Winning sometimes you lose?
Winning, sometimes, still includes a loss
This is an expanded online report
Gannett News Sevice
September 21, 2004
New Orleans won the game, but lost a whole lot more.
Saints report card
PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â The Saints did much better than in the season opener against the Seahawks. They cut down the number of dropped passes and Aaron Brooks did a solid job in getting the ball to them. Brooks was 25-of-34 for 279 yards and three scores with no interceptions. Donte Stallworth caught a career-high nine passes for 113 yards and the game-winning TD, while Joe Horn had eight receptions for 94 yards and a TD.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â They really deserve an F, but it's difficult to do that when Deuce McAllister is on the bench with a sprained ankle less than five minutes into the game. The Saints managed 46 yards and a 1.9 average with Aaron Stecker leading the way with 41 yards on 15 tries. Stecker, who was the only other running back available, also sprained an ankle and had a strained quad muscle, so the Saints abandoned the running game in the third quarter for fear of getting him hurt.
PASS DEFENSE: C ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â The Saints were able to get a pass rush against Ken Dorsey, but he still completed 18 of 32 attempts for 205 yards after missing his target on his first five attempts in the first period. He was sacked twice and also threw an interception under a heavy rush. Journeyman wide receiver Curtis Conway caught eight passes for 112 yards.
RUSH DEFENSE: D ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â For the second straight week, the Saints gave up a 100-yard game as Kevan Barlow rambled for 114 yards on 20 carries before leaving the game with a rib injury in the second half. He had a long run of 60 yards as the Saints allowed 180 yards and a 5.3 average. Even backups Jamal Robertson and Terry Jackson were effective with 66 yards and a touchdown between them.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â The cover units were OK even the Saints gave the 49ers a first down when they ran into the punter in the fourth quarter. The penalty kept a drive alive and resulted in a go-ahead TD for the 49ers. Michael Lewis was kicked away from on kickoffs, but he averaged 17.0 yards on two punt returns. John Carney was perfect on three field-goal tries and punter Mitch Berger had a net average of 39.0 yards even though he was playing with a pulled groin.
COACHING: B ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â Jim Haslett took the blame for the running into the punter penalty, saying they shouldn't have gone for the block on fourth-and-4 with their best kick blocker, Steve Gleason, sidelined with a concussion. But all in all, the coaching staff did a pretty good job keeping the offense together and devising ways to attack the 49ers' defense with their biggest weapon (McAllister) on the bench with a sprained ankle. - Gannett News Service
Two-time Pro Bowl running back Deuce McAllister, on his third carry of the game with 10:18 to play in the opening quarter, suffered a high-ankle sprain. Saints coach Jim Haslett said on Monday that McAllister is out for four-to-five games.
Since five games would take them into the bye week, it's likely the fourth-year pro will sit until then and return healthy for their first contest after the bye ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â a Nov. 6 matchup with the San Diego Chargers.
For context: Former Saints running back Ricky Williams missed six games with a similar injury in 1999. McAllister sprained the same ankle in a 2002 game with the Atlanta Falcons and missed only one game, but Haslett said this injury is a little more severe.
In trying to come back quickly from the sprained ankle two years ago, McAllister wasn't as effective for the final games as he was earlier in the season. While surgery will not be required, Haslett said McAllister was fitted with a protective boot and he was on crutches Monday.
With McAllister out at least a month, the Saints will turn to backup Aaron Stecker and Ki-Jana Carter to carry the load for a team that has gained just 120 yards and averaged 2.8 yards a carry in the first two games.
Ironically, Stecker, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Tampa Bay Bucs this spring, sprained his ankle and sustained a contusion to his quadriceps muscle in the Saints' 30-27 victory over the 49ers. He had 41 yards on 15 carries and caught six passes for 19 yards.
Carter wasn't even on the roster Sunday. His contract was terminated Saturday because the Saints needed to bring up defensive tackle Shaun Smith from the practice squad, but he was re-signed Monday.
"We'll use both of them," Haslett said. "We'll package them kind of like we did our first year when we had Terry Allen and Chad Morton (when Williams was sidelined by a fractured ankle).
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