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saint5221 12-04-2003 04:43 PM

KFFL Saints week 14 In Depth Analysis

New Orleans Saints Week 14 Analysis


The New Orleans Saints entered the game against the Washington Redskins with their back against the wall.ÂÂÂ*It was the first game in which they would likely have to win out in order to make the playoffs, and it was coming after a painful defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles.ÂÂÂ*This game would either sink their playoff hopes or give them life with three of the next four games being at home.ÂÂÂ*To further complicate things, the Saints didn’t have two of their top four receivers, their top cornerback and a number of other role players.ÂÂÂ*They responded by putting the game in RB Deuce McAllister’s hands and counting on him to carry the team.ÂÂÂ*Despite being outgained by 82 yards, the Saints came up big when they needed to and shut down the last drive by the Redskins.

The Saints won since they refused to give up, despite being outplayed for a majority of the game.ÂÂÂ*McAllister had 122 rushing yards at halftime, and the Saints were still losing 14-10 thanks to a missed field goal by John Carney and a kickoff returned for a touchdown by Chad Morton.ÂÂÂ*The Saints dominated in the first quarter and forced a turnover, but they weren’t able to capitalize.ÂÂÂ*In the end, they did come up with the big play on the final drive when Jay Bellamy popped Patrick Johnson on a third down attempt that would have been a first down.ÂÂÂ*Instead, Johnson didn’t catch the ball and it forced a must make fourth down.ÂÂÂ*Fakhir Brown made another big play on the fourth down tipping a ball at the last second and stopping the Redskins’ hope of driving for a winning touchdown.


Saints QB Aaron Brooks didn’t play a good game, but he came up huge when he had to.ÂÂÂ*He ran for two TDs, including one on a critical third and goal situation.ÂÂÂ*He also threw a TD threading it between two defenders to give New Orleans the lead for good.ÂÂÂ*He finished the game 14-of-30 for 121 yards with 1 TD and 0 INT.ÂÂÂ*He also had 11 rushing yards on six attempts and 2 TDs, one from seven yard out and the second from three yards out.ÂÂÂ*He was not as accurate as he usually is, but there were some costly drops by the receivers, which did not help the offense’s flow of the game.ÂÂÂ*

In the last three games, Brooks has averaged 212 passing yards, .67 passing TDs, .67 rushing TDs and .67 INTs a game.ÂÂÂ*The offense dominated with the running game, but the passing game was held in check for the most part.ÂÂÂ*In his last four games against Tampa Bay, Brooks has averaged 201 passing yards, 2 TDs and 1.5 INTs per game.ÂÂÂ*

In the past four games, Tampa Bay has given up 188 yards passing a game to opposing QBs, and they have yielded 1.25 TDs a game during the same span.ÂÂÂ*The Buccaneers’ defense against opposing QBs is an above average defense in terms of passing yards allowed.ÂÂÂ*They are one of the better ones in the league, despite the injuries that they have suffered throughout the year.ÂÂÂ*


Saints RB Deuce McAllister had another huge day against the Redskins by rushing for more than 100 yards for the ninth consecutive game.ÂÂÂ*McAllister finished with 165 yards on 30 rushes, and he led the team in receptions with four for another 31 yards.ÂÂÂ*McAllister is the most consistent force on the team and he is playing hard every week.ÂÂÂ*He accounted for 196 of the Saints 310 total yards (more than 63 percent).ÂÂÂ*

In the last three games, McAllister has averaged 174 yards rushing, 48 yards receiving and 1.33 TDs a game.ÂÂÂ*He is the primary weapon in the offense, and the team’s success hinges on his performance.ÂÂÂ*During the same time period, he has been the target of 41 percent of the plays with 100, and this includes 46 percent of the red zone plays where he has been targeted 14 times, and four times were inside the 5.ÂÂÂ*He continues to be a long run threat..ÂÂÂ*Surprisingly, McAllister has done very well in his career against the Bucs, averaging 106 rushing yards and .33 TDs per game against them.ÂÂÂ*In fact, he has rushed for at more than 100 yards in two of those three games, and the other one he rushed for 99 yards.

The Buccaneers are in the lower half of the league in defending the run against RBs over the past four games.ÂÂÂ*During that span, they have given up 110 rushing yards, 18 yards receiving and .5 TDs a game to RBs.ÂÂÂ*This group has had problems defending the run, and McAllister can exploit the weakness he is is one of the best backs in the league.

Saints RB Lamar Smith was signed before the Redskins game to replace Ki-Jana Carter who was put on injured reserve due to an injured foot.ÂÂÂ*Smith is familiar with the West Coast offense having played in Green Bay during the pre-season.ÂÂÂ*He is also familiar with the Saints’ system and personnel as he was in New Orleans a couple of years ago.ÂÂÂ*With RB James Fenderson still injured, Smith will be the primary backup despite a limited knowledge of the offense.ÂÂÂ*Against the Redskins, McAllister had to play the whole game since Fenderson was hurt and Smith was inactive.ÂÂÂ*McAllister will continue to shoulder an increased amount of the offensive load even though he rarely goes out of the game anyway.

The FB in the Saints’ offense is Terrelle Smith, and he is a non-factor when it comes to production despite the two receptions against the Redskins.ÂÂÂ*Smith has no carries and only five receptions for 25 yards this season. His primary role is to serve as a lead blocker on offense.


Without two of the top four receivers, the Saints had virtually no input from the receiving corps against the Redskins.ÂÂÂ*The receivers combined for five catches for 31 yards and no TDs.ÂÂÂ*As a group, they had more drops than they did receptions, and that is unacceptable in a game that could have eliminated them from the playoffs.ÂÂÂ*There were a multitude of penalties against the Redskins cornerbacks, as they played a lot tighter due to the limited threat that the Saints were able to impose.ÂÂÂ*In order to beat Tampa Bay this weekend, the receivers will have to step up as a group or they will kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.

WR Joe Horn finished the game against the Redskins with two receptions for 10 yards and no TDs.ÂÂÂ*After the game against the Eagles, Horn complained about the number of balls throw his way, but he ultimately apologized to the Saints’ coaches saying that he understood why.ÂÂÂ*He played his worst game of the year against the Redskins as Champ Bailey shut him down for the most part, but Horn was able to draw three pass interference penalties at important times in the game.ÂÂÂ*Over the last three games, he has averaged 36 yards and 0 TDs a game.ÂÂÂ*He has been the target in 9.3 percent of the plays (23 targets), and he has been targeted three times in the red zone, which accounts for 9.9 percent of the chances.ÂÂÂ*Horn has also done rather well against the Buccaneers in his career, averaging 6 catches for 77 yards and .75 TDs per game over four games.

WR Jerome Pathon continues to start and put up average numbers.ÂÂÂ*He was never expected to start at the beginning of the season, but he has started every game this year due to injuries to other receivers and impressive play some of the time.ÂÂÂ*He finished the game against the Redskins with two receptions for 14 yards.ÂÂÂ*Over the past three weeks, he has been the target on 8.9 percent of the offensive plays with 22 opportunities, including one red zone chance to account for 3.3 percent of the red zone offense.ÂÂÂ*In his last three games, Pathon has averaged 3.33 catches for 32 yards per game without a TD.ÂÂÂ*While he is the starter, Brooks tends to spread the ball to the receivers, TEs and McAllister if Horn isn’t open.

There are some questions as to whether WRs Donte Stallworth or Michael Lewis will be available to play.ÂÂÂ*Outside of them, the options are Derrick Lewis, a recent addition from the practice squad, and rookie Talman Gardner.ÂÂÂ*Neither Gardner nor Lewis is expected to provide a lot of output, and the questions surrounding Stallworth and Lewis are too big to consider them either.ÂÂÂ*

The Bucs are in the lower half in defending wide receivers with 607 yards or 152 yards per game. They are also giving up an average of .75 TDs and 12 receptions a game during the same span to opposing receivers.


TE Boo Williams continued where he left off against the Eagles, but he had a dip in production.ÂÂÂ*Williams finished the game against the Redskins with three receptions for 43 yards and 1 TD.ÂÂÂ*In addition to his contributions in the receiving department, he also had another good day blocking.ÂÂÂ*He helped open holes well and wasn’t overpowered like he has been sometimes in the past.ÂÂÂ*He really only became a receiving threat over the last two games, when starting TE Ernie Conwell went down with an injury.ÂÂÂ*Since that time, Williams has averaged 6 catches for 77 yards and 1 TD per game.ÂÂÂ*Williams has been the target of 17 plays or 6.9 percent of the plays over the last three weeks.

The Bucs are one of the best teams in the NFL in giving up yards to TEs.ÂÂÂ*Over the past four games, they have given up an average of 19 yards receiving and .25 TDs a game to opposing TEs.ÂÂÂ*The linebacking corps and safeties are very effective in neutralizing the TE.

Saints TEs Walter Rasby and Zack Hilton have not been consistent factors in the offense with very limited production and opportunities due to the focus on the other players.ÂÂÂ*


Tampa Bay has been a below average team against opposing kickers recently.ÂÂÂ*In the last four games, they have averaged 1.75 FGs on 2.25 attempts and 2 PATs a game.ÂÂÂ*That translates to the opportunity for opposing PKs to score a respectable 8.75 points per game.ÂÂÂ*Their defense overall has been disappointing this year, and it isn’t the force that it has been in year’s past.

PK John Carney was 1-for-3 in FGAs against Washington and 3-for-3 on PAT attempts.ÂÂÂ*As the offense has shown some improvement, Carney’s production has increased despite a decrease in accuracy.ÂÂÂ*He has averaged 1 FG and 1.75 PATs per game over the past three weeks, scoring 6.33 points per game.ÂÂÂ*However, Carney has only converted 57.1 percent of his FGAs, as the Saints have given him the opportunity to score 9.33 points per game in that time..ÂÂÂ*


With the status of Michael Lewis and Donte Stallworth up in the air, Keyuo Craver may be the primary returner.ÂÂÂ*He did well returning kicks against the Redskins highlighted by a 52-yard kickoff return to start the Saints winning drive.ÂÂÂ*The defense has improved the last few weeks, but they continue to squander some opportunities for turnovers.ÂÂÂ*They have also been susceptible to the run against a lot of teams.ÂÂÂ*In the past three games, the Saints are averaging 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery and 1.33 sacks a game.ÂÂÂ*They haven’t scored a defensive or special teams TD in that time and are allowing an average of 19.67 offensive points and 367 total yards per game.

The Bucs are averaging 1.25 INTs, 0.75 fumbles and 2.5 sacks a game to opposing defenses the past four games.ÂÂÂ*The Bucs have been error prone throughout most of the season, and they were shut down for more than three quarters the last time they played the Saints.ÂÂÂ*They had six turnovers when they met a few weeks ago and it cost the Bucs the game.

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