Falcons 27, Saints 24

I’m traveling this week, so I wasn’t able to pay my usual attention to the game. So, this’ll be a relatively short post.

I used to think that NFL teams had to play well enough to beat the the other team as well as and 2 other opponents: (1) bad luck, and (2) bad officiating. If you don’t play well enough to overcome the other team, bad luck, and bad officiating, then you don’t deserve to win. Today, I’m officially adding a new item to the list: kickers.

Yesterday, the Saints didn’t play well enough to overcome bad kicking. You can lay most of the blame at the offense’s feet. Let’s look at our adjusted Yards Per Attempt measure, which is a good proxy for offensive efficiency:

Matt Ryan was 1930 for 228 yards with 2 sacks for -13 yards. His total adjusted YPA was 6.72, which is solid, but unspectacular. This implies that the Saints’ defense did a good job containing the Falcons’ offense, especially given the fact that the Saints’ offense kept giving the ball away.

Brew Drees was 3038 for 365 with 2 interceptions and 2 sacks for -10 yards. Those interceptions really killed the Saints offensive efficiency, and it shows in Brew’s adjusted YPA of 5.88.

Simply put, you can’t turn the ball over 3 times and expect to win. Turnovers saved the Saints last week, but the team wasn’t so lucky this time. While Hartley’s missed chip shot prevented the team from winning, it was really their offensive performance that cost them the game.