Prior to Sunday's overtime defeat at the hands of Tennessee, the New Orleans Saints had built momentum with 3 straight wins and 4 victories in their last 5 games.
It looked as if that momentum was still on the side of the Saints when New Orleans quickly jumped out to a 14-3 lead. Quarterback Drew Brees had picked up from where he left off from the previous Sunday when the Saints outlasted the New York Giants. Brees had thrown 7 TD passes in the win.
He connected on eight of his first 10 passes for 150 yards and tossed a 10-yard touchdown to tight end Josh Hill and a perfect 38-yard TD strike to Brandin Cooks.
It looked as if New Orleans would coast under the win column. Looks can sometimes be deceiving.
The Titans defense had other ideas and after trailing 21-10, Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota took advantage of a break, when two Saints defenders Jarius Byrd and Keenan Lewis collided and the tipped ball ended into the hands of
Tennessee receiver Delanie Walker who scored on a 62-yard pass play.
The Saints defense bent and broke consistently throughout the last three quarters resulting in the Titans forcing overtime.
Tennessee won the toss and would deliver the knockout blow in overtime, a 5-yard touchdown strike from Mariota to tight end Anthony Fasano. Mariota ended the day feasting on the Saints defense passing for a career-best 371 yards and four touchdowns.
After the loss Saints quarterback Drew Brees entered the press conference room with a bloodied lip. He was constantly harassed because the Saints offensive line reverted back to not pass blocking and Brees took the brunt of the Titans assault. Brees says he wasn't targeted, he said it's just the nature of the game.
"Listen that's part of the game, "stated Brees. "That's a very good pass rush team. You turn on the film and watch them. They've got a lot of good pass rushers that can get after the quarterback. I think we knew that coming into this game. Obviously, there were times your ball has got to come out and these guys have a chance to get you. That's just football."
Saints head coach Sean Payton says he and his coaching staff must take the blame for the loss.
“Listen there are things we look at the tape and you know it’s a lot like your children, "said Payton. "If behavior continues you are either allowing it or aren’t making the corrections and so the child’s noisy at the grocery five weeks in a row at some point I look at the parent I don’t look at the child.”
Payton knows all areas of his football team must clean up their mistakes. He said the offense, defense and special teams have to play with consistency.
“It comes up in certain games, "stated Payton. "It is that roller coaster that we have seen with this team right now. You’re looking for more consistency.”
How much credit does Payton give to the Titans offensive game plan as opposed to his teams defensive execution?
“I think there is always that it’s always easier to come in and say we didn’t play our best game. There is always a common ground there and those guys doing some things well and making some plays and yet there are some things that you say hey we knew this tight end was their number one target and I think that when we watch tape you look at plays and say hey that was a great play and sometimes you watch the play and say the design there caused us those problems and we do the same thing in any other phase. I think closely looking at it and asking ourselves are we putting our players in the best position possible?
The 4 and 5 Saints travel to Washington Sunday at high noon facing the 3 and 5 Redskins.
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