Carolina had it covered through fifteen minutes.
They'd kept the ball away from Drew Brees, ran the ball well, converted
on third down. They hadn't put up TDs, but hey, we're hopeful. They'll
get the ball back again and punch it in. They've only given two scores
up in the first half of games all year - sometimes six points is a good
That's when the voodoo kicked in, I guess - 21 points later, they went
into halftime having no real shot at getting back to respectability.
All of a sudden, a Marques Colston that hadn't made many plays all year
was burning the secondary. Then the rest of the wheels came off, and it
became harder to put a lot of pressure on Jimmy Graham. The rush wasn't
getting there - I could make some comments about the officiating
favoring the home team (holding calls weren't there, but interference
calls were), but the team didn't do its part and it's hard to pinpoint
many terrible calls - just that there were more calls on the back end,
and suddenly a team doing its best to play press couldn't jam and got
called for holding a lot. The adjustment to stop the calls, made
And then, the efficient third down Cam Newton disappeared, and the
spazzy, take a 15 yard sack on third down Cam showed instead. The right
side of the line broke down, then everything broke down.
At the end, the Saints coasted a bit, and Carolina finally got in the
endzone, only three quarters too late against a softer coverage. A
total disaster. Is the season over? No, but you can't help but feel
like the team is exposed.