The New Orleans Saints are 0-4 after losing 28-27 on the road to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, September 30. The one-point loss to a team who has been at the top of the NFC over the past few years should be somewhat encouraging, but to Saints fan with hopes of seeing our team in the postseason this year, it is still a fourth defeat for a winless team. Coming back from an 0-4 start to earn a playoff spot is virtually impossible, but the Saints have more immediate issues to solve if they want to win their first game.
The Saints' passing offense looked better than it has all season. Quarterback Drew Brees needed 54 passing attempts, but he kept the Saints in the game with 446 yards, three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Receiver Marques Colston had his best game of the year with nine catches for 153 yards and a score, while Joseph Morgan ran his only reception in for an 80-yard touchdown. Tight end Jimmy Graham and receiver Lance Moore had seven catches each.
However, the team's running game struggled against Green Bay. Mark Ingram continued to average under three yards per attempt, carrying five times for 11 yards and a long of three. Pierre Thomas was not any better, gaining 14 yards on nine tries. Darren Sproles was the best rushing option for the team and contributed 20 rushing yards and 44 receiving yards, while also bringing in a touchdown reception.
Although the offense is still not putting up the 30+ points needed to win big games in the past, the New Orleans defense is borderline embarrassing at this point. Patrick Robinson finally hauled in an interception, something fans have been waiting for, but overall Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had an easy day carving up the defense. Rodgers finished with 319 yards and four touchdowns, seemingly scoring at will in the first half and on the final touchdown drive.
The Saints' defense is also still not doing enough to stop the run. Packers running back Cedric Benson's long run was only nine yards, which is an improvement for the Saints. Still, with an average of 4.7 yards on 18 carries, Benson had plenty of running room all day.
The next test for New Orleans will come from the San Diego Chargers in a Sunday night home game on October 7. The following week is a bye week for the team, and it would be great to enter the bye with a little bit of momentum.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.
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