New Orleans’ unbelievable 13-game win streak came to a close Saturday night in the Superdome.
To put things in perspective, the Saints’ longest streak previously was nine games. Their previous best start was 7-0.
So, yeah, the loss to Dallas stings. But talk about obliterating team records.
So, what’s at stake Sunday against Tampa Bay? Well, a win hands the Saints the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so that’s kind of big.
It’s All History
The Saints are 21-14 all-time against Tampa Bay, but the series is best known for close games. In 15 of the past 19, the difference has been seven points or fewer. And in six of those games, a field goal has been the decider.
New Orleans has a 12-7 advantage over Tampa Bay in the Superdome and under Head Coach Sean Payton the Saints are 4-3 against the Buccaneers.
New Orleans’ highest point total came in 1987 when the Saints scored a 44-34 win. While the Saints haven’t been shut out, they’ve come close, scoring only a field goal in a 10-3 loss in 2005.
Tampa’s fewest points came in a 9-3 Saints win in 1998 while the Bucs most points came in a 48-21 win over New Orleans in 2001.
The longest win streak for either team is six games, held by the Saints from Oct. 23, 1983 through Sept. 25, 1988. Tampa has never won more than two in a row, done five times.
The Saints have 163 total drives this season, scoring a touchdown on 52 of them and kicking field goals on 20 others. That means the Saints are scoring on 44.2 percent of their drives, a pretty good clip considering opponents are scoring on only 30.8 percent of their possessions.
New Orleans is even better inside the red zone. The Saints have entered the red zone 66 times this season, scoring touchdowns on 39 of them and kicking field goals 17 other times. They’ve missed field goals three times, thrown an interception once, fumbled once and turned the ball over on downs three times. Twice the game ended with the Saints inside the 20. Opponents are scoring only 76.9 percent of the time they enter the red zone.
Looking at turnovers, the Saints again are on a roll. New Orleans has picked up 24 interceptions and 13 fumbles while the Saints have turned over the ball 24 times (11 interceptions and 13 fumbles). The plus-13 differential is third in the NFL and a huge turn around from 2008, when the Saints ended the year minus-four.
Statistically speaking, the Saints are at their best at the end of halves. In the second quarter, they’ve outscored opponent by 90 (170-80) while in the first, they’ve been outscored by 18 (71-99). In the fourth quarter, the Saints have outscored opponents by 105 points (139-34) while in the third, New Orleans is outscoring opponents by only 15 points (100-85).
Saints in the NFL since 2006
- NFL points per game leader: No. 2 with 1,738 (New England No. 1)
- NFL total offense leader: No. 1 with 24,490 yards (New England No. 2)
- Most yards after catch: No. 1 with 8,639 yards (New England No. 2)
- Least sacks allowed: No. 2 with 71 (Indianapolis No. 1)
3's Company (third-down analysis)
173 plays overall of which 45 were runs and 128 were passes. They have averaged 4.42 yards per run and 7.71 yards per pass play.
- Third-and-short (1-2 yards) - 24 runs, 19 first downs; 14 passes, 5 first downs
- Third-and-(3-5) - 9 run, 3 first down; 48 passes, 32 first downs
- Third-and-(6-10) - 5 runs, 1 first downs; 40 passes, 15 first downs
- Third-and-(11-15) - 7 run, 0 first downs; 14 passes, 4 first downs
- Third-and-(16-plus) - 0 runs, 0 first downs; 12 passes, 2 first downs
What stands out? Well, the Saints didn’t run for on a single third-down attempt against Dallas, meaning they weren’t in any running situations. Furthermore, none of their third downs were third-and-short, meaning all were third-and-three or longer.