Monday, 14 October 2013 10:32
Pin New Orleans Saints loss to Patriots, Brady on Payton's conservatism
Written by 

payton2blueWhen Payton goes conservative, the Saints lose

The Saints players will now enjoy a bye week, which gives head coach Sean Payton a lot of time to mull over a loss that came because he went all conservative on us. Payton has won a bunch of games as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, but you can pin Sunday’s last-second loss to the New England Patriots squarely on his forehead. Don’t get me wrong; I would rather have Payton making the ultimate decisions for as long as he thinks black and gold are trendy. But when he decided yesterday to hand the ball back over to the Saints defense inside the two-minute warning, he committed the same sin that has doomed other coaches before.

If you are an aggressive offense, the last thing you want to do is to give the ball up and rely on your defense to win the game. The Saints defense had performed admirably, but when the guy trying to beat them is Tom Brady, winner of three Super Bowls and Giselle Bundchen, the head coach should think seriously about holding on to the ball. That is exactly what Payton did not do Sunday when he went all conservative on us.

The Saints had the ball with the clock ticking down, and the Patriots out of time outs. He sent in two running plays and then allowed QB Drew Brees to float harmlessly to the left before going down which forced a punt. Where is the aggressiveness that is this team’s hallmark? Payton is probably the most aggressive and daring head coach in the NFL. Nobody else would have called an onside kick to start the second half of a Super Bowl where their team trailed at the half. But some games demand aggressiveness.

The Saints have been at the top of the league stats in time of possession, so why not try and keep the ball another two minutes? If you don’t make it, the Patriots might have more time to work, but with Brees’ offense, the chances are good that they would make it.

Not even trying leaves no doubt that New England will get a final chance, which they turned into a winning TD pass in the final seconds. Payton’s thinking could have been affected by the fact that one of his major offensive weapons was out of the game. The Patriots made a point early to shrink wrap TE Jimmy Graham with suffocating coverage by cornerback Aqib Talib. Despite that, Brees continued to look for his favorite target, often forcing passes into double and triple coverage. Six times he went to Graham, each with frustrating results. One of his last attempts ended in disaster after Brees threw an errant pass Graham's way with two defenders in the area. Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington grabbed the ball instead, giving the New England a short field on the New Orleans 20-yard line.

The Patriots took almost four minutes off the clock and kicked a 23-yard field goal after the turnover. Added to the insult came an undisclosed injury when Graham hobbled off the field and eventually left the game, ending one of the worst nights of his career. You can’t get greedy in this league. You won’t win all of them. But you also can’t give up the games where you have control and, for whatever reason, give it away when you don’t have to. If Payton would have told Brees to attack and get that first down in the final two minutes, then the Saints would have run out the clock and been 6-0 today.

The good news is that the loss does not hurt the Saints’ playoff positioning. If anyone would have given you a 5-1 record on October 12, you probably would have taken it and been happy for it. And the rest of the schedule does not look as intimidating as it did in August. The trip to Seattle won’t be a picnic, but the Saints play the Cowboys and 49ers at home, and Atlanta is struggling.

With two weeks to prepare for the Buffalo Bills, Payton just might want to convince Who Dat Nation that his conservative moment is past. Bills’ defensive coaches just might prepare for vintage Payton. Double reverses, onside kicks, throwbacks to Brees and a couple of hook-and-ladder plays thrown in. None of that would not surprise me after Payton’s dabbling with conservative play calling failed miserably.

His new book, "Where the Water Kept Rising," is available at and at local bookstores. And don't forget his website:

Login to post comments
  • A July 4th Fact of Facts: America is Land of Immigrants
  • Poll: Trump strong on jobs, weak on tweets, viewed as reckless, thin-skinned, sexist
  • President Trump, It doesn't feel like Independence Day
  • YIPPIE! The naked truth about free speech, cherished especially on Independence Day

mass2On July 4, 1778, George Washington doubled liquor rations for the soldiers quartered in Princeton, NJ, as a way to celebrate Independence Day. It’s fitting, therefore, that the Fourth of July is America's top-selling beer holiday, according to the Beer Institute. It estimated, in 2013, that sales of beer on the 4th could total $1 billion, doubtlessly higher today. “In moderation,” claims a CA brewery investor, Grover McKean, “beer is tasty and healthy.” Who could disagree?

Read More

joe mikaAs Donald Trump faces the top world leaders this week, including a face-time with Vladimir Putin, and as his healthcare proposals face an uphill climb, his poll numbers for how the nation views him could be better.

According to a morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday morning, his tweets, including that against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, and his personality are not helping him, at all.

Read More

indy dayII know the calendar says we are approaching the 4th of July, but, it just doesn’t feel like Independence Day.

Perhaps it should.  It’s hot as heck.  The airlines have been packed. The hot dogs are ready for grilling.  The umps are saying, "play ball". The patriotic activities are scheduled. The fireworks are ready-for-blasting. 

Yet, it just doesn’t feel like independence day.

Read More

bill rights2To President Thomas Jefferson, July 4th celebrated more than the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He thought it was a link to the future. The message prominent colonists sent to King George III led to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the initial and most prominent feature of which is the First Amendment that guarantees free speech. It’s part of the country’s fundamental essence that each man and woman can say what they feel about government, or anything else, proving President Donald Trump needs some civics lessons.

Read More


Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1