Originally written on The Saints Nation  |  Last updated 9/30/12

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Kicker Garrett Hartley #5 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with teammates after he kicked a 40-yard game-winning field goal in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
I never thought I'd be saying this but the Saints are now 0-4 with no end in sight to this slide. I've said it many times, the bad teams get really creative in the ways they lose. This time it came down to a missed Garrett Hartley 48 yard field goal. Even if he makes it, though, it's hard to imagine the Saints would have stopped the Packers' offense from getting a field goal with over 2 minutes left. Darren Sproles' third down drop and David Thomas' hold on Hartley's 43 yard make are equally to blame. Make no mistake, though, the Saints were in this game thanks to poor refereeing and very fortunate bounces. That's how football goes sometimes, but for all those times we complain about the Saints not catching a break... the only reason they were in this game was due to lucky breaks throughout the contest. Even still, despite practically being handed the win on a silver platter, the Saints weren't able to capitalize. What burns the most about this loss is the Saints really should be 2-2 right now. Instead they sit at 0-4 with virtually zero chance of recovery. I firmly believe the superior team won this game, and a Saints' win would have only delayed our blindness to their serious deficiencies a week longer. Below are my bullet style thoughts on the game:
  • The Saints' defense is horrid and their pass rush is beyond bad. They had a nice stretch with the fumble/INT/forced punt sequence in the 2nd half that gave the team the lead, but besides that they were torched all game long. Patrick Robinson and Corey White were bad, sure, but how could any corner be good in this defense? The Saints played a poor pass blocking team and generated zero pass rush the entire game. Giving a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers' quality that much time will never end well. The Packers completely abandoned the run game late and Spagnuolo tried everything with his personnel, the players just aren't getting to the quarterback.
  • The offense was overall good, especially Brees, but stalled drives deep in Packers' territory cost the Saints the game. Particularly three straight plays from the 2 where the Saints couldn't punch it in. 
  • Mark Ingram has just done nothing this season.
  • There were numerous drops by Saints receivers in this game. 
  • Give Marques Colston credit, he played a monster game and ate the Packers' secondary alive. He's basically playing on one foot and you can tell he struggles to get any sort of burst, so for him to have a game like this given his limitations is very impressive.
  • The pass blocking, by and large, was outstanding. Clay Matthews Jr. did get one sack, but he was knocked on his behind numerous times.
  • The Saints run game was shockingly stonewalled all game. They couldn't get anything going. Just 45 yards on 19 carries.
  • Joe Morgan got behind the Packers and finally showed off the deep speed that allowed him to make this team. The result was an 80 yard touchdown. He's still got a long way to go but it was a welcomed sight to give the offense an explosive play.
  • As bad as this defense is, Curtis Lofton continues to impress. He runs well, recognizes plays and is a very sure tackler. If the Saints didn't have him the defense would have given up 80 points today.
  • The corpse of Cedric Benson managed a very respectable 84 yards on 16 carries, but I half expected him to see some lanes because I figured the Saints would allow the Packers yards on the ground in an effort to drop more guys into coverage. The problem is this defense can't do anything right so it didn't help at all.
  • The bottom line with this defense right now is they do nothing well. They don't tackle well (with the exception of Lofton), they cover poorly, they don't stop the run, and worst of all is their pass rush. The Saints won the turnover battle 2-0 and still couldn't win a football game. That should speak volumes about this defense. Rodgers did whatever he wanted for most of the game. 
The Saints host the Chargers next week. Another tough game against a good team, but I have a feeling they will win that one as Brees always plays well against his former team. I didn't expect a win today so I'm ok with the result, though I have to say I was surprised the Saints got as close as they did. Like I said, a lot of good things happened in order to give them a chance, but they just didn't have the closing ability to pull it off. 

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