Watched the replay tonight- found it helpful that they spliced in some bird's eye footage so you could see how the coverages were deployed and how they motioned up to the snap. I have narrowed the critical aspects to three factors and will present my arguments below. First I would like to point out a few things. First, BB is going about this game with the right attitude. In the big picture, I realized that he was right in yanking Brady and conceding early so as to shift some of the burden onto himself, rather than let the team get more battered and kicked in the balls while it was already down. It was a good psychological move, one that gave the team, and especially the defense, a psychological back door to "exit" the game. Two, I realize now that if I were BB, I would not tear into the team or chew them out. This was a big "playoff atmosphere" game, and there is just no way to learn how to play in a big game other than to experience it first-hand, and Monday night was a big learning experience. I have also changed my mind on Wilhite. I would not bench him. The errors that he made were not physical, but mental, and those are, as BB said: "correctable." Again, there is just no way to learn how to play in a big game than to play in a big game. It's just a trial by fire. Factors: 1. Our defense had big-game jitters/Brees performance: As you can see, that is a fatal combination. First off, Brees was flat out lights out. He was on top of his game and easily had one of the best games of his career. Only 5 incompletes and a perfect passer rating. His throws were just right on the dime, backshoulder, lead, short. His mechanics were flawless: closed hips, shoulders closed to target, step-through. No wasted motion. I don't think that we expected such a sharp game from an elite QB. we did not play true cover. Frankly, our defense simply had the jitters. There is no other heading under which I can think of to group all the miscues, breakdowns, communication problems, especially with our secondaries, that occured.. However it is obvious this was set up by the utter lack of pass-rushing we exhibited the whole game. It was just non-existent. It shifted too much pressure on the secondaries and overworked them. Based on this diagnosis, I do not want to see any more 4 men fronts for the rest of this season. It just doesn't work. I would rather see blitzing out of the 3-4 than rushing out of the 4-3. With the help of the bird's eye, I figured out the mystery of why Meriweather broke right and dropped coverage on the Wilhite fake man press to blitz Brees. As it turns out, Brees sold a fake left slant pretty hard (credit to him) and Meriweather felt justfied to gamble on the play. So it is not fair to say that Meriweather blew it- he gambled on it, but in retrospect, I wonder if there was not a miscommunication where he may have not realized Wilhite was in blitz option and therefore was responsible for the handoff in coverage. On the TD Wilhite gave up to Meacham- it is not entirely on him. Bodden's man went idle (bad sell) and he should have known to instantly cut back as fast as he could on the deep read because the safeties sink to contain Shockey, leaving Wilhite on an island. You can see Bodden start to cut back too late. Those are just two examples of the many mental errors- and as you can see those are training camp mistakes, basic mistakes; high school mistakes. You don't see breakdowns like this on the NFL level and the only logical explanation is that they simply must have had big-game jitters to forget so many, to have so many miscues and breakdowns. 2. Our playcalling is not "bad" it is a work in progress: This is the reason BB will not fire O'Brien (outside of a big meltdown or IQ collapse). Playcalling is a trial by fire process where you learn by a thousand mistakes There are just too many small factors and and influence on the game and how it evolves. There is a distinct lack of in-game adjustments. They kept going trips wide, 2x, on MacKenzie's side of the field, and when you line X, Y, you know there is a hitch option and Mackenzie reads it like the 10 year vet he is and kills it time and again (e.g. the 4th and 4 quick slant to Moss). Also the playcalling should have been more balanced. I would have liked to see more play actions, more draws with Faulk (see where he ripped off a big gain). It is just a matter of reading the rhythm of the game and getting a sense of what NO is trying to disguise by motioning so much. There is just nothing to do here except have patience. It is just a growing experience, it's watching a tree grow. You're going to have to eventually let it grow because if you want to cut it down, then you'll just have to repeat the process with a new seed, a new sapling. 3. Saints D/D planning: In retrospect, I should have known that Williams was probably salivating over the chance to really stick it to BB. I do not think for a moment that it escaped him that BB has been eating him for lunch for quite a while. And so to his credit, he came up with something that has not been done this thus far and something that worries me a bit- but also something that is dependent on a first rate DL. What he did was to focus on taking away our two weapons, Moss and Welker by double-teaming them in the general sense of the word in an over-under type of bracket coverage where the LBs play deep to anticipate the cross and only dropped after the cross to stop the underneath. In this way they cancelled the hi-low drag by hedging their bets on the underneath routes, and zoning the outsides. This is why they did mostly rush 3 drop 8, or 4/7 and the occasional blitz. It also didn't help that our OL was nowhere near 100%. I would not be so fast to award Brees the game ball. I think part of it has to go to Mike MacKenzie, who remarkably was on the streets only last week. That man alone killed three drives. He is uncanny in the quick game and absolutely kills the quick slant. They motioned him sometimes as a hybrid LB, when Welker was in the slot. To me he was the big X factor. It was impossible to anticipate for him because he was on the streets last week. He was a big factor in killing Welker's ability to YAC. Other minor notes: Clear PI on Welker costed us a TD, and although the refs tried to make up for it by calling illegal contact on the next play, it was just a huge break for the Saints. Also PI on Watson that would have got us into the RZ. Stanback blew it in the EZ, he slowed up too soon, focusing too much on the catch. Illegal formation was a stupid call. Technically you must not motion before a full count if someone else motions first (e.g. Watson moves to LOS to make Moss eligible). But to me, Moss didn't really motion right away. Dumb call to me. For some reason, Mayo is just not himself. He is nowhere near 100%. Despite all that, it was STILL a game until 10:23 of the 3rd quarter until Wilhite whiffed on that backshoulder throw to Colston that led to the monster YAC that just killed the momentum. The game just spiraled out of control after that point. Game balls Wilfork: The man busted his balls against a great OL, in double coverage quite a bit but kept making plays after plays. Welker: This is one tough SOB who took a beating and just kept going, going, and going. I am afraid for his future and how long he can last playing like this. Nerf balls Brady: put in a stinker, just not clicking at all. More of the same 1-2 option and not enough exploitation of the soft outside zone coverage NO gambled on. Missed on long throws to Aiken, Moss, Watson, etc. OL: I think this has been covered very extensively. Passrushers: same here.