What to make of the Saints 16-14 squeaker against the Carolina Panthers? Quality teams find a way to win no matter the situation, but quality teams also don't turnover the ball in crucial moments. The Saints dominated time of possession but also had two drives for a combined 137 yards and 0 points. The Saints finally outran an opponent for the first time this year, but were just 1-of-5 in the red zone.
Maybe the Saints are just really nice at heart. For all the talk of "Bringing the Wood" the Saints don't seem to every really blowout opponents do they? The Saints won 9 of their first 11 games last year by 10 or more points. Then came their wild game in Washington which they won by a field goal in overtime. Since then, the Saints have won by a touchdown or more just twice. Then again, how you get wins is nitpicking when your team's gone 19-4 since the start of last season.
Let's eat some imaginary food.
—- Drew Brees —-
33-of-48 for 275 yards and a touchd/YAWN. I'm sorry, this guy is so consistently good it's actually kind of boring. I want to see Brees pull some Harlem Globetrotter stunts and dump a bucket of confetti on a defender before throwing a no-look 90-yard touchdown pass. He's pretty much done everything else already.
—- Usama Young —-
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams loves exotic blitzes and defensive players that can make an impact all over the field. Young played his role to perfection this game, providing solid coverage over the top (aside from the Jonathan Stewart's 55-yard touchdown, the Panthers had just one passing play over 14 yards) and earning his first sack of his career.
—- John Carney —-
Would you be surprised if, in 10 years, the Saints still haven't figured out their kicking situation and bring in a 56-year-old Carney to knock 'em through the uprights for a bit. We can only hope the the Garrett Hartley was paying attention to how to make field goals shorter than 40 yards.
—- The Saints Running Game —- For the first time all season, the Saints managed to out-rush an opponent and they still couldn't win by more than three points. Chris Ivory had a terrible fumble, but the fact is that and Ladell Betts were able to run the ball consistently well for most of the game. You gotta hope this turns into a trend for the Saints.
—- Saints Wide Receivers —- There were a few dropped passes and Lance Moore's fumble hurt, but I'm beginning to think that they stand out more this season because we got so used to the Saints scoring on long pass plays all last season. Against Carolina, though, all but two Saints pass catchers averaged better than eight yards per reception. Not too shabby.
—- SPOILED CRAWFISH —-
—- DeAngelo Williams —-
He completely made a fool of the Saints defense when he cut back against a play that would've been for a loss and turned into a 39-yard touchdown. That makes him just the latest running back to expose the Saints' defense's tendency to over pursue and expose themselves to big gains on the ground. Shame on you, DeAngelo. Shame. On. You.
—- Jonathan Stewart —-
Same thing as Williams except Stewart exposed the Saints tendency this season to give up a big pass play every game. He was wide open on his 55-yard touchdown catch and almost fell down, meaning gravity did a better job covering Stewart than the Saints.
—- Boo Dats —- On several occasions when the Saints failed to score or failed to stop the Panthers, you could actually hear a smattering of boos throughout the Superdome. While Sunday's game was indeed hard to watch, Saints fan have no business booing this team. All together now: The Saints are Super Bowl Champions. Now repeat that to yourself 100 times and call me in the morning.
—- ROOM-TEMPERATURE ABITA —-
—- Lance Moore —-
His fumble on the goal line in the first quarter was a killer, but the Panthers didn't score off the play. Moore also made up for it with a touchdown on the Saints' next drive. Plus he's gotta have something to wash down that gumbo he gets for being part of the best receiving corps in the league.
—- Sean Payton —-
It seems like for every other thing the Saints do right this season, they shoot themselves in the foot and let a lesser team stay in the game. I bet Payton cannot wait for the team's first blow-out win this season.