2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints playoff chances slim after 3rd loss in row

By TOM CANAVAN - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-09 21:28

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New Orleans Saints seemed resigned to their fate after losing their third straight game: the possibility of missing the playoffs this season for a franchise that has grown accustomed to success.

The New York Giants hurt the playoff chances of the Saints (5-8) with a demoralizing 52-27 win that featured a breakout game by rookie David Wilson and four touchdown passes by Eli Manning.

Wilson returned a kickoff 97 yards for one touchdown, ran for 100 yards and two more scores and piled up a team-record 327 all-purpose yards in helping the Giants (8-5) snap a three-game losing streak against the Saints.

The best the Saints can finish is 8-8 and they would need a lot of help to get to the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

``I am more worried about us finishing strong,'' Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said. ``It's been a while since we've been eliminated from the playoffs. It's tough to swallow. Unfortunately, we're not getting it done right now. I don't do all the math. All I know is that 8 and 8 this season, I seriously doubt, will be playoff potential.''

The Saints didn't help themselves. Drew Brees threw two interceptions, the team lost two fumbles and its special teams allowed New York to gain a team-record 287 yards on kickoff returns.

``Field position was a huge factor in this game,'' Brees said. ``It felt like the Giants were starting inside our territory every time and we were starting inside our 20. So, you're saying it's 30 yards field position on every possession. You add that up over 10 possessions, that's 300 yards of offense. We equate that to 21 points. Look at the score.''

Interim coach Joe Vitt said the Saints special teams had played well all season, but they came up short against New York.

``When you're losing the way we're losing, you're a fragile football team,'' he said. ``We've got a lot of new guys, a lot of new faces on this football team. We've got enough guys who are used to winning and doing things the right way. Unfortunately, right now we don't have enough of them.''

And it could get even tougher for New Orleans.

The Saints might lose Vilma this week. Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is expected to rule on his appeal of the suspension handed down in the Bountygate case.

The Giants dominated all three phases of the game with Wilson becoming the first NFL player to have 200 yards in kickoff returns and 100 yards rushing in a game, with his total breaking the Giants mark of 303 yards set by current teammate Domenik Hixon in 2009.

The Giants (8-5) maintained their one-game lead in the NFC East over Washington and Dallas.

Manning had TD passes of 6 yards to Martellus Bennett, 5 yards to Hixon, 25 yards to Hakeem Nicks and 10 yards to Victor Cruz. Wilson scored on runs of 6 and 52 yards and reached the century mark on only 13 carries for the biggest day of his short career.

The 52 points were their most since scoring 55 against Green Bay in 1986. It also was the most given up by New Orleans, whose defense is run by former New York coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

``We've had some heartbreakers,'' Vitt said. ``We've played bad on both sides of the ball. But, this was a pounding today.''

Darren Sproles scored on a 13-yard run and caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brees late in the third quarter, cutting the Giants lead to 35-27.

However, Jerrel Jernigan returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to set up Manning's touchdown pass to Cruz. New York iced the game when Stevie Brown returned one of two interceptions thrown by Brees to set up Lawrence Tynes' 39-yard field goal.

The biggest play was Wilson's kickoff return, which came one play after Elbert Mack intercepted Manning in the left flat and returned it 73 yards to give the Saints a 7-0 lead.

The touchdown came minutes after Dallas rallied for a 20-19 win over Cincinnati and Washington beat Baltimore 31-28 in overtime despite losing Robert Griffin III to a knee injury.

The Giants could have folded against a team that had routed them the past two meetings.

Instead, Wilson, who has been threatening all season to break a kickoff, fielded one at the 3, went up the middle and then veered toward the right corner of the end zone. He capped it with a somersault.

A fumble near midfield by Jed Collins led to Manning's touchdown pass to Bennett and New York never trailed again.

Manning finished 22 of 35 for 259 yards and two interceptions. Brees, who had never lost to the Giants and had eight TD passes and no interceptions in the past two games, finished 26 of 43 for 354 yards. New Orleans outgained New York 487-394, but mistakes were its undoing.

The Giants didn't cash in after Wilson's returns of 58 and 52 yards, but his 20-yarder late in the half after a short kickoff set up a 69-yard touchdown drive. Manning capped it with the fade route to Hixon.

Defensive tackle Linval Joseph returned Collins' miscue 16 yards to the Saints 35. A 16-yard pass to Hixon and a couple of penalties set up a 6-yard touchdown toss to Bennett for a 14-7 lead.

Brees took the Saints on drives of 81 and 67 yards in the second quarter, but each time the NFL's top red-zone offense settled for field goals of 32 and 25 yards by Garrett Hartley.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group