Ingram, Graham Lone Bright Spots in Saints loss to Browns


Sep 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A late defensive meltdown to allow a Browns game-winning field goal caused the Saints to fall to the Browns in Cleveland. The Saints committed mistakes on both offense and defense  that contributed to the loss.

Last season Mark Ingram drew the ire of Who Dat Nation, but in this game he was one of the lone bright spots on a team that couldn’t get its offense clicking until the second half.

Mark Ingram finished the day with rushing for 83 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown and three receptions for 21 yards. He displayed physical running and decisiveness running in and out of his cuts.

His success on the ground allowed the Saints to maintain a balanced offense in the second half that generated over 250 yards. The Saints displayed the ability to play smash mouth football with Ingram toting the ball.

Ingram’s vision seems to have improved has he was able to cut back on several running plays to gain first downs. He remained elusive in the passing game and had the awareness to make sure he got close to first downs whenever he had the ball.

As soon as the offense got clicking in the second half, so did Jimmy Graham. The All-Pro tight end racked up 10 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

Cleveland’s secondary shut down most of the Saints receivers, but had no answer for Jimmy Graham. Graham made incredible catches despite being covered by the Browns best corner, Joe Haden.

Brees leaning on Jimmy Graham during the game is no surprise. Ingram having another good day on the ground is very encouraging for the Saints looking to establish an identity running the ball.

The defense improved but not nearly enough to re-establish the confidence that Saints fans had in in the unit going into the season. Quarterback Drew Brees admitted that the slow start on offense allowed the Browns defense and crowd to gain confidence during the course of the game.

The Saints were shocked by the Browns today, but going forward Ingram has proven himself to be a reliable runner when the Saints need him most. The Saints will be back in the Superdome next week when they face off against the Minnesota Vikings.