It was previewed as a possible shootout between New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. The story by game’s end however was that only one of the offenses clicked while the other was stuck in neutral as the Broncos won 34-14.
“There was way too much hype and not enough substance with me coming back last week," said assistant head coach Joe Vitt following the game. "I've got to do a better job of preparing our football team. I’ve got to do a better job of getting our football team ready physically, mentally and emotionally to play in a game like this. To be quite frank with you, there’s still stuff that I need to do better. I took a time out, I went for it in the first half on fourth down and are we prepared to take that shot without taking a time out? I should have went for it on fourth down in the third quarter, I didn't do it. I told our team to be prepared for that."
“That was a very poor performance on our part on third down. We were not able to sustain drives. We kept our defense out there for entirely too long," Brees said after the game. "I felt like you have to give their defense credit — they played well and made some plays, but overall I believe there were things that we did to ourselves in a lot of cases that prevented us from converting those.”
Brees struggled all night not with just being pressured by was uncharacteristically inaccurate with his passes. The Saints QB missed on several throws with many of those to open receivers. Brees finished the night going 22 of 42 for 213 yards to go with two touchdowns and an interception.
“A lot of cases I tell myself I need to throw it better and they tell me they need to catch it," Brees says of the offense's struggles all night including third down. "Listen, we've all been together long enough. We understand some of those things are a part of the game and they’re going to happen every now and then, but it seemed like it happened a lot to us tonight, just in so many different ways. Listen, 1-of-12 on third is just pitiful.”
No doubt Saints fans will once again harp on the Saints defense once again giving up a ton of yards. Denver accumulated 530 yards of offense. “I think poor run defense comes from not staying in their gap and not tackling," Vitt said of the Saints inability to stop the Broncos run game.
“We have to be able to execute, we have to be able to tackle better," said safety Roman Harper of the defense's play Sunday night. "I know we are facing a formidable offense and we get that, but at the end of the day we get paid to make plays defensively and we aren't making enough."
The Saints running game once again struggled although never having a lead doesn't help those efforts. Running back Pierre Thomas had a team high 43 yards on eight carries as the team overall managed just 51 yards on the ground.
Next up the Saints will once again play in prime time as they host the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.