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Did You Notice…New Orleans Saints @ Baltimore Ravens

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Did you notice how much the Saints offense struggled to move the ball, specifically on third down,where they were an atrocious 5 of 13 for a 38% conversion rate.

New Orleans struggled mightily to muster much offense all game with exception to a few key drives including a 92 yard march down the field for a touchdown in the closing minutes of the second quarter.

Brees was a perfect 9 of 9 during the drive and it appeared that the Ravens defense had been figured out but the Saints could not find similar success in the second half.

The normally prolific offense managed only 269 total yards and when it counted, primarily in the fourth quarter with the game tied, could not sustain drives and attempt the win.

Did you notice how bad the rushing attack was against the Ravens without stellar rookie Chris Ivory running the ball.

Ivory aggravated his hamstring in the first quarter of the Saints win over the St. Louis Rams a weeks ago and was limited all week leading up to game against the Ravens.

He was officially ruled out an hour before the contest and had he been in the lineup with his amazing combination of speed and power the game may have turned out differently.

Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush combined to rush for 16 yards total to average only 1.6 yards per attempt. Julius Jones rushed for 11 yards on four attempts.

In fact Bush finished with -4 yards rushing for the game and was dropped for negative plays of -2, -6 and -10 yards.

The Saints offensive line is considered among one of the best in the league, showing that last year by leading the Saints run game to 131.6 yards per contest and the sixth overall best rushing attack in the NFL.

This season the offensive line has not played to the same level as the Saints are only averaging 95.8 rushing yards per game for the 26th worst run game in the NFL.

Did you notice the ease at which Ravens running back Ray Rice found creases in the Saints defensive front.

Rice nearly single handedly beat the Saints rushing for 153 yards and one score on top of catching five passes for 80 yards with another receiving touchdown.

While Rice is a good running back, and not to take away from his performance, the reason he ran for so many yards was because the Saints defense tackled poorly and rarely kept containment.

Gap control is key to keeping an explosive running back in check, of which the Saints had none, and in most sitautions the linebackers would line up five or more yards off the line of scrimmage leaving huge holes for Rice to slip through.

It looked as if the Saints defense was expecting the play action pass off the run fake more than they expected Rice to actually run the ball.

Did you notice that corner back Jabari Greer left in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury and did not return to the game. Safety Malcolm Jenkins and nickel corner Leigh Torrence took turns filling in for Greer for the rest of the game.

The good news is that all tests on Greer’s knee came back negative for any structural damage and while the Saints will certainly take it cautiously with him this week in practice he should be ready to go next week against the Atlanta Falcons.

Check out Keith Null’s weekly article about the Saints on NFL.com by clicking here.

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