Saints loss to Falcons what went right and wrong
New Orleans Saints kicker Garret Hartley has become public enemy number one to most fans in the city of New Orleans and that's actually not the way it should be.
Yes, he missed the 29-yard field goal attempt that would have won the game and sent the Falcons home with a 27-24 loss instead of vice versa. Yes, he is paid to get on that field and make field goals and extra point, especially in clutch situations like this. And especially when it's a game-winning field goal that is nothing more than a glorified extra point. Hartley is already feeling the heat from all the fans and now his team as the Saints are bringing in some veteran kickers this week for try-outs, but there's a bigger picture that needs to be looked at.
Why did the Saints end up in overtime to begin with?
That's one of the biggest questions needing to be asked as the Saints start their week preparing to attempt a bounce back against the Carolina Panthers in week four. Hartley's mistake may not have won the game for the black and gold, but people need to remember that he's the reason the Saints got into overtime at all and didn't end up losing 24-21 in regulation. It's time to take a look at some of the other issues that plagued the Super Bowl champions and ultimately caused the loss.
- Drew Brees came out and passed for 365 yards on 30 of 38 passing with 3 touchdowns. He also had 2 interceptions which destroyed momentum in one drive and totally killed a good drive the Saints were on the way to scoring on. That second pick was the real problem because it was completely uncharacteristic of Brees. Being taken down by the ankles for a sack, he tried to simply toss the ball out to tight end Jimmy Graham but the ball landed right in the arms of Falcons' defensive back Thomas DeCoud. Brees should have tried to throw the ball away or even just taken the sack. After the game he said that he knew they were right on the limit of field goal range and a sack may have taken them out so he was trying to "make something happen." None the less, it was a bad decision and even the loss of yardage would have been better then a turnover right there.
An interesting note is that Brees actually only had 6 incompletions if you don't count the interceptions. His completion percentage was 79% which is just absolutely insane, but still not good enough for the win.
- Two of the incompletions from Brees came on passes to Devery Henderson. Many accused Henderson of short-arming balls in the opening game against the Minnesota Vikings and then he dropped two passes on Sunday that made fans flashback to the Devery of a couple years ago. One pass was thrown a little too far in front of him, but had he hauled it in then he had about ten yards of open field to run. The second drop was on a perfectly thrown deep ball from Brees that dropped in right over Henderson's shoulder, hit him in the hands, and he bounced the ball against his facemask and to the ground. We've seen him make that catch before and there's no reason he should have not made this one.
- When asked after the game by a fellow member of the media if I thought the Saints would have won the game had Reggie Bush been in there, I didn't even think about it before answering with a resounding "no." It was devastating seeing Bush go down with an injury last week, but I already knew that someone would step to help fill the gaps by his absence. That person just so happened to be Lance Moore. The tiny wide receiver started the day by returning a punt 72 yards for the longest return of his career. Then he hauled in a wide open 80-yard pass for a touchdown en route to a 6-catch, 149 yard (career high), 2 touchdown day. Moore filled the absence of Bush on punt returns and then in the slot receiver position easily so there was virtually no drop-off whatsoever.
- Can someone explain what has happened to the Saints' pass rush this season? It is virtually non-existent and that especially held true on Sunday when Matt Ryan appeared to have all day to just sit back and pick out who he wanted to throw the ball to with ease. Two sacks (one by Sedrick Ellis and one by Will Smith) is impressive, but there was no real pressure otherwise which allowed Ryan to stay calm and find guys like Tony Gonzalez all day. Defensive coordinator just doesn't seem to be calling nearly as many blitz packages as last year when the turnovers were coming in droves. This season sees the Saints bringing next to no pressure on quarterbacks and therefore turnovers are down as well. Most of the time it remains true...lose the turnover battle, lose the game.
Also in this case, lose the time of possession battle and lose the game. The Saints' defense could not get the Falcons' offense off the field the entire day. Sure the Saints may not have needed the time to score, but a 10+ minute drive is just unheard of and unacceptable.
READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE, ANALYSIS AND VIEW A SLIDESHOW OF THE GAME AT THE EXAMINER
- Garrett Hartley's kick was just a huge dagger in a game that looked good in some ways and awful in others. All the blame falls on him from fans because he was the last Saint that had an opportunity to win the game in some respect. But then the defense wasn't able to stop the Falcons on that ensuing drive which ended with Matt Bryant's game winner. Just like Drew Brees is paid to be on the field 20-30 minutes a game and lead the team down the field to score; Hartley is paid to be on the field for 5-10 seconds at a time and make field goals. That especially holds true for clutch kicks such as this and those that are what's to be considered "chip shots." I'm not saying he should make every single kick and that there wasn't a lot of pressure on him, but the kick still should have been made. Now the job of the man who sent the Saints to their first ever Super Bowl could be in serious jeopardy.
||09-28-2010 12:44 PM
the man speaks the truth. GH prolly boarded the plan with the Falcons just to stay alive.
||09-28-2010 10:44 PM
Tony Gonzalez, we could stop him 3, 4th down converstion. And the missed FG.
||09-28-2010 10:52 PM
Article is true.
I know Hartley's miss was just so ,ohhhhh,you felt like your stomach fell.
Many other close calls of the team led up to that overtime.
I just cannot talk about it.
Until N.O.plays Atl Falcons again...
The guys have to stop the close poinbt spread.
It might work sometimes and sometimes , like Sunday, it might not work.
Still a Saints fans. Was when I was growing up. Was 25 yrs. ago when I starting going to the games and will be 25 yrs. from now.
||09-28-2010 11:24 PM
The key play in the loss is NOT the miss from Hartley, but the blitz on fourth and 2 that left Gonzales wide open. A stop there gives momentum, and gives the Saints the win. I think the film room is going to be packed this week. I must say, the Panthers game is a must win now, don't want to go to 0-2 in division games.
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