Saints Sideline Blog
DATELINE: New Orleans, LA / October 24,2010 (When did Fujita turn into Ray Lewis?)
It was a Murphy's Law Superdome Sunday. Almost everything that could go wrong...well you know the rest. Cleveland came in the hungrier team and it showed as they not only outplayed the Saints, they outcoached them and outtricked them as well, yes I just invented a new word. Saints 12 year special teams veteran Pierson Prioleau told me in all of his years in the league, he's never seen a game where the opponent's trickery had this many happy endings. There was a rumor that afterwards Browns coach Eric Mangini went to Harrah's and laid down two straight royal flushes in the poker room. The Browns were lucky but mostly they were good, the gameplan to beat the Saints was flat out great.
We begin with the play calling. It seemed every time Cleveland was ready to toss a curveball, the Saints were looking for the heater. In the first quarter on a punt return, the brownies set the tone with Josh Cribbs tossing the ball across the field to Eric Wright which paid off for a 62 yard gain and subsequently a field goal. The next quarter saw Cleveland firing a fastball when the Saints were looking for a slider and this was an even bigger swing and a miss. Cleveland punter Reggie Hodges has a hole to run through the size of Lake Erie-the result a 68 yard burst. For his effort, Hodges outrushed the ENTIRE Saints team and was one yard shy of being the Browns leading man as Cleveland RB Peyton HIllis turned in 69 yards on the day. Mangini was so money on Sunday, we hear he had Hodges on his fantasy football team.
While the trickery was tricky, it remains a mystery what is wrong with Drew Brees and the Saints offense? Brees, who was intercepted 11 times last season, has thrown 10 already in 2010. The only other time Brees had four interceptions in a game was when New Orleans lost to the Tennessee Titans in September 2007. How about this irony- Brees saw the birth of his second son "Bowen" on Tuesday, and on Sunday was pick sixed by Browns linebacker David "Bowens" ??!! Seriously, Brees is looking for answers where a week after having his best game of the season, he has his worst. He admitted to me after this game that the turnover problem is becoming a trend not the aberration it was early on and this team now finds itself "soul-searching." With Pittsburgh in the dome next week, the Saints have no easy chore of righting this ship but at this point they don't have a choice.
In the end, the only good news out of this one was that Garrett Hartley was perfect and once again the defense was rock solid. While many at the beginning of the season were wondering if the defense would take a step back from its Super season, its hard to believe the reverse has happened. Yeah instead of the D backpedaling, the offense has regressed. Sean Payton gave credit to how "desperate" Cleveland played against New Orleans on Sunday, well its time the Saints picked up its own shot of desperation as the season is nearing the halfway point and the only thing consistent is the Saints inconsistency.
WHO DAT HITS
GREAT SCOTT! Former Saint Scott Fujita couldn't have asked for a happier homecoming. He had an interception off what looked like a botched route from Ladell Betts. Mt Fujita was all over the field, leading Cleveland with 10 tackles, 2 for a loss, a quarterback hit and a pass deflection.
PIERRE PUZZLED: Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer tweeted prior to Sunday’s game against Cleveland that “Sean Payton frustrated (with) pierre thomas extended absence & very impressed (with) chris ivory. Even when thomas returns could be healthy scratch.” Pierre calmly answered questions about it afterwards saying," Everything seems cool around here. I’m doing what I have to do to get better to get back on the field.” Reggie Bush also seemed surprised in his locker which happens be right next to Pierre's that the media were even asking such questions. Thomas has been out since spraining his ankle Sept 26th vs Atlanta.
COURTNEY'S COLLISION: Al Nastaci gave the Superdome crowd a scare in the 3rd quarter. A member of the chain gang crew, Nastaci was hit by Courtney Roby and was down on the field for several minutes before being carried off the field on a stretcher. He was admitted to Ochsner Hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion. Roby told me afterwards he felt terrible about the accident and hopes Nastaci will be OK.
NOBODY ASKED ME BUT: Has parity ever been more powerful in the NFL? We saw it today with the Saints and the Browns. Buffalo scores 34 points against the vaunted Ravens defense and then you have those crazy Raiders lowering the boom on the Broncos with a 59 point effort. How does anybody bet on pro football??!!
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