The New Orleans Saints had a difficult task at hand this afternoon: They had to beat a formidable opponent in the Green Bay Packers, at Lambeau Field no less, to get their first win of the season.
After losing their first three to teams that all had their only wins against New Orleans, save for the Washington Redskins, the Saints were desperate for a win. They, along with Who Dat nation, did not want to go 0-4; that would be quite the hole to try and climb out of.
Well, the Saints did not get their first win. And although it will be difficult to get out of such a predicament, there were some encouraging things in today's game that New Orleans can build on.
Let's take a look at a few things we learned from Week 4.
Drew Brees is an amazing quarterback
This is a given, but he really showed it today. Brees put up video game-like numbers, and his best performance thus far, throwing for 446 yards and three touchdowns. He played a great game and kept the Saints toe-to-toe with the Packers, not letting his sub-par start (to his standards) discourage him.
Brees also reached another historical plateau, tying Johnny Unitas in consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass.
Brees is a special player, and has solidified his legacy in this league, continuing to break records.
Marques Colston is back
The wide receiver got a handsome payday when the Saints gave him a contract extension: A five-year deal worth $40 million.
Today, Colston showed why he was worth every penny. Colston, who was plagued by injuries during the preseason, was off to a slow start in his first three games. But today, Colston exploded with nine receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown.
As long as Colston stays healthy, he can continue being the playmaker he has always been for the Saints organization.
Offense still needs some work
Although Brees and Colston had great games today, the offense still needs work. There have been too many costly dropped balls, and it ruins any momentum the offense may be building up.
The Saints also need more production from the running game, which has been MIA for most of the season. Today, New Orleans produced only 45 yards on 19 carries, averaging 2.4 yards per attempt. In order to keep defenses off balance, Pete Carmichael has to mix in some running plays and make use of the Saints talented backfield.
The offensive line is not as dominant as it used to be, allowing two sacks on Brees, but overall, they did a nice job today against the Packers.
The pass-rush is non existent
Yes, nothing has changed in this department. Something isn't clicking. The Saints have the talent to generate pressure on quarterbacks, but haven't done so thus far this season. Rodgers wasn't sacked once, and for the most part, had plenty of time to sit in the pocket and scan the field for open receivers. Take that away, and the outcome of today's game would have been different. And that goes for the first three games as well.
The defense needs to be more consistent
The Saints defensive unit made it too easy for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offensive unit to score in the first half. Green Bay came out firing with 21 points and 228 yards.
They put up more of a fight in the second half, forcing two turnovers out of the Packers offense and allowing only one touchdown. If they can do that for an entire game, it can be the difference between winning and losing.
The team needs to be more disciplined
The Saints today had 10 penalties for 72 yards. They've had a problem committing penalties since the beginning of the season, some have been more costly than others. Those penalties either kill drives or keep drives alive for the opposing team. New Orleans needs to focus more and stop shooting themselves in the foot.
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