Saints 2014|08

Oct 26, 2014 by

Saints LogoWelcome to our 15th stop at 2-4. While 11 seasons have started worse, no 2-4 season has finished better than 9-7. Only one 2-4 Saints team made the playoffs: Jim Mora’s 1990 squad finished 8-8 and lost to the Bears, 6-16, at Soldier Field.That year the Saints finished divisionally in 2nd place behind the 14-2 49ers. How? With just 14 teams per conference, eight NFC teams finished 7-9 or worse! But unless we win the division this year, that kind of math won’t help us.

The good news is that the NFC south is a morass of failure with a combined 8-17-1 record. The Saints are in 2nd place behind the 3-3-1 Carolina Panthers and still have a decent chance at winning our division with six remaining home games and four away. This week is a division-wide home show with Seattle at Carolina, Detroit “at” Atlanta (in Londinium) and Minnesota at Tampa Bay. Carolina and Atlanta should go down, Tampa Bay, on the other hand, has shown steady improvement despite their record and could possibly bitchslap the Vikings.

Now I know you kids love to cry about the “Caints”, as in, “We caint win on the road!!” Ordinarily I ignore your churlish babble because the stats simply don’t back you up. Yes, yes, I know that since 1967 the Saints are a road nightmare at 139-233, (37.8%) but you can not apply past seasons to the current team unless the data is consistent! If anything the line has to be drawn at coaching!

But this year we’re 0-4 on the road, (0-7 stretching back to last season,) and the perception is quickly turning into solid fact! I don’t have any answers on how to fix it, (save consistency,) but I did dig around in the Saints home/away records. The following stats include post-season games:

– In 48 seasons, the Saints have 27 seasons with a better home record than away, 14 seasons better on the road and 7 seasons crapping it up equally regardless of locale.

– Sean Payton has 4 seasons better at home, 3 better on the road and one tied. Note this includes 2014 but not the 2012 season he spent combing cheerleaders out of his beard in Dallas.

– The Saints 2009-10 Championship run boasted an 80% home record but an 88.9% away record! (You can argue that we were the home team in Miami, but the record books say not.)

– The Saints actually have 19 seasons where they won 50% or more of their road games! 5 of those belong to Sean Payton, 4 to Jim Haslett, 7 to Jim Mora, 2 to Bum Phillips and one to Dick Nolan.

– Overall only four coaches have 50% or better road records: Dick Stanfel (50%), Jim Mora (50.6%), Jim Haslett (53.1%) and Sean Payton (51.5%).

– Between Haslett and Payton the Saints have won roughly 52% of their road games; Not great, just a wafer-thin sliver above average. (And again, no, we are not counting 2012!) But not the “Caints” I keep hearing about every fucking year!

And here’s the problem: The “Caint” illusion is due to the fact that the Saints are actually undefeated at home in Payton’s last three seasons! 9-0 in 2011, 8-0 in 2013 and 2-0 so far this year! (We went 4-4 in 2012, but again, not a Payton year.) When you’re undefeated at home a 50% road success rate is certainly going to look shabby in comparison! If we won just 60% of our home games nobody would give a shit about losing half of our road games! At least, not to the point of crying about it every time we lost one!

Still, as I said earlier, the road has taken a sharp turn for us with seven straight losses going back to last season. Detroit has the league’s best defense, allowing an average of 14 points per game. And we scored 23! The only other team to do that this year was Carolina with 24 points! No one else has gotten past 17! That game was ours from start-to-finish save for two plays: An interception that should have been thrown away and a pass interference play that wasn’t even necessary. Play the ball, you get an INT; Play the man… you get the flag.

Rob Ryan almost has our defense in NFL shape. For most of four quarters they showed us what could be, but by the end of the game they were wheezingly awful. (The same can be said for the offense…) Still, it’s an improvement and that’s a good thing! A bad thing would be bracketing the two-minute warning with two timeouts while Detroit rests patiently ten yards away from your endzone. Worse would be a panicky, haphazard possession with 1:48 to go while hoarding your last timeout like my grandparents hoarded used tinfoil! Oh well. I’m not even going to mention the stupidity of trying to use Jimmy Graham as a decoy, considering the Lions did that with Megatron two games in a row… Oops!

Up Next: The Green Bay Packers come to town for our 24th meeting! The Saints trail the Pack’ 7-16, (30.43%) our 29th worst series. under Payton we’re 3-2-1. It’s a Dome-Sweet-Dome game so it’s a lock, yes? Well… The Packers have two road losses, (Seattle and Detroit,) and two road wins, (Chicago and Miami). Compare the Saints to those four teams and we pretty much line up dead center. If you figure it out strictly by home/away performance, the Saints should prevail 24-21. If you ignore venue the Saints walk away 24-32 losers.  But honestly, it’s the Dome! And it’s primetime! And we’re really, really, really pissed off! I’m going off-script for this one, kids:

Packers: 35

Saints: 38

Looks like it could be an overtime finish too! I mean, I have no data to support that, but as long as I’m winging it…

And now, for the moment you’ve all been dreading… The Numerical Frippery!

This sunday Drew Brees will tie John Tice and Archie Manning for 16th place in service with 134 games! Tune in next week as we compare Drew and Archie in what’s certain to be a stat-fest to surprise nobody!

In a rare explosion of desperation, Drew Brees (277-55th) rushed for 13 yards, passing Randy Schultz (269) and Joe Profit (274) in rushing yards!

Brees is currently on pace for 701 passing attempts this season which would land him in 2nd place all-time behind, ironically enough, Matthew Stafford’s 2012 mark of 727! He’s also on pace for 475 completions which would beat the current single-season record of 468 set in 2011 by… um… Drew Brees. And let’s look at yardage while we’re here! Brees is currently on pace for 5109 passing yards this year which would put this season at 6th place all-time, behind Peyton Manning (5477-2013), Drew Brees (5476-2011), Tom Brady (5235-2011), Drew Brees(5177-2012) and, uh… Drew Brees (5162-2013).

Pierre Thomas (308-7th) needs one reception to tie Danny Abramowicz.

Mark Ingram (390-14th) passed Ray Zellars (382) and Derek D Brown (388) in rushing attempts.

Austin Johnson became the 313th Saint to score, the 277th Saint to score a TD, the 285th Saint to catch a pass, and the 144th Saint to catch a TD pass! That’s a lot of work for one little 13-yard pass!

Nick Toon and Joe Morgan ran a three-card monte game on Tom Crabtree in the visitor’s tunnel for most of the game, siphoning his first Saints paycheck right out of his pocket!

Shayne Graham (12-11th place) jumped the power trio of Olindo Mare (10), Happy Feller (10) and Martin Gramatica (11) on the Saints FG list and now sits tied with Garo Yepremian. Graham (24-13th) is also tied with Gramatica for XPs.

Marcus Ball became the 311th Saint to make a tackle.

Curtis Lofton (214-28th) passed Josh Bullocks (208) and Renaldo Turnbull (209) on the tackle list. Lofton is six tackles away from jumping into 25th place, past Jabari Greer (217), Darrin Smith (218) and La’Roi Glover (219).

Keenan Lewis (5-47th) and Kenny Vaccaro (2-88th) both intercepted Matt Stafford. Yay! We’re making interceptions!!

Corey White (1-110th, 30-way tie) became the 143rd Saint to sack a QB. Parys Haralson (4.5-56th) and Junior Galette (25.5-14th) each also sacked Stafford. Galette moved out of his tie with Willie Whitehead (24.5) and is half a sack behind Jumpy Geathers (26). Cameron Jordan… we’re waiting…

-M Styborski

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