Monday, October 27, 2008

Saints Win! Ole! Ole-Ole-Ole!

"Thank Christ," I shouted before departing the bar around 3:25 Sunday afternoon. With the Saints victorious, I could fully enjoy the rest of my day just lounging around with nothing to do. Hell, going in to work on Monday would be less of a chore thanks to Brees and company. But the Saints sure as shit didn't make it look easy. Oh, Drew Brees made it look easy; Lance Moore made it look easy; but the Saints defense certainly could not hold up their end throughout.

Was anyone else having flashbacks to Jim Henderson's infamous "How could he DO that?!?" call when Taylor Mehlhafff put an extra point off the upright? I know I was thinking about how such a thing would come back to bite us in the ass. And then there was Sean Payton's "We're up by seven on a fourth and two with just fourteen seconds left. I know, let's have Drew Brees run backward for a safety to cut our lead down to just five points, and THEN we'll kick to the Chargers on a shorter field. It's crazy enough to work!" scheme. Listen, coach, you're up by seven, why in fuck's name do you cut the lead to five and turn the ball over with a shorter field.

Sure, Drew Brees took six seconds off the clock, but why do that when a punt return for a TD is scored the same if there's eight seconds on the clock or even one second on the clock? The average NFL punt hangs in the air for 4.6 seconds, Coach Payton. Since the clock runs from the moment the ball is snapped to the punter, you're adding another second on top of that. So you're putting the ball in Darren Sproles' hands with eight or nine seconds left in the game, same as you did with having Drew Brees run into the end zone for a safety. Plus, you're putting Sproles back further in his own territory then if you had taken the safety, so he's actually got to run further to make up that time...(shakes head).

Look, the Saints won, even though I thought they wouldn't. I'm happy to be wrong.

1 comment:

Justin said...

your analysis of the intentional safety overlooks the entirely plausible scenarios where houser botches the snap, our punter that was signed off the street last sunday evening mishandles the snap or the chargers rush 10 and block the punt.

In addition, Melhaff kicks off from the 30 and consistently puts it at the 5 yard line. Kicking from the 20 (with no tee) would lead you to reasonably assume that the chargers would be returning the ball (if they chose to return it at all) from around their 20 or 25 yard line. Compare this with Graham's 42 yard gross average yesterday and see that the Chargers could have reasonably expected to be fielding a punt on their own 32 yard line.

Essentially, Payton knew the Saints were going to have to cover a kick regardless of what he did, so he chose to give up 2 points to avoid potential pitfalls of having to actually snap the ball and get a kick off with a new punter under what was likely to be a heavy rush.

Where the play went wrong was Brees threw the ball too early, leaving 1-2 more seconds on the clock than he should have. Had he taken two more steps, Sproles would have run the clock out foolishly returning Melhaff's kick 32 yards and San Diego would have never gotten to snap the ball.

All in all, combined with Payton going for it on 4th down multiple times when the situation warranted it, I found his decision making superb.

In the heat of a close game that both teams desperately needed where the offenses were doing whatever they wanted to the defenses, the difference between winning and losing was we had Sean Payton and San Diego had Norv Turner.