Saints News

Saints – Panthers wild card: Observations from the cheap seats

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07: Drew Brees
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07: Drew Brees /
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The old guard

The Saints brought back the old guard this week. They invited several of the old Saints players from the 2009 Super Bowl team to participate in the festivities. The highlight was having Reggie Bush as an honorary captain, then having Bush and the old guys lead the Who Dat chant. During the game they had the former players sprinkled in different spots around the stadium and would focus a camera on them cheering to get the fans fired up.

The coaching

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 07: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts before the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 07: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts before the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

This was not Sean Payton’s finest coaching performance. On the first drive, the Saints had the ball 3rd and 2. The play call was a jet sweep with Ginn running. I know the thought was to catch Carolina sleeping on Ginn, but the play resulted in a four yard loss. It wasn’t the best play call.

Then in the 4th quarter out of the two minute warning, there was a 4th and two. The Saints lined up and tried to draw the Panthers offside, to no avail. After a time out, instead of going for the punt to trap them deep, the Saints go with a pass play. They took away Brees’ first option and the second option was covered as well.

On a 4th and 2, if that happens, you’re dead in the water. Brees forced a pass and was intercepted by Carolina. So instead of having the ball with at worst 80 yards to go, they got it on their own 31. That’s at least one first down they didn’t have to get with 1:51 left to play. Punting there was the wiser choice. Yes, if you have the play that works, the game is over. But the Saints were hitting big plays against them, not so much the smaller ones.

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