5 Positives/Negatives To Take Away From Saints’ Loss To Lions
Below are five positives, and also five negatives, to take from the New Orleans Saints’ 28-13 home loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon.
The setback dropped the Saints to 5-7 on the season.
1)—Sheldon Rankins: The rookie was impressive, yet again, with 3 tackles and a sack. It's beginning to look more and more like the Saints hit on their 2016 first round selection. Rankins just may be a defensive player that the Saints can build around for years to come.
2)—Jairus Byrd: It's never a good thing when your free safety leads your team in tackles, but that's not Byrd's fault. He finished with 9 tackles, including 7 solo stops, a few of which prevented really long gains. Honestly, Byrd didn't anything special, but his play deserves credit, on a day where there weren't a lot of positives. He's been criticized a lot over the past few years, and rightfully so, but Byrd deserves at least a little bit of a pat on the back for his play on Sunday.
3)—Third Down Efficiency: The Saints actually finished the day better in third down efficiency than Detroit, going 6-of-13, as compared to 5-of-12 for the Lions. Now, it didn't do them much good in the end, but still good to see.
4)—Dannell Ellerbe: When he plays, he’s very good, and makes the Saints better. Ellerbe had 5 tackles, including a sack, provided good pressure off the edge, and played well in space. Let’s just hope he stays healthy for a prolonged period of time now.
5)—Tommylee Lewis: He returned a punt for 24 yards. No...it's not a lot to cheer about. But when you consider how bad the return game has been this year, and how poorly the Saints played on Sunday, this probably belongs here.
1)—Drew Brees: This is the first time Brees has made the negatives list this season, and with good reason. He's been great all year, putting together his best season since 2011. But Sunday was his worst game, surpassing his outing in San Diego earlier this season. Yes, he did complete 31-of-44 passes for 326 yards, but he also made some poor decisions, and was picked off three times. Brees' streak of 60 home games with at least one touchdown pass came to an end.
2)—Tight ends: Coby Fleener dropped a touchdown pass right before halftime, and also had another dropped pass nullified in the third quarter due to offsetting penalties. Meanwhile, Josh Hill was injured in the third quarter and didn't return.
3)—Terron Armstead: He didn't play, after leaving last week's game against the Rams with an injury. Armstrong has been battling injuries all year, and you have to wonder if he’s going to get healthy this year, at all. Sunday was the sixth game that Armstead has missed this year.
4)—Offensive Line: Senio Kelemete was flagged for holding, twice, while the running game never got going, and Brees faced constant pressure. This was the offensive line we were bracing ourselves to see in the preseason. Fortunately, they've played much better than this most of the year.
5)—Secondary: Matthew Stafford threw for 341 yards, and there was a complete breakdown in coverage on his 66-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate. At the time, the Saints were only down 6 points, 19-13, and that was a third down play. That play was the dagger. The secondary also dropped two interceptions which could have turned the game around, including a possible pick-six that was dropped by Sterling Moore in the first quarter.