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Saints: Observations from the cheap seats, Week 15, the Jets game

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New faces like Griffin continue to be part of the norm, the “next man up” mantra the Saints often use. George Johnson is in his second uniform this season, starting the year in Detroit before being released. The journeyman factored in with a tackle for a loss and a sack while playing just under half the total defensive snaps. Also active for only the third time this year was Al-Quadin Muhammad.

During a game time out, there is a feature shown on the large screens in the Superdome called Us Vs. Them. The premise is they show the opposing teams’ city or team in a skewed or negative light, while showcasing New Orleans; it’s really all in good humor, but they do stick it to the opponents a bit. Best example from this week: the category was Signature Play. For the Jets, it was the infamous “butt fumble”, while for the Saints it was Tracy Porter’s pick-6 in the Super Bowl.

The NFL’s all-time leading scorer was in the house as the former Saints kicker and newly minted NFL Hall of Famer Morten Andersen was here to receive his Hall of Fame ring and have his name entered on the Superdome Ring of Honor.

The 3rd quarter

Part of the reason for the quiet in the Superdome was the way the 3rd quarter went. On the Saints first possession, they got the benefit of an encroachment call before they ran a play. They couldn’t get a single first down even though they started with 1st down and 5 yards to go. They ran a total of 15 offensive plays on 4 possessions in the quarter.

The even had the advantage of getting a takeaway in that quarter and still got nothing. Brandon Coleman fumbled on one possession in the 3rd; then again fumbled on another drive on the first play of the fourth quarter. They had great field position all quarter and squandered it.

Coleman’s fumbles

Interesting observation. After Coleman’s second fumble, Mark Ingram could be seen on the sidelines shouting, apparently at Sean Payton. Payton did seem to retort something to Ingram which made him shout more and several players had to pull Ingram away. It could be that Ingram was yelling for more touches.

With Warford out and running the game with two backup guards, it seemed Payton got conservative in his play calling. Going more to the short passing game. Ingram had only two touches for one yard in the 3rd quarter. Of those 15 offensive plays in that quarter, only five of them were rushing attempts. It could have been that Ingram was frustrated because they weren’t running.

Positive reinforcement

Sean Payton normally chews players out who do poorly. He was seen trying to rally his offense up positively, including Coleman, trying to get him to get his head up.

After the Jets scored their last TD with just two minutes to play, they went for a two-point conversion to try and cut the Saints lead to three points. The try failed even though a likely illegal pick left one receiver wide open.

In the “when it rains, it pours” category, on the onside kick attempt by the Jets, the ball was not fielded cleanly by the Saints and ended up going out of bounds after being muffed. In the attempt to go after the ball out of bounds, a player ended up running into Sean Payton who, defending himself, took the player down.

It was quite the move and the players on the sidelines who noticed loved the ball coach getting in the game. Payton even had a little game face for the special teamer who was taken down by the soon-to-be 54-year-old former QB.