After losing by a combined 4 points the last two weeks, The New Orleans Saints have dropped to 0-4 and look to be in serious desperation mode. They are certainly still a talented team, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to categorize them as contenders following the conclusion of the first quarter of the season.
Drew Brees and the passing attack got back on track against the Packers Sunday, but the effort went for naught as the potentially game winning field goal sailed wide left.
Brees finished with 446 yards and 3 touchdowns, but it was not enough to down the Packers.
Brees did tie Johnny Unitas for consecutive games with a touchdown at 47, but with the Saints at 0-4 this was not the way he wanted to accomplish that feat.
Brees worked the seam all game long, making completions to Marques Colston and Lance Moore almost at will. However, the Saints running game was shut down by a stout Packers front seven, with their leading rusher Pierre Thomas finishing with 9 carries for 14 yards and an abysmal 1.6 yards per carry average. This put a huge amount of pressure on Brees to deliver time and time again.
After a great 3rd quarter that put the Saints up 24-21, the Packers promptly marched down the field and scored their fourth touchdown of the night, which proved to be the game winning score. Garrett Hartley’s missed field goal with two minutes remaining from 48 yards out effectively ended the Saints chances at victory.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons appear to have a stranglehold on the division with a 4-0 record after defeating the Carolina Panthers (1-3) in an interdivisional matchup on Sunday. This is a talented division, and it seems pretty hard to see them clawing their way back into the playoffs.
Clearly this team is still reeling following the Bountygate scandal, and it appears that they sorely miss their head coach Sean Payton. Their overall game management seems diminished under interim head coach Aaron Kromer, as interim head coach Joe Vitt is also suspended for 6 games following the Bounty scandal. By the time Vitt gets back on the sideline, it may be too late for this talented but snake bitten team to get back into the playoff hunt.