It wasn't the best of games, but it also wasn't the worst of games. The New Orleans Saints fell early to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9 and just couldn't climb out of this one.
The Saints lost by a final score of 27-13, and while the offense managed to get some points on the board, the unit as a whole flailed and seemingly regressed back to the mean.
Yes, Week 8 was a fluke. Week 9 was a jolting dose of reality.
It's pathetic enough that no team in the NFC South is above .500, but the Saints have now dropped to six losses with no light at the end of this tunnel.
Here are some stats from Week 9's loss that were hard to swallow.
Time of possession
It's a matter of common sense: the longer a team has the ball, the more likely they will score and thus the more likely they will win the game.
Baltimore possessed the ball for nearly 40 minutes on Monday night; New Orleans clocked in at just 22 minutes and 13 seconds.
It didn't help that Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' rushing attack was gashing the Saints all game and running down the clock. But by and large this is the Saints' offense's problem as NOLA went three-and-out too quickly and far too many times this game.
As is the case in most games this season, the Saints need to develop more consistent offensive rhythm and they need to give their defense a break every once in a while.
48 total rushing yards
After Alvin Kamara's incredible rushing performance in Week 8, it comes as a huge disappointment to see him log just 30 yards on the ground in Week 9. Baltimore's stout run defense barely gave him any space to work with, and Kamara's longest run was for 10 yards.
NOLA netted 48 rushing yards on Monday, which needless to say is a very underwhelming result. The Saints also continued to deviate away from Taysom Hill packages as Hill recorded just 17 offensive snaps (he had one carry for nine yards).
This is a bit of a head-scratcher, and Hill's weekly inconsistent usage doesn't bode well for the offense's future success.
4 sacks on Dalton
The Saints' O-line hasn't produced terrible results of late, yet they noticeably struggled to protect Andy Dalton against Baltimore's well-coordinated blitzes. The four sacks on Dalton don't even tell the whole story: all game long, the Ravens bullied the Saints in the trenches, forcing Dalton to make quick plays under pressure.
As fans well know, Dalton is not good as making plays in those scenarios, and the Saints ended up punting the ball more often than desired and failing to light any kind of spark in the passing game.
A significant caveat should be pointed out here: center Erik McCoy left the game in the second quarter due to injury and didn't return.
Sean Payton's comments
This technically doesn't count as a stat, but it's worth noting nonetheless. On ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast with Peyton and Eli Manning, special guest Sean Payton joined the show toward the end of the game and made a particularly loaded remark.
Naturally, Payton was asked about his future plans in coaching to which he simply swatted away all rumors. However, the former Saints coach did open up Pandora's box with a casual comment on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Payton said that Jackson, who is currently playing out his rookie contract, has a chance to be a free agent in 2023, and that he himself also has a chance to be a free agent.
What are you getting at, Sean Payton??!! Why stir the pot in the first place?
After Week 9's results, Saints' fans are probably hoping that their beloved old coach will come back, though that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now. And so the dark and gloomy Dennis Allen era continues.