Five acts that will have you dancing and partying, or gorging on cheeseburgers after the Saints 23-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
6.124 – Hail King Ingram II.
Despite being gone for just over two years, Mark Ingram apparently never lost the adulation of the New Orleans Saints fan base when he returned to the team mid-season in 2021. It’s odd, because when he was first drafted by New Orleans in 2011., the former Alabama backer wasn’t exactly the Leaning Saints crowd favorite. LSU. Worse yet, Ingram only totaled 1,462 rushing yards in his first three seasons at NOLA, while spending most of those years in the practice room with injuries. But then Ingram had a kind of rebirth starting in 2014. That year he nearly hit a 1,000-yard (964) season for the first time as a Saint. He eventually accomplished this feat in 2016 (1,043) and again in 2017 (1,124), his best floor year in the uniform of the Saints. But after a below par 2018 (645 yards), Ingram left as a free agent for the Baltimore Ravens and excelled in his first year in Baltimore (1,018). The honeymoon didn’t last, however, and after being released by the Ravens after the 2020 season, he ended up on the Houston Texans’ terrible roster. An injury to Saints running back Tony Jones Jr. forced New Orleans to take a flyer about their former running back, and yesterday, despite in a crushing 23-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Ingram rushed for 47 yards leading him to a total of 6,124 yards on the ground as a Saint of New Orleans. That made Ingram the Saints franchise leader in rushing yards as he passed legendary Deuce McAllister (6,096). The television broadcast of the match showed McAllister standing in the commentary booth to salute Ingram’s accomplishment. We salute you too, Mark.
8 – Back to the drawing board?
On Sunday in Nashville, the Saints couldn’t convert a two-run attempt late in the fourth quarter, led 23-21 with no time-out. the failure sent Tennessee to 8-2 on the season and the Saints to a two-game losing streak. Oh yes, two Sundays ago a two-point conversion that would have given the Saints a three-point lead over the Atlanta Falcons was also missed, and New Orleans ended up losing the game by two points afterwards. Matt Ryan engineered a lightning quick basket workout with just about a minute to play.
New Orleans’ two-point conversion failure at Tennessee was the 8th in a row in the regular season, the last successful attempt dating back to 2018. I’m looking for something smart to say here, and my brain is numb. As imaginative as Sean Payton, an offensive player is, I can’t imagine his team hasn’t been able to successfully execute a dead ball play in the end zone from the two-yard line eight times over. following. Guess that’s why the numbers featured in these pieces are remarkable (insert shrug emoji here).
3 – Alive and not kicking
Since it was announced that Saints starting kicker Wil Lutz would miss the start of the season, the position looked like a giant uncertainty for the Saints, and it has been. Aldrick Rosas, who started the year with the Saints, missed his way off the squad, going 1-4 on field goals before being released. Enter Cody Parkey, who was on the squad for just one game (against Washington) and quickly missed two more points, leading to his release in the week off, disguised as a hip injury. After learning Lutz would miss all season, Saints signed kicker number Brian Johnson 3 for the Saints this season. A rookie who hadn’t kicked in a single NFL regular season game, Johnson was perfect on field goals, 8v8. So what’s the problem? Against Tennessee on Sunday, Johnson missed two more points in a game that New Orleans lost by two. He also missed an extra point in the game against Tampa Bay at the Dome and is now 5 of 8 in extra points in a short time with the Saints. As a team, the Saints have now missed five more points combined over the season, and maybe… count. Not good.
202.2. – Before last
These are the New Orleans Saints we’re talking about here, but are we sure? Alas, the numbers don’t lie here: The Saints are averaging 202.2 passing yards per game, which ranks them 31st out of 32 NFL teams. I must have rubbed my eyes a few times when I read this statistic. Yes, I know the Saints hardly have any experienced or accredited wide receivers, and Drew Brees is now on TV calling games for NBC. But I never thought I would see a team led by Sean Payton be so bad in the air. Medium? Middle of the pack? Okay, I could have understood that. But penultimate? How to explain such a drop? Did we just grossly underestimate how amazing Drew Brees was, even with half an arm? It really seems like yes.
3.07 – The Best of the Best
From last to first. While the Saints didn’t face Derrick Henry on Sunday in Nashville, they still showed their defensive muscles against a team decidedly focused on racing in Tennessee. The Titans called 29 rushed plays and averaged 2.3 yards per attempt, for a total of 66 yards. During the season, the Saints allow 72.9 rushing yards per game (1st in the NFL), and 3.07 rushing yards per play, also first in the league. The second best running defense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, allow 3.72 yards per game, nearly a full yard more and 79.8 yards rushing per game. For a team that had question marks in the defensive tackle position heading into the season with the loss of players like Malcom Brown and Sheldon Rankins, the Saints’ quick defense has exceeded expectations this season and forced the teams to rely much more on the pass to be able to move the ball. So, in a decidedly mediocre season so far, a unit has prevailed above all. The Saints would like other units to follow suit.
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