What an unbelievably heartbreaking way to lose a game. The New Orleans Saints fell to the CIncinnati Bengals 30-26 in Week 6, and their entire offensive unit should be rightfully scrutinized.
NOLA held a two-point lead with roughly four minutes to go and had the ball on their 25-yard line. In theory, all the Saints needed was a few strong offensive drives to run down the clock.
Here's where Dennis Allen and Pete Carmichael can shine. Design a smart play for Alvin Kamara or Taysom Hill, secure a first down, and keep the clock running.
Instead, the Saints went three-and-out and had to punt with just over two minutes left in the game. That's two minutes too many considering the Bengals had a very clutch quarterback in Joe Burrow.
Burrow would toss an easy pass to Ja'Marr Chase on the ensuing drive, and Chase took advantage of a lapse in defensive coverage to run it all the way for a touchdown. Game (pretty much) over.
NOLA Saints blow lead with poor offensive play-calling, shanked punt
That second-to-last Saints' offensive drive was really the game-changer on Sunday. NOLA lost all momentum, and it didn't help that Blake Gilikin, one of the league's best punters, shanked his punt to give the Bengals excellent field position on their final drive.
It's unfortunate for Gilikin, for sure, but the Saints could have avoided that tense situation had they closed the game out earlier.
We're not the biggest fans of Taysom Hill here, but why wasn't he included at all during that drive? The Saints had been running well with both Hill and Kamara out of the backfield; rather than dig deep into the playbook and design a disguised run for either of those players, they instead opt for a blander-than-white-toast pair of plays that ended with just six gained yards.
Dalton throws an incompletion on the next down, and just like that, the Saints are forced to punt.
The end of this game was frustrating to watch for a host of reasons, and Dennis Allen and the Saints' coaches deserve to shoulder much of the blame after the disappointing loss.
Chins up for Week 7.