Before yesterday’s match-up we examined some of the things to watch for during the contest, one being the run game, moreover Payton’s ability to not abandon it at the first sign of trouble.
In the third quarter Ingram looked like he had found his rhythm after rushing for nine yards on 2nd and 9, nine yards on 2nd and 10, and five yards on 2nd and 1 during the same offensive possession.
He was benched, the offense stalled, and Brees was sacked for -13 yards. Instead of getting a touchdown they settled for a field goal. Why not keep running Ingram is the questions, he was doing very well.
Late in the third quarter (5:57 remaining) on 3rd and 1 from the Packers seven yard line Ingram was given the ball to attempt to gain the yard, but but he failed to convert for the first down.
Needing a score the call was made to go for it on fourth down. Payton opted to put the ball in the air rather then try to get the first down on the ground.
Brees was flushed out of the pocket and narrowly escaped a sack, the pass was incomplete towards Pierre Thomas.
Re-visiting the very last play and another short yardage blunder, the Saints were on the one yard line with no time on the clock attempting to tie the game. Keep in mind that earlier Payton opted not to hand off to Ingram on fourth down.
Green Bay lined up in a heavy formation expecting the run, and Ingram to attempt the leaping touchdown score. Play-action may have been the better call, but in the end Ingram was stopped well short of the goal line.
Admirably Payton put the game in his rookies hands, but the call at the time as simply the wrong one.
Payton had abandon the run earlier in the game for fear of not getting the needed yardage, so it seems bizarre he would make the call to keep it on the ground during perhaps the most critical play of the game.
The Saints will face another stiff run defense when they take Chicago Bears on September 18th. Payton has to stick to running the ball regardless of the outcome as it will pay off in the end.
Had these plays mentioned above turned out differently then the Saints would have emerged from Lambeau Field winners, not losers.