Although the New Orleans Saints have started the 2012 season with a disappointing 0-3 record, quarterback Drew Brees has still looked like an elite NFL player at times. On Sunday, September 30, Brees will have a chance to tie a long-standing NFL record when the Saints face the Green Bay Packers. With touchdown passes in 46 consecutive games, if Brees connects for a score on Sunday, he will tie the legendary Johnny Unitas, who reached 47 straight games with a touchdown pass. …
Where y’at, Who Dats??? Well, we know where the Saints are at – the Saints are 0-3 now, and needing some kind of something to turn things around, especially with a date at Lambeau Field on the horizon.
Let’s sift through the articles, quotes, analysis and videos to see if there’s anything we missed from yesterday’s 27-24 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and then move along to the Green Bay Packers.
“(The) third and fourth quarter were pretty invisible, in terms of never really feeling like we could get any tempo going or rhythm, getting first downs to keep drives going. We got those two turnovers in the third quarter, (and) capitalized on both those with touchdowns, which was great. Then we get (another) drive going, and (it ends with a) turnover.
“The entire fourth quarter just felt like it was played on our end of the field. Every time we got the ball, it was inside our 10-yard line. We were backed up. We got ourselves into some third-and-long situations. We know better. We just weren’t real good on first and second down. We’ve got to find a way to fix that.”
(on if he has ever have that many consecutive poor possessions) “I’m not sure, but that’s not our standard. That’s not what we’re used to. That’s going to get fixed.”
(on whether the Chiefs did something different in second half) “No, they really didn’t. We just weren’t able to really get anything going. That’s all I can say, really.”
(on if there were there drops in some second- and third-down situations?) “There’s a little bit of everything. We all could have done things a little bit better, just to keep the drive alive and convert the third down or get us in a better situation. We just put ourselves in a lot of bad situations today.”
(on if there is a comparison to some other lows) “I know the type of team we have. I know the type of team we want to be and that we can be. We’re not playing anywhere near that level right now and it’s resulted in an 0-3 start. It’s very frustrating and disappointing, and yet there’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to turn this thing around. I don’t know what that’s going to result in, in terms of how many wins, playoffs or whatever, but we’re going to be a great team. This team.”
(on comparing this three-game losing streak to streak at end of 2009) “We are far from talking about a Super Bowl right now. What we need to be talking about is how we can each get a little bit better, how we can make those plays that we haven’t been making, how we can eliminate those mistakes that have put us in the situation we’re in. We’re about to go on the road and play in Lambeau against a very good Green Bay Packer team. We’ve got to have it. We come back on Sunday night against the Chargers, then we have a bye week. It doesn’t get any easier after that. What we need to focus on is getting one win. Once we get one, we can turn that into two, three, and we can get rolling. We’ve got to find a way to get that one.”
(on differences in the second half of games between this season and last season) “It’s probably a combination of a few things. Obviously, once you get into the second half, there are adjustments that have been made during halftime. You have an idea of what you’re going to face, what they’re doing to you, how they’re defending you and certain personnel, and you’ve got to find a way to take advantage of that within your system.”
(on if Sean Payton not being here makes a difference) “All I can say is, Sean Payton’s a great football coach, and he’s great at those things (adjustments), but he’s not here. The rest of us have to find a way.”
(on the product on the field the last three weeks) “There have definitely been some things that are uncharacteristic or not what we’re used to, certainly not to the level that we aspire to play at. You can look at just about every situation, from the way we want to run the ball, the way we convert on third down, the way we possess the ball, tempo, rhythm. Red zone efficiency is the one bright spot, but we’d like to get down there more. Big plays. A little bit of everything. If you just worry about execution, take it one play at a time, take advantage of those opportunities, all those numbers go up, as well as points, and that’s the most important thing.”
(on his interception in third quarter) “It was man (-to-man coverage). I underthrew it a little bit. The guy (Chiefs DB Jalil Brown) made a nice play. At that stage, we had a good tempo going. I needed to lay it out there for (Devery Henderson) and it’s either him or nobody. I just left it inside.”
(on the Chiefs) “Give them credit. They did a nice job. I would just say the biggest thing was the momentum. You’re up 18 points late in the third (quarter) and you’ve got all the momentum on your side. We’ve just gotten two huge turnovers. You’ve got to hand it to them. They rattle off that 91-yard run and it just felt like the momentum swung to their side and they kept it the entire (remainder of the) game. Obviously, offensively, we’ve got to find a way to get it back. We weren’t able to get it back. We need to find a way.”
(on the team’s mindset during the fourth quarter) “We were just thinking about when we get our opportunity, go out there and execute. And we just didn’t.”
(one if teams are defensing the Saints differently) “I don’t know about differently, but there’s been a little bit of a kind of theme over the last few weeks, and we’ve got to find a way to move the ball, get open, get guys the ball, run the ball, convert on third downs, possess the ball so we don’t keep our defense out there like we did in the second half of the game today. We need to take a hard look at that tape, because if there are things that aren’t working, we’re darn sure going to see it again.”
(on if he is being forced to hold the ball longer) “Teams that typically play a lot of man coverage and rush five, it’s five-on-five up front. All it takes is one guy to get beat and it rushes you a little bit. That’s why teams play man for tight windows, tight coverage. Maybe you’ve got to hold it a little longer and they get a good pass rush on you. It’s risk/reward. A guy on the back end misses, and all of a sudden you get a big play. If (opponents) bring pressure, you’ve got to get the ball out faster, but you also leave big holes in the defense. They’re going to live and die by what they do. We’ve just got to do a better job of attacking.
“Listen, everybody’s got their own scheme. They do things according to their personnel, according to their scheme and according to your personnel. Every game plan seems to be a little bit different. Something shows up on film that’s been working against you, you’re going to see it.”
(on any changes that need to be made) “I think the biggest thing is, we need to stay the course. We need to take a hard look in the mirror at what has gotten us beat these last three weeks. Each guy, to a man, what can you do to get better. What extra can you do. I can tell you this, though; we’ve got the right type of people and the right type of guys. There’s a lot of situations where teams would turn it in, notch up the season as a loss and kind of go about their day with no purpose. We have purpose, and we have the right type of guys, so we’re going to rally. It’s going to bring us together. The guys need to take a hard look at themselves, how they can get better, how they can help this team. We believe, and we also know that whatever we’re facing right now is strengthening us. We’re running out of time here. We need to pull together. We need to get a win, and no better time than this week.”
#12 WR Marques Colston
(On what it feels like to be 0-3) “It’s not a good feeling at all. In this locker room, we know that this group can get it done. We just have to trust our process. We just have to continue to work.”
“They were able to shift momentum their way and capitalize. Their kicker did a great job of making the field goals. They did a good job in the running game of creating some big runs. We are disappointed, but we realize that the only people that are going to address this is us. We are not going to back down. We are not going to point fingers. We are going to band together. We are going to come out fighting. That’s all we know how to do as professionals. This is how we grow together.”
#58 LB Scott Shanle
(on if the outcome is bittersweet) “I think some teams might that are 0-3 might take moral victories in things, but not here. We’ve won a lot of games in the last few years. Nobody cares if you do something a little bit better this week or that week. It’s all about winning the games especially the way we controlled the game like we did.”
(on if the defense was out on the field too long) “That’s just part of the game. That’s playing complementary football. There are weeks where the defense has to rise up and play that way. There’s been plenty games around here where the defense hasn’t played well and the offense has put up 40-plus points. Games have different ebbs and flows. Today was our day to rise to the challenge and we just didn’t do that.”
#23 RB Pierre Thomas
(on coming back from an 0-3 start) “We’re good. This is how we respond. It’s about next week and how we respond. Things happen. Things might go your way and things may not. I feel like we played a good game out there, but we just didn’t finish. We have to get better next week. That’s the only thing we can do. We can’t worry about these games. We have to put it behind us. We have to look forward. It’s only three games. We have a whole lot of games in front of us.”
(on if it will be hard to climb out of an 0-3 start) “I don’t think it will be difficult at all. We are not in a situation to worry about anything. It’s still the beginning of the season. We are not in a struggle. We have no worries. I feel that we can turn this thing around and it’s going to start next week.”
#16 WR Lance Moore
(on moving forward this season) “It would be good if we could win next week. We can’t talk about playoffs. We can’t talk about the division. We just need to win one game. If we don’t start winning now or soon, then it’s going to be over early. It’s not going to happen on its own. Teams aren’t going to come into the Superdome and lay down and give it to us. You saw that tonight. We just have to keep working.”
* * *
HEAD COACH ROMEO CRENNEL
“Our young men did a tremendous job today. They played football. That’s what we have been preaching to them ever since training camp started – to play good football. And no matter what happens, just to play the next play, and let’s try to do a good job on the next play. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I think that this team needed a win and a win like that, in particular. That really helps us. It gives us some momentum going into the rest of the season. There was a lot of doubt about what we were going to be able to do, what we could do, and trying to win on the road. They showed a lot of character and fortitude by being down by 18 and then coming back and going into overtime, then being able to win the game. Certain guys stepped up and made plays that helped us win. That was critical for us, and that was good. Now, I told them that the next play is next week. The next team that we have to line up and play, so we have to go get ready for that. We are going to enjoy this one for a short time, but next week is around the corner. That Saints team has a lot of pride over there on that side. They fought hard. We just did a little more, which allowed us to win the game.”
(on Jamaal Charles) “I think that he was doing what he always does, which is run with the football and make some guys miss. If we give him a seam, he can run with the football. That’s what he does. He just did what he was supposed to do. We knew that he could do it. We’re going to ask him to do it next week and the week after. We’re also going to ask those others guys to come in and step in and play and do their job as well.”
(on the play of the Chiefs defense) “We’ve been talking all week about how if there is a bad play, a negative play, that’s just one play. That’s exactly what the defense did. They were talking on the sidelines saying, ‘We’re ok. Let’s go play defense.’ They went out and they played defense.”
(on a team win today) “In my estimation, this was a team victory. All of the guys had energy, attitude, and good effort. That is what it takes to win.”
(on forcing turnovers) “We’ve been looking for turnovers, and we were able to get one. Hopefully, there will be more coming. We needed that (turnovers today). That helps.”
(on why he went for a field goal to tie the game at the end of regulation) “You take the field goal and go into overtime or you risk maybe losing the game. I thought that the guys had played really hard all game, and I didn’t want them to come up empty handed. I felt like if we could get to overtime that we might have a chance. You never know what happens in overtime. We won the coin toss and thought that that would be a good plus, but they stopped us. Then we ended up stopping them. Then we drove it down and kicked the game winner.”
(on going for it on fourth down in overtime) “It was far enough for a little indecision, but it was close enough on the yardage that you felt that if guys did what they were supposed to do that, you could get the first down. We took the chance to get the first down because at that point, any score would win.”
QB #7 MATT CASSEL
(on the win) “It was a heck of a team victory, I’ll tell you that much. I’m so happy for our team and our guys. We showed so much resilience. We were down 24-6 at one point in the third quarter. We just kept fighting and it put us in position at the end to get a victory. We just stuck together, like I said, and it shows a lot of heart and a lot of character for this team to stick together like that, especially considering how the last two weeks have gone. People were probably all thinking, ‘Here we go again.’ But the team stuck together, and it was a great team victory today.”
(on Jamaal Charles’s 91-yard touchdown run) “It was a huge spark. It was a big turnaround for us. Jamaal had been running the ball well all day and his numbers had to be up there. That’s a testament to those offensive linemen; they really embraced the challenge. Coach said that he felt like we had an opportunity to run the ball this week and they embraced the challenge and did a good job. Our fullbacks did, (and so did) our wide receivers. Speaking on that particular play, that was a huge spark for our team and I think it really rebounded us and gave us confidence and got us going again.”
(on the importance of big plays when the team is down) “Well, we needed one at that point. We were down 24-6 and there is no better person to make it happen than Jamaal Charles.”
(on Charles’s mindset going into this game) “He had a great week of practice; he was ready to go. Jamaal comes out and he competes every day. Again, having a good week of practice really helped us as we went into this game.”
(on the interception by Jabari Greer) “The cornerback just kind of carried the outside guy. Normally we throw that sail route, but he failed out early and made a good play. You’re trying to be aggressive and do that kind of thing, and I try not to throw it there too often but hey, it happens. We were able to overcome it, and that was a good thing.”
RB #25 JAMAAL CHARLES
“The best thing about this game is that we fed off of the defense. We were on the sidelines rooting (for) them (defense) the entire game because that’s what our coaches wanted us to do. Then we got the momentum and that helped us come back and win this game.”
“You never know what plays are going to be called and how they are going to end up. What I tried to do is just run behind our offensive line and fullback and wait for the holes to open up. Our offensive line told me to keep trying and wait for the big runs and the next thing you know that’s what happened.”
(on his 91-yard touchdown run) “I tried to weave in the first time I got touched on the line and then I just tried to run as far as I can. Then when I got out in the open I just made sure I didn’t step out of bounds. It was a big play for us.”
“It wasn’t about my performance today. It was about coming out here and playing hard and winning this football game. We knew coming in that we could run against this (Saints) defense and it was an opportunity we had to take advantage of.”
K #6 RYAN SUCCOP
(on his game-winning field goal) “I just tried to go out there and put a good stroke on it and just tried to stay calm. And I was able to do that and knock it through.”
“This is a huge win for our team. We really needed this, and our guys fought and came back; I was just glad to be a part of it.”
DE #72 GLENN DORSEY
“It’s great to come back here to the Superdome and win again; I can surely brag about that.”
“This was a terrific team victory for us. It was real exciting out there and I was glad to be a part of it. We’re definitely going to build off of this one and keep going.”
(on Jamaal Charles’ performance) “It was awesome to see that. When you see guys performing like that the whole team responds. And to keep a good guy like Drew Brees off the field that’s a tremendous job. That was the difference in the game. All of his (Charles’) runs made sure to limit the time the Saints offense got on the field, and it sure worked out well for us.”
CB #30 JALIL BROWN
“Everything we did, from special teams to the offense to the defense – it all came together today. And it was something that a lot of people didn’t expect after our first two games. But what we did today is to turn it all around and that’s what happened.”
As Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop lined up for a 31-yard field goal in overtime, fans started filing out of the Superdome.
Those who stuck around looked on in dread as New Orleans’ nightmare of an offseason continued to bleed into the regular season.
Succop drilled his club-record sixth field goal of the game, punctuating an 18-point comeback that made the Chiefs 27-24 upset road winners on Sunday.
The Saints fell to 0-3 since head coach Sean Payton was suspended for a season in the NFL’s bounty probe – a stark reversal of fortune for a team that made the playoffs each of the past three years.
”We don’t know how we’re supposed to act right now,” interim head coach Aaron Kromer said of being winless through Week 3. ”We had a chance today. We’re getting close, but close is not good enough.”
Still, Drew Brees described the Saints as a team that won’t quit.
”In a lot of situations there’s probably teams that will just … notch up the season as a loss and just kind of go about their day with no purpose. We have purpose,” Brees said. ”We believe. We also know that whatever we’re facing right now is strengthening us, is molding us into the team that we’re going to be. We’re running out of time here, so we need to pull it together.”
The Saints have now lost twice in the Superdome, where they were unbeaten a season ago. While their losses have come by 8 points or fewer, they have also come against three teams that are now 1-2.
Next week, the Saints travel to Green Bay.
The Chiefs (1-2), meanwhile, went home feeling a lot better about not only getting their first victory, but the resolve they showed in erasing the 24-6 deficit they faced in the third quarter.
”The best part is our guys never gave up,” said Succop, a perfect 6 for 6 on kicks ranging from 25 to 45 yards, including one from 43 that tied it with 3 seconds left in regulation. ”We kept fighting, it was a huge team win and I’m just really excited to have had a part in it.”
Jamaal Charles’ 91-yard touchdown run – the longest running play in Chiefs history, and the longest given up by the Saints – started Kansas City’s comeback. Then the Chiefs’ defense thwarted a Saints scoring chance when Stanford Routt intercepted Brees’ underthrown pass for Devery Henderson near the Kansas City goal line late in the third quarter.
Brees was 20 of 36 for 240 yards and three TDs to Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham and Jed Collins. But he did not complete a pass after the third quarter, and the Saints never got another first down.
Some of Brees’ difficulty stemmed from constant pressure from end Justin Houston, who beat right tackle Zach Strief for three sacks, including a safety in the fourth quarter.
”It was all around not good enough by me,” Strief said. ”I was physically and mentally beat, and that’s disappointing.”
Charles, who finished with 233 yards rushing and 55 yards receiving, scored the only touchdown the Chiefs needed, with Succop and Houston’s safety accounting for 20 points.
”This team needed a win, and a win like that really helped out in particular,” Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. ”There were a lot of doubts about what we could do and they showed a lot of character.”
In one of several lowlights for the crew of replacement officials, New Orleans was briefly ruled the winner on the field in overtime when running back Shaun Draughn lost the ball stretching for a first down and safety Roman Harper picked it up and ran to the end zone.
The fumble was overturned on video review, and although the spot came up a half-yard short of a first down, Charles easily converted a fourth-down run.
”We knew coming in that we could run against this defense,” Charles said. ”It was an opportunity we had to take advantage of.”
New Orleans appeared to be taking command in the third quarter thanks to a pair of turnovers by the Chiefs.
First came a fumble by Dexter McCluster, who hurt his shoulder while falling on his own after a short catch, then let the ball go moments before he would have been touched down by cornerback Jabari Greer. Officials initially ruled McCluster down while linebacker Jonathan Casillas scooped the ball and ran to the end zone. The Saints challenged and won a reversal, giving them the ball on the Chiefs’ 19 and setting up Graham’s 1-yard score.
Greer’s interception and 28-yard return to the Kansas City 7 then set up Collins’ 6-yard TD to make it 24-6, setting the stage for the Chiefs’ comeback – and the Saints’ collapse.
NOTES: Along with McCluster, the Chiefs lost starting C Rodney Hudson to an apparent right knee injury and RB Peyton Hillis to an ankle injury in the third quarter. … Saints LB David Hawthorne left with a hamstring injury in the first half and did not return. … Brees now has TD passes in 46 straight regular season games, one behind Johnny Unitas’ record.
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Here’s a scary stat you’ll wish you never knew: Since 1951 only two other NFL teams have given up more yards through the first three games than the 2012 New Orleans Saints.
That’s right. The Saints defense has gotten off to the third worst start in modern NFL history. Through three games, they have given up a total 1,432 yards to their opponents. That puts them behind (barely) the 2006 Houston Texans (1,451) and the 1978 Baltimore Colts (1,452).
As much as it pains me to say it, that sounds about right.
This was a strange one. The Saints’ offense largely looked pretty good leading up to a 24-6 lead and then nothing. The motor was completely shut off and there was no semblance of threat from them for the remainder of the contest. It went from effective to watching LSU’s offense against Alabama’s defense in the national title game all over again. What happened to this unit? The offensive line seemed to quit. Below are the grades and I maintain that the most disappointing part of this shocking defeat (shocking because the Saints had the Chiefs dead to rights) is that the offense couldn’t manage a single first down in the 4th quarter or overtime. Shameful. This is what teams with an inept rookie quarterback do, not Drew Brees’ Saints. The GPA’s, which represent the cumulative effort of the season, are stupid low through three games. Pretty disheartening.
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