting secondary sits

Four thoughts after the Saints’ ugly 28-23 win in St. Louis left them with a very pretty 9-0 record:

1) Winning ugly doesn’t matter as long as New Orleans is injury-depleted.

If the Saints had struggled to put away the Rams with a healthy secondary, an alarm warning would have sounded. But they played the entire game without Jabari Greer (injured groin), the best cornerback in franchise history, and free safety Darren Sharper (sprained right knee), a leading candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. They played all but one down of the second half without cornerback Tracy Porter, who suffered a strained MCL when he was unintentionally leg-whipped by teammate Usama Young.

The results were predictable. St. Louis quarterback Mark Bulger threw for a season-high 298 yards and completed 65 percent of his passes. Donny Avery burned cornerback Randall Gay for a pair of touchdowns when Gay never located the ball, matching the total of scoring catches for the Rams’ active wide receivers as a group in the first eight games.

As valuable as new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is for New Orleans, he benefited from a terrific talent upgrade. With three fourths of the starting lineup gone, the Saints defensive backs looked just as lousy as they were last year.

Greer and Sharper are due back soon, maybe even this Sunday against Tampa Bay. Porter is expected to return before the end of the season.

As long as they are out, the Saints will struggle to stop the pass.

2) At least the Saints can slow down running backs in the second half.

The absence of starting defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis does not account for New Orleans’ woeful first-half run defense in recent weeks. Poor angles and poorer tackling are the bigger problem.

Atlanta’s Michael Turner, Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and St. Louis’s Steven Jackson combined for 304 yards on 40 carries (7.6 average) with four touchdowns in the first halves of the last three games. After making adjustments, the Saints held the trio to a much more reasonable 117 yards on 27 carries (4.3 average) with zero touchdowns in the second halves.

Take away one 24-yard run by Turner when he broke free of a rugby scrum, and the second-half numbers are 26 carries for 93 yards (3.6 average).

Give that trio credit. Jackson (third), Williams (tied for fourth) and Turner (seventh) are among the NFL’s rushing leaders.

Still, the Saints have to translate whatever they are doing in the second half to the first half. Getting run over is no formula for playoff success.
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3) What constitutes roughing the kicker?

If Craig Dahl did not rough Saints punter Thomas Morstead when he dove into his left foot in the fourth quarter, when are the referees going to call it?

With the Saints protecting a 28-17 lead, Morstead had just completed his motion and was defenseless when Dahl landed hard on his foot. That’s how kickers get hurt and is the reason the rule exists. This was not an acting job (well, at least until Morstead started limping to the sideline) or a guy just brushing into the punter as he ran by him.

The referee ruled it running into the kicker, a five-yard penalty with no automatic first down, rather than a 15-yard personal foul. Instead of having a first down at the Rams 21 with 7:17 left, the Saints faced a fourth-and-2 at the 31, went for the first down and did not get it.

With the proper call, New Orleans might have won 35-17.

It is debatable whether that outcome would have been better unless you are a bettor who took the Saints to cover the point spread.

They did not deserve to win by 18, and they might have gotten a false sense of security. But the way the defensive backs yielded yards in the last four minutes, they developed a real sense of insecurity.

4) Reggie Bush had his best game of the year until he talked about it.

On the field, it was all good – the career-long 55-yard run, the Fleur de Leap for the Saints’ first touchdown and the nice catch-and-run for a 15-yard score. Used less, Bush is fresh.

After the game, though, he dismissed the Saints’ close victories in recent weeks as the product of playing three consecutive teams coming off of byes.

Nice try.

One problem. Atlanta and Carolina did not have open dates before playing the Saints. Miami and St. Louis did.

That’s two out of four, not three out of three.
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Saints Notebook: Ugly victory OK while starting secondary sits



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Old 11-18-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
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Re: Ugly victory OK while starting secondary sits

Thanks for putting this into perspective.
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Old 11-18-2009, 11:53 AM   #3
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Re: Ugly victory OK while starting secondary sits

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II View Post
Thanks for putting this into perspective.
There's a few here who have been doing a great job of that.
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:38 PM   #4
 
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Re: Ugly victory OK while starting secondary sits

Here's to having a healthy secondary in time for New england.
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:44 PM   #5
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Re: Ugly victory OK while starting secondary sits

Originally Posted by SmashMouth View Post
Here's to having a healthy secondary in time for New england.
No kidding.
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Old 11-18-2009, 02:30 PM   #6
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Re: Ugly victory OK while starting secondary sits

Originally Posted by SmashMouth View Post
Here's to having a healthy secondary in time for New england.
More importantly, the playoffs/superbowl.
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Old 11-18-2009, 02:39 PM   #7
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Re: Ugly victory OK while starting secondary sits

Ultimately, a win is a win. However, its safe to say that we all are waiting for the breath of fresh air when the Saints get to playing healthy, mistake free football
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