This season, the New Orleans Saints have wasted a lot of time getting in their own way, and regrettably, that trend continued on Thursday night when they fell to Arizona 42-34 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The Saints (2-5) have done more harm to themselves than all of their opponents put together this season due to turnovers on offense and missed tackles on defense.
OFFENSE: At the end, there were some impressive figures to look at. The offense for New Orleans totaled 494 yards, 25 first downs, six third-down conversions out of a possible thirteen, and three successful excursions into the end zone.
The quarterback Andy Dalton had his most fruitful statistical performance of his four starts (30 of 47 for 361 yards and four touchdowns). Dalton did, however, also throw three interceptions, two of which were recovered for scores, and one of which was caught in the end zone.
One directly cost the Saints points, and two directly gave the Cardinals points. The turnovers and early deficit (28-14 at halftime because of the interception returns) forced New Orleans to virtually forsake the run game, and the disparity was apparent.
DEFENSE: Overall, the stats weren’t too bad: 326 yards given up, seven stops out of ten third-down attempts, and a few sacks. But when the opponent scores on three of their four chances in the red zone, as coach Dennis Allen noted in the opening of his postgame press conference, things start to go south.
Additionally, the Saints’ defense once again failed to force a turnover, and the group needs to be more effective there. The Cardinals didn’t have to take many chances because they were already double-digits ahead after scoring twice on interception returns.
However, New Orleans once more converted a third-and-10 on defense, and it hasn’t been as strong as it could be in advantageous down-and-distance circumstances.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Wi Lutz added two more field goals to his six consecutive successful attempts, showing that he is clearly in a flow. However, neither in the punt-block area nor in the return game did the unit produce any game-changing plays. Putting so much pressure on the group probably isn’t fair, but when things are going well for the Saints, everyone needs to pitch in.