The Saints’ implosion on Sunday took them from up 24-6 in the third quarter to losers of a third straight game in breakneck fashion.
Tackle Zach Strief would like to take on the blame for that sudden turn of events. Strief couldn’t stay in front of Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, who had three sacks including a fourth quarter safety that brought the Chiefs close enough to tie the game on a Ryan Succop field goal. After the game, Strief made no excuses for his role in a painful 27-24 overtime loss.
“I’ve never felt more individually responsible for the destruction of an offense before. I mean, I’ve just never been in a situation … I mean, hats off to him. That’s a game that you fear as a lineman. I had no answers. And I think I really gave us no chance to get anything going,” Strief said, via Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I don’t feel like I did a good job at any point in that game. … I think I was physically and mentally beaten. And that’s disappointing, because you just can’t be in that situation. As a professional athlete, you can’t be in the situation that I was in today.”
Give Strief high marks for accountability, but downgrade him for accuracy. As bad as Strief was on Sunday, this wasn’t about one player destroying things for his entire team. Strief wasn’t on the field when Jamaal Charles went 91 yards for a touchdown, he wasn’t the only guy on the field when the team went three-and-out in overtime, he wasn’t responsible for the coaching staff wasting two timeouts in the fourth quarter and there were plenty of times when Drew Brees had time to throw without inflicting any damage on the Chiefs defense.
There were a lot of things wrong with the Saints on Sunday, in other words, and there has been plenty wrong with them in all three of their losses. Fixing those problems won’t be easy, but it will help if other players are as forthright about their shortcomings as Strief was on Sunday night.