NEW ORLEANS -- Brutal. Saints fans, we are trapped in the land of no defense for another 15 weeks. There is no escape, prepare accordingly.
Let the New Orleans Saints 35-34 loss to the Oakland Raiders be a lesson for all of us; As long as Sean Payton is the coach, the concern should ALWAYS be about the defense. It's as if the Saints took having the worst defense in NFL history in 2015 as a challenge and said, "You think 2015 was the WORST? Just you wait."
For like 10 seconds in the fourth quarter I thought, "The 2015 Saints defense weren't this bad were they?"
The Saints gave up 486 yards, didn't have a sack, didn't force a turnover, and while everyone is saying Saints defense collapsed, I'd argue as soon Oakland stopped shooting themselves in the foot, it was smooth driving over the paved road known as the Saints defense.
The Raiders have a very good offensive line, but were without two starters in the fourth quarter and David Carr still had all the time in the world. The Saints have ZERO pass rush and no decent corners besides Delvin Breaux, which is like an airplane without wings or an engine. At that point is it even an airplane or a sad box with wheels? Do the Saints even know what defense is?
If Breaux is out long-term, heaven help poor Dennis Allen, because unless the Saints accidentally stumble into turnovers, opposing teams are gonna melt the scoreboard.
Some of you are probably cursing the referees over the brutal fourth down call(which was awful), but I can't complain too much as the Saints had a bunch of pass interference calls go their way.
Jack Del Rio's going for two was the only call to make. If the game goes into overtime and Saints win the toss, do you think Raiders would stop the Saints from scoring a touchdown? Me neither. What are the odds Del Rio would beat the Saints TWICE on 2 point conversions? He did it in 2002 with Minnesota.
While the Saints defense was its normal failure wagon self, the Saints offense made the preseason teeth-mashing over the offensive line problems was just a bad dream. Is it as simple as Jahri Evans being the key to the entire offensive line? It kind looked like it.
Sean Payton also had a game plan the Raiders had no answers for. After Brees' fumble on the first series the Saints pretty much did whatever they wanted. Only the Saints' defense could squander 419 yards and 4 touchdowns from Drew Brees.
The Saints had 3 receivers catch at least 6 passes, with Brandin Cooks leading the way with 6 for 143 yards and two scores. Cooks, Willie Snead, and Michael Thomas combined for 21 catches, 373 yards, and 3 scores. That's gonna be big fun to watch all year.
Snead had 9 for 172 and proves once again the Saints find no name receivers like you and I eat and drink during football games; it's almost effortless.
So what did Sunday show us? My DOOMSDAY prediction of 4-12 seems unlikely, but the Saints don't look to be escaping 7-9 purgatory in 2016.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecast or download his podcast at Itunes.
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