After three weeks of action, the New Orleans Saints are proving that they are not a good football team. They're honestly lucky to be 1-2 at this point but that victory in Week 1 feels like a loooong time ago.
The Saints are most recently coming off a 22-14 loss to the Panthers and that final score makes the game look way closer than it actually was. New Orleans' offense was downright atrocious, failing to score their 14 points until the final quarter of action. If all that counted was the fourth quarter, the Saints would probably be at least 2-1 right now but that's not how the sport works. Teams can't wait until the fourth quarter and expect to win every week.
With this disgusting game in the rearview mirror, why don't we check out a few stats that were unacceptable?
Only 84 yards rushing
It's flat-out inexcusable for an offense with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram at running back to have under 100 yards rushing but that's exactly what we saw transpire in the 22-14 loss on Sunday. Kamara had just 61 yards rushing off of 15 carries and averaged a mere 4.1 yards per carry. Not good.
Ingram had a touchdown run but otherwise ran for just 18 yards on five carries. The touchdown makes things better, yes, but this was a piss-poor effort from a unit that we expect so much more from.
The offensive line is probably to blame for a lot of this as well but at this point, is it surprising that they're this bad?
Allowing second 100+ yard rusher in just 3 games
It feels like a long time ago but remember in Week 1 when Cordarrelle Patterson rushed for over 100 yards against what's supposed to be a vaunted Saints defense? Well, as impressive as this Saints defense was on Sunday, they once again allowed a 100-yard rusher.
This time, it was Christian McCaffrey with the big game. The former first-round pick out of Stanford finished the day with 25 carries for 108 yards but only averaged 4.3 yards per carry. The average yards per carry shows that the Saints weren't letting him break off on big runs but he still managed to finish the day with over 100 yards on the ground.
It's hard to be too upset with the defense for their performance but they have to stop letting opponents run the ball down their throats.
2 missed field goals
Wil Lutz used to be as clutch as they came when it came to NFL kickers. Perhaps this was simply a bad day at the office for Lutz or maybe it's regression hitting the 28-year-old Georgia State product.
Lutz was first asked to attempt a 30-yard field goal that would have made the game 13-3. Well, that attempt was blocked and the Saints went into the locker room at the half down 13-0. Yucky.
After a 14-play drive to kick off the second half, the Saints again turned to Lutz in a time of need. The kicker attempted a 48-yard field goal and fans' hearts sank when the kick sailed wide right. Nothing was going right for New Orleans and this missed kick proved just that.
If Lutz converted on those kicks, we're looking at a 13-6 Panthers lead not long into the second half. From there, it's an entirely different ball game and who knows what ends up happening? Lutz has to do his job and make the kicks when called upon, especially with how bad the offense has been.
7 penalties for 58 yards
Any time the Saints seemed to do something good, a yellow flag went flying and the good guys ended up going backwards instead.
I included a tweet below from Luke Johnson where he notes that the Saints would have converted a first down but a penalty wiped it out. Erik McCoy was called twice for holding and while I'm a huge fan of McCoy and am glad the team extended him, he was part of the problem on Sunday.
All in all, this was just a really gross game and I felt like I needed a shower after it was done. Jameis Winston was bad even if his numbers don't show that, the offensive line continued to struggle, and while the defense held the Panthers the best they could, Carolina still got the necessary points to win the game.
Next up is the Minnesota Vikings in jolly ol' England next Sunday morning.