New Orleans Saints had a chance to win a game against one of the toughest defenses in the league this past Sunday, but the lack of a running game — 27 yards on 14 carries between running backs Pierre Thomas, Julius Jones and Reggie Bush — really hurt the Saints against the Ravens.
Once they stopped the Saints running backs and forced the Saints to be one dimensional, the Ravens defense pinned their ears back and rushed quarterback Drew Brees who finished the game going 29 of 42 for 242 yards, 1 interception and three touchdowns.
The Saints run defense struggled all day trying to stop the running attack by Baltimore’s Ray Rice who had 153 yards rushing and 233 total yards form scrimmage which was a career high.
After coming back in the second half to tie the game at 24 Rice ripped through the Saints defense for his longest run of the day going 50 yards down to the Saints 32 yard line
The Saints defense held the Ravens to a field goal to be down only 27 to 24 with 10:03 left in the fourth quarter and only down by 3 points New Orleans kept trying to score and take the lead but Baltimore’s defense forced the Saints to back-to-back three and out’s.
The Saints still had another opportunity to tie or go ahead with a score late in the game, but the Saints inability to run the ball forced the them to throw and with a couple of dropped passes that setup a 4th and 8 Drew Brees had his pass partially blocked and intercepted by one of Baltimore’s defensive lineman to seal the game.
If the Saints defense had been able to slow down or stop the onslaught of rushing yards by running back Ray Rice and forced Baltimore’s quarterback Joe Flacco to throw the ball more, this game would have had a different outcome.
The Saints go against the NFC leading Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome next Monday night to face an Atlanta team that has reeled off 8 straight wins and has already clinched a playoff spot.
Atlanta won the last meeting against the Saints in week 3 after Saints place kicker Garrett Hartley missed a chip shot field goal of 29 yards.
While the Saints players are not happy at all with the way they played in Baltimore, they are not a team that broods on past failures. They learn from them and they are looking forward to this meeting between division rivals.
The entire Saints team are very upset for letting this game get away from them. Any time you have the opportunity to win a game of this caliber on the road against a playoff bound team, every team member needs to play his best, against the Baltimore Ravens the Saints didn’t do that and are looking forward to a little redemption against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Saints had opportunities and just didn’t take advantage of them in Baltimore. Look out Atlanta!! Who Dat believes in them Saints WE DO GEAUX SAINTS!
Check out Keith Null’s weekly article about the Saints on NFL.com by clicking here.