Going into Week 3 of the season, the New Orleans Saints were the most penalized team by yards in the entire NFL. The Saints were penalized 16 times for 248 yards in the first two weeks of the NFL season. This trend continued on Sunday Night Football. Against the Green Bay Packers, the Saints were penalized eight more times for 83 yards. In close games, these penalties can be the difference between wins and losses. Sean Payton and the rest of the staff have many things to discuss but penalties will surely be at the top of that list. Unless fixed, the undisciplined New Orleans Saints continue to lose games due to mindless penalties.
Undisciplined New Orleans Saints
In the first two weeks of the NFL, the Saints had 16 penalties called against the team, tied for second-most in the NFL. The yardage is even a bigger issue than the number of penalties. The nearly-250 penalty yards were an NFL-high. Considering most NFL drives start at the 25-yard line, this translates to four touchdowns in the first two weeks. Considering the 10-point Week 2 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, penalties were a major culprit in the loss. Defensive pass interference sealed the win for the Raiders. The trend would continue in Week 3 as the Saints added another eight penalties in Sunday Night Football.
The type of penalties directly leads to the yards lost as well. After the Week 3 loss to the Packers, the Saints have been flagged for defensive pass interference eight times, which are spot fouls. Various 15-yard penalties have also been a thorn in the side. The Saints have had four unnecessary roughness calls while roughing the passer has been called once.
Sunday Night Football Result
The Saints once again surrendered a huge amount of yards on Sunday night against the Packers. At least two of these penalties were extremely close or mistakes, but a team penalized this much are scrutinized much harsher than disciplined teams. The Saints were penalized another 83 yards against the Packers. In close games, these yards are the difference between wins and losses. Just like in Week 2, Saints penalties led game-ending drives for opposing teams. An end-zone defensive pass interference put the ball on the 1-yard line which Aaron Rodgers quickly turned into the touchdown that ended any hopes of a Saints comeback. The 83 yards is enough for a touchdown, which the Saints lost by on Sunday night 37-30.
The NFC is shaping up to be very top-heavy as several teams look to be in the race for the top seeds. Sunday Night’s opponent, the Green Bay Packers, are obvious contenders at 3-0. The Seattle Seahawks are undefeated as well and look incredible on offense. The San Fransisco 49ers have overcome countless injuries and are 2-1 after Week 3. NFC South foes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have rebounded since their Week 1 loss and have won two straight. None of these contenders have the discipline issues that the Saints do. The nearest contender has 100 fewer penalty yards than the Saints.
If the Saints are going to contend in the NFC South, they will need to fix their issues with penalties going forward. In close games, penalty yards can be the difference between wins and losses. If the Saints are in Super-Bowl-or-bust mode, then they will have to cut down on the mistakes and mindless penalties that have plagued them in the first three games of the season. Sean Payton and the coaching staff will have to do a better job of preparing this team not only physically but mentally. The undisciplined New Orleans Saints penalty issues are the fault of the entire organization and unless fixed, this team will have almost no chance at a deep playoff run.