27 December 2011

Week 16 Rear View: Falcons at Saints

To reiterate, every week during the season I'll be posting a summary of the Saints' game, complete with key stats and a "Good, Bad, Ugly" performance review. If you have ideas or feedback, please feel free to submit those to me via blog comment, Twitter, Facebook, email, text, message in a bottle or whatever floats your proverbial boat. 

Also, at four-week intervals, we'll see how the Saints rank league-wide in some important statistical categories. 

Final Score: Saints 45, Falcons 16
Record: 12-3
Complete Box Score

Yards Gained: 463
Yards Allowed: 469
Yards/play: 7.3
Yards/play allowed: 6.3

Turnover Differential: -1   [+1, -2], (-4)
First Down Differential: +3   [+26, -23], (+76)
Sack Differential: -1   [+0, -1], (+3)
Time of Possession Differential: -6:19   (+48:48)

3rd Down Conversion: 77%, 10/13  (56%, 112/199)
Opponent's 3rd Down Conversion: 47%, 8/17   (34%, 67/197)

2011 Aggregate Point Differential: +180
Average PPG
: 33.5
Opponent's Average PPG: 21.5

* as always, numbers in brackets [x] represent game totals, while numbers in parentheses (y) represent season totals

The Good

* Another historic night in the Superdome further validated the Saints' franchise ascension among the elite in the modern era of NFL football. 

While the Saints were winning their 3rd NFC South title in Payton's six seasons as coach, Drew Brees was not only breaking the record for most passing yards in a season, but he was also becoming the first QB in NFL history to post two 5000+ yard seasons. 

Combined with dismantling the hapless Falcons, the night couldn't have been much better for Saints' fans.

When you consider the key components of the Saints--their coach and their QB--you continually come to the conclusion that each individual is arguably the best in the world at his specific vocation, and that the Saints are fortunate for the perfect melding of events that has allowed greatness to continually transpire in New Orleans.

What's further promising is that there's more to come. Dream on. 

* The defense once again handled its business, forcing the Falcons to trade FGs for TDs. 

Additionally, Malcolm Jenkins put himself in an opportune spot to score a TD that hearkened memories of glorious days past.  

The defense has held strong over the past 7 weeks, limiting opponents to 19 points per game. Against teams with highly-capable offenses (Giants, Lions, Falcons twice) the defense has been all the more impressive. 

In particular, Junior Galette stood out last night and appears to be the Saints' best pash-rusher at this point in the season. If he can continue to emerge, the Saints' pass-rushing woes might just be a thing of the past right in time for the playoffs.

* After week 12, I pondered whether the Saints had the best rushing attack in the league. Through week 16, the Saints certainly look they're still in the conversation, ranking 5th in yards per carry and 9th in yards per game. 

Against the Falcons, the Saints quietly churned out 164 yards on the ground (7.1 per) by distributing the ball among their RBs. 

If you delve into the advanced metrics at Football Outsiders or Advanced NFL Stats, you'll also find that the Saints' ground game is ranked among the top-5 over a few different categories. 

While Sean Payton is renowned for his progressive passing attack (and rightfully so), the implementation of the "three-headed" rushing attack is another offensive design he has pioneered to near perfection starting in 2009. 

It's a testament to both Payton's adaptability and innovation.

The Bad
* What is this chorus of woe echoing from Atlanta? Are grown men who get paid millions of dollars per year to play defense actually whining about their inability to accomplish the very task they're paid so handsomely to do?

What the hell kind of bizarro world are we living in?

* And Pete Prisco, who nobody is ever going to confuse for David Halberstam, continued his embarrassing carnival-barking campaign by calling the Saints "classless" for trying to attain the passing record last night. Mind you, this was soon after Prisco called for the Falcons to "take out" Brees and then reinforced that absurd notion saying that hurting Brees would be "worth" the penalty and the fine.

So let me get this straight, Peter. It's classless for the Saints to set a record, yet it's reasonable for you to advocate for an injury to a player. Are you ****ing stupid? Wait, I think we know the answer already. 

Maybe you should study up on the meaning of the word "hypocrisy" before you continue on your pathetic little quest to remain relevant in a world that's not fooled by your ignorant, serial, self-promotional charade. 

The Ugly
* Are you listening, Jeff Duncan? Because I'm talking to you too. You spinelessly come to your colleague's rescue instead of rightfully denouncing him? 

And even if you didn't have the fortitude to chastise Prisco for his idiocy last night, you certainly shouldn't have pendantically head-patted Saints' fans who were righfully enraged by Prisco's statements.

Why should Saints' fans back off of Prisco? And why should you deign to instruct others from being indignant? 

Again, what the hell kind of bizarro world are we living in? 

Worth Repeating
* "You go with your gut. I thought it was the right decision last night. This morning, I thought it was clearly the right decision." - Sean Payton   

*photos courtesy of Yahoo! Sports    

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