Wrap-up: Broncos 34, Saints 14
October, 28, 2012
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com
Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 34-14 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night:
What it means: There was a school of thought among some New Orleans fans that with the Saints playing better the last two games and interim head coach Joe Vitt returning from a six-game suspension everything would change. The hope was the Saints would go on a miraculous run to turn their season around and make it to the playoffs. There were no miracles in Denver and that means the chances of a miraculous run to the playoffs have dwindled to almost zero. The Saints are 2-5 and they’re in third place in the NFC South. This may have been the ugliest New Orleans loss in recent years because the Saints rarely have been so thoroughly beaten.
Critical call: With the game tied, 7-7, the Saints faced a fourth and 2 near midfield with 9:17 left in the second quarter. Vitt’s been Sean Payton’s right-hand man since 2006 and I think the interim head coach made the same decision the suspended coach would have made. He left the offense on the field and went for the first down. The only difference is that Vitt didn’t get the same result Payton usually got when he made bold moves in the past. Instead, quarterback Drew Brees was intercepted. Five plays later, the Broncos scored a touchdown that put them in control the rest of the night.
Making history: New Orleans became the first defense in NFL history to give up 400 yards of total offense in seven straight games.
It’s not all on the defense: The numbers ended up being lousy. But, at least early on, the defense played much better than I expected against Peyton Manning and the Denver offense. The Saints got a fumble recovery and a couple of first-half stops before getting worn down in the second half. I think you can put the blame for that on Brees and the offense. Brees was uncharacteristically inaccurate, there was no running game and the offense never really got into a rhythm. If the Saints are going to have any chance at winning, their offense has to put up big numbers. That didn’t come close to happening.
Milestone time: The one highlight of the night was Brees’ second-quarter touchdown pass to Darren Sproles. It was the 300th of his career and ties him with Dan Marino for No. 6 on the all-time list.
What’s next: The Saints host the Philadelphia Eagles in a "Monday Night Football" game on Nov. 5.
Final San Diego 22 Buffalo 10 Final Dallas 34 St. Louis 31 Final Washington 34 Philadelphia 37 Final Houston 17 New York 30 Final Minnesota 9 New Orleans 20 Final Tennessee 7 Cincinnati 33 Final Baltimore 23 Cleveland 21 Final Green Bay 7 Detroit 19 Final Indianapolis 44 Jacksonville 17 Final Oakland 9 New England 16 Final San Francisco 14 Arizona 23 Final/OT Denver 20 Seattle 26 Final Kansas City 34 Miami 15 Final Pittsburgh 37 Carolina 19