Much of the Saints starters playing time was limited against Tampa Bay because the game had no real substance other than their playoff position (5th Seed).
The Atlanta score helped Saints coach Sean Payton to decide early on how long his starters would play in this game against the Buc’s.
For the Saints it seemed every quarter they had a starter on offense or defense leave the game with some type of injury and not return.
The first player to leave the game due to injury for the Saints was Safety Malcolm Jenkins who left with 11:54 in the first quarter after tackling Tampa running back LeGarrette Blount.
Blount finished the game withjust 66 yards on 19 carries and no touchdowns.
Then rookie sensation Jimmy Graham limped off the field with an undisclosed ankle injury and went to the locker room, this after catching the Saints only touchdown, his 5th of the season.
Rookie running back Chris Ivory (Saints leading rusher) was pulled early in the second quarter also with an undisclosed ankle injury after pounding the Buccaneers defense for 33 yards on just 7 carries.
Hopefully it was for precautionary reasons only.
The Saints have had to many injuries to their running backs this year and it has been very difficult to get any kind of rhythm on offense without a consistent running game.
Against Tampa Bay Reggis Bush looked like the Reggie of old when he rushed for 70 yards and had 55 yards receiving, he showed flashes of power even running over defenders.
Bush is not the type of running back that can carry the ball 20 to 30 times for a complete game like Thomas or Ivory but the performance was one of his better in recent memory.
Pierre Thomas, who had previously missed 9 games this season with a severe ankle injury, was put on the inactive list after tweaking the same ankle in practice on Friday.
New Orleans has plenty of other injuries to contens with as receiver Marques Colston had arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday on his right knee.
Once again the Saints has to rely on Drew Brees more than ever and it showed in his passing yards, completions and also his interceptions.
Having all of the Saints running backs for the post season will be a big help, but they also need to be consistent, Chris Ivory is the only back that seems to be in rhythm with Drew Brees and the rest of the offensse.
Pierre Thomas has missed too many games and he’s not running like last year, although he showed signs that he can, looking at the way he ran against the Falcons in week 16.
But he has missed most of the season and has not been able to help his team when they need him most.
Getting all of the starters back on both sides of the ball may not be enough to make a big push in the playoffs and win the Super Bowl, they need to be able to come back and play like the well oiled team from last season.
Who Dat Believes in them Saints WE DO! GEAUX SAINTS!
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