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papz 01-12-2014 08:32 AM

John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory
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Seattle – The improvement, from one month to the next, was substantial, palpable and undeniably noticeable.

But it wasn’t quite enough for the New Orleans Saints on Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, with a berth in the NFC championship game on the line. It wasn’t quite enough for the Saints to rally from a 16-0 deficit, which eventually became a 23-15 loss in front of 68,388, a record crowd for the stadium that watched the Seahawks (14-3) end the Saints’ season at 12-6.

Less than six weeks after the Seahawks beat New Orleans 34-7 in a nationally televised, Monday night game Dec. 2, the Saints pushed Seattle harder and farther than the first time before succumbing.

“I was proud of how our guys fought and competed this year,” Coach Sean Payton said. “They found a way to win 12 games. Obviously, it wasn’t enough for what we aspire to do.”

But a year after the team finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs, the Saints completed a significant turnaround, falling one game shy of winning the NFC South and winning the first road playoff game in franchise history, a 26-24 victory in Philadelphia over the Eagles on Jan. 4.

And mere weeks after a 27-point loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field – during which New Orleans was held to 188 yards, Seattle rolled up 429 yards, quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns and Seattle converted seven of 14 third-down attempts – the Saints reversed many of those numbers.

New Orleans totaled 409 yards, with quarterback Drew Brees completing 24 of 43 passes for 309 yards and a touchdown in the wind (gusts up to 30 mpg) and rain. Wilson completed just nine of 18 passes for a career-low 103 yards and was sacked three times.

The Seahawks converted five of 14 third-down attempts and had just four first downs in the second half, and the Saints had possession for almost 18 minutes of the second half.

But Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch broke loose for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, accounting for more than half of Seattle’s 277 yards. And the Seahawks took advantage of several critical errors by the Saints – including a lost fumble by running back Mark Ingram (10 carries, 49 yards), eight penalties totaling 74 yards and two missed field goals by Shayne Graham – to scratch together enough points and stops to win.

“We had opportunities,” Payton said. “We just weren’t able to get enough points.”

Read more: John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory

WhoDatFan26 01-12-2014 10:09 AM

Re: John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory
Man, we blew a Golden Oppurtunity. We had the game within our grasp at all times. I more pissed off after this game than the blowout.

joker-saint 01-12-2014 04:01 PM

Re: John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory
Ingram fumble was the worst part.

hagan714 01-12-2014 04:13 PM

Re: John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory
were to start? why repeat it? just listen to radio or TV and hear them make a joke of us. error upon error killed us.

LivnaLieTimay 01-12-2014 04:27 PM

Re: John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory
I said this in another thread but close playoff games like yesterday's usually come down to which team capitalizes on their opportunities. Seattle made the most of their opportunities while we did nothing with our opportunities. I like to look at opportunities as points in the game that are a direct result of the other team messing up.

The first big opportunity was the shanked punt from Morestead. This is essentially a turnover. They got the ball at our 40 and had a 3rd and 11. We got flagged for a weak unnecessary roughness but Seattle took advantage and got a FG.

The next opportunity came with the Ingram fumble. This was not a hit that should of caused a fumble IMO but Seattle capitalized with a quick TD.

Finally, when we got a break on the shanked punt by Seattle giving us the ball at midfield (again, a shanked punt is almost like a turnover) we wound up failing on a 4th down where Colston was wide open but Wagner somehow got his hand on the throw.

The last gift in the game was when we got lucky on the deep pass to Meach. That's a ball that should of been picked but it bounced right into Meach's hands that gave us the ball on the 25 in a one possession game in the 4th quarter. Instead of taking advantage we went backwards 5 yards and missed a FG.

These were the 4 opportunities that were given to the other team. Seattle got 10 points on their 2 gifts from us while we got nothing on our 2 gifts. You just can't go on the road in the playoffs and not take advantage of your opportunities. Future looks bright though and we'll be back in contention next year. Just need to learn from these mistakes so we don't make them again.

AlaskaSaints 01-12-2014 05:49 PM

Re: John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory
We abandoned the run while it was working.
Not forgivable.
Sean Payton needs a reality check, and last year sitting out was no help or reflection on him. He had nothing to lose this year and had an excuse if we fell flat.

We've been living in mediocrity since the Super Bowl win, which we are fortunate to have.

On to next year.

Maybe we can manage to win this Division and not back into the playoffs.


Utah_Saint 01-12-2014 06:16 PM

Re: John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory

Originally Posted by AlaskaSaints (Post 573060)
We've been living in mediocrity since the Super Bowl win, which we are fortunate to have.

The Saints are 42-22 for a .656 winning percentage since winning the Super Bowl. Just my opinion but that's LONG way from mediocrity. I would guess there's only a couple teams that have a better record over that period.

blackangold 01-12-2014 07:55 PM

Re: John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory
Ingrams fumble cost us the game IMO... going down 13-0 so quickly into the game was exactly what happen last time we played them. We did a great job trying to fight back but you can't give a D like the hawks that much room.

fischware 01-13-2014 10:27 AM

Re: John DeShazier: Saints can't turn 'opportunities' into victory
I Think SF will win in Seattle. I Think Denver will win. I think SF will win it all. I'm hoping Justin Smith retires; SF defense will be brought down 2 notches if he does.

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