The New Orleans Saints suffered a tough 34-24 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night, falling to 1-1.
While the offense put up decent numbers (424 yards, 7.4 yards/play, 64% on third down), it looked out of sync at many points. New Orleans was without wide receiver Michael Thomas but WWL Saints color analyst Deuce McAllister doesn't think that was the issue.
“You're going to miss Michael Thomas,” McAllister said. “It's hard to make up his production, but that wasn't why you lost the game. I think that was more about execution.”
One area where that was evident was with penalties. A week after racking up 119 penalty yards against Tampa Bay, the Saints had 10 penalties for 129 yards. They are dead last in the NFL in penalty yards, and they are the only team averaging more than 100 penalty yards per game.
“They have to get that cleaned up quickly,” McAllister stressed. “It's not even a question. If they don't get it cleaned up, it's going to cost them another game.”
McAllister pointed out how the struggles with execution also showed up late in the game for the defense.
“You have to control the football,” McAllister emphasized. “The Raiders had almost 20 more offensive plays than the Saints. That was disappointing. You could tell the guys got fatigued at the end with the poor tackling. They weren't flying around like they were earlier in the game.
“You just have to do a better job,” he continued. “That was one thing the Raiders knew. If they could keep it close, they could run it."
So should Saints fans be concerned yet?
“I don't think you get concerned at this point,” McAllister explained. “I think it's more frustration than anything else just because of the expectations that you have for them. You know what the team is capable of doing; and for them to go out there and not play up to their capabilities, that frustrates you.”
The Saints have to turn around quickly with a visit from the 2-0 Green Bay Packers looming on Sunday.