Tough New Orleans Saints Loss: Observations from the cheap seats

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after fumbling the ball during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after fumbling the ball during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Why the Saints lost

The Saints sport a solid run defense and the Vikings decided to put that to the test Sunday.

They were highly successful. While the Saints still didn’t give up a 100-yard rusher, Dalvin Cook did more than enough to the Saints to secure a victory. The Vikings basically punched the Saints in the mouth and dared them to punch back.

The Saints didn’t.

Kirk Cousins hasn’t been good in playoff games, but he HAS been good against the Saints.

That was one more factor to consider in gearing up for this game. Cousins has a big-time arm and can make all the throws. Sometimes he’s erratic or tries to do too much, but he’s not shown that much against the Saints.

Across the board, this team created matchup problems for the Saints.

Their defensive line was quick off the ball and truly tested our offensive linemen. If you want to count the ways you lose games, this is number one – lose the line of scrimmage battles. We lost upfront. Drew Brees was pressured often and forced to throw before he wanted to.

On the other side of the ball, the Vikings didn’t necessarily gash the Saints upfront, but they did run a ton of stretch plays to great effect. It’s a type of run the Saints seem to struggle against. The Vikings rushed for a solid 136 yards against the Saints.

This was their offensive game plan – force the Saints to stop the run, take shots downfield when available and keep the Saints offense off the field. They succeeded in those things.

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