New Orleans Saints: Recap from loss to Arizona Cardinals

I’m not quite sure what to make of the New Orleans Saints loss to the Arizona Cardinals to open up the 2015 NFL regular season.  I can say this — Sean Payton and company are great at handing out heart attacks.

In a game brimming with highs and lows, it ended on a bad note, thanks to a combination of penalties, miscommunication, and some questionable play calling.  I’m not quite sure what Sean Payton was thinking at the end there where the Saints probably should have gone for it on fourth down, but it locked up a Cardinals win with a final score of 31-19 over New Orleans.

It was tough environment for the Black and Gold to enter to kick off their season.  The Cardinals were arguably the best team in the NFL in 2014 before Carson Palmer‘s season ended early.

Again, there were some highs and lows in the game for the New Orleans Saints.  Perhaps the most worrisome trait to begin the year was the team’s inability to execute in key situations.  It also seems that the penalty problem during the preseason never vanished, particularly rookie corner Delvin Breaux, who was flagged several times for being too physical, which is something he can and likely will adjust.  The Cardinals took advantage and picked on Breaux all afternoon.

But without further ado, let’s take a look at the New Orleans Saints leaders from this afternoon’s game.

Passing
Drew Brees – 30 of 48, 355 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing
Mark Ingram – 9 ATT, 24 YDS
Khiry Robinson – 8 ATT, 24 YDS

Receiving
Mark Ingram – 8 REC, 98 YDS
Willie Snead – 1 REC, 63 YDS
Khiry Robinson – 5 REC, 51 YDS
Brandin Cooks – 4 REC, 49 YDS
Brandon Coleman – 4 REC, 41 YDS, 1 TD

Kicking
Zach Hocker – 4 of 4 FG, 1 of 1 XP

Defensive
Damian Swann – 6 Tackles, 1 Pass defended
Delvin Breaux – 4 TKL, 1 AST, 1 PD, 1 Fumble recovery
Hau’oli Kikaha – 4 TKL, 1 AST
John Jenkins – 4 TKL, 1 AST
Stephone Anthony – 3 TKL, 1 AST, 1 TKL for loss, 1 PD
Cam Jordan 2 TKL, 2 TKL for loss, 2 PD, 1 QB Hurry

My co-editor, John Hendrix gave some of the bright spots, and, well, some of the not so bright spots in his reaction to the New Orleans Saints’ loss:

Bright Spots

  • Zach Hocker went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts (37, 23, 45, 33).
  • Mark Ingram was exceptional in the passing game, catching a career high 8 receptions for 98 yards.
  • Willie Snead’s lone catch of the game went for 63 yards.
  • Rookie Damian Swann led all Saints defenders with 6 solo tackles.
  • Hau’oli Kikaha forced a fumble in the 3rd quarter after great pursuit.

The Not So Hot Stuff

  • The Saints offense went 7/18 on 3rd down, which was 38 percent efficiency.
  • The team was penalized 7 times for 73 yards – Delvin Breaux was flagged several times in his first game.
  • The defense turned in 5/10 on 3rd down.
  • Rafael Bush left the game with a chest injury, and did not return.
  • Marques Colston had several drops, which could have extended drives. Ultimately, one resulted in an interception off his hands.

While the loss was disappointing, because nobody wants to see their team lose the season opener, it should not be discouraging.  I picked the Saints to lose in Arizona, but I still have them winning the NFC South.

There is a lot of football left to be played.  The New Orleans Saints will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday in a division matchup for the home opener in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in what should be a fairly easy contest.  Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston and the Bucs were destroyed to kick off their season, falling to fellow rookie QB Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans, 42-14.