A lot has been made about the Bears’ struggles to move the ball in this game, but let’s not act like the Saints were an offensive juggernaut. Overall, they averaged just 5.1 yards/play. For perspective, that is what Chicago averaged this season.
Generally, it is okay to have one poor offensive showing.
However, for the Saints, it is clear that there are limitations to their offense. They ranked just 13th in yards/play this season, which is the lowest rank ever in the Sean Payton–Drew Brees era. Does that feel like the type of offense that is going to elevate them to a Super Bowl title?
A major problem for the Saints has been their reliance on their rushing attack.
Overall, this causes them to be rather inconsistent since rushing offenses are extremely volatile. Well, against a strong front seven, they averaged just 3.5 yards/carry, and, as a result, their success on early downs was much worse.
Remember, they are about to face the No. 1 run defense in the NFL.
For the record, New Orleans’ offense hasn’t stepped up against better defenses this season. Against the Bucs, 49ers, Bears, and Chargers, who all are above-average defenses in terms of yard/play, they failed to pass for over 7 yards/attempt and rush for 4 yards a carry.
Why would this be the case? Well, they are very reliant on opposing defenses “messing up”, since they cannot be explosive and are a run-heavy attack.
We hear a lot about how the Saints offense isn’t as successful in the playoffs, and although playoff games aren’t any different than a regular-season game, there is some truth to that.
In the postseason, you are going to face better defenses, which means your reliance on an efficient offense with no big plays is less likely to work. This was evident against Chicago, and there is reason to be concerned that this can happen as well against Tampa Bay.