“It’s the first time that’s happened to me here,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Saturday. “I don’t like it, and it’s not going to happen again.”
And with that, the league’s No. 6 defense in points allowed (19.2 points per game), and No. 8 in yards allowed (319.8 per game), will look to do Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against Carolina what it failed to accomplish Monday night against the Seahawks in Seattle.
It will look to get back to doing things the way it has most of the season, as it became one of the league’s glaring turnaround jobs from last season, when it allowed 440.1 yards per game.
Only one opponent, New England, has managed to score more points on offense (30) than did Seattle in its 34-7 victory (the Seahawks scored a defensive touchdown). The Patriots, with 434 yards, also are the only opponent to total more yards. No other opponent has more than 376.
Thus, Ryan and his unit can harbor the belief that Monday’s game was an outlier this season.
“That’s the first time this year that we’ve turned some people loose (breakdowns in pass coverage), and that’s not who we are. We’re better than that. It didn’t work out well for us but we put a lot of work in and we’re excited about the challenge this week.
“As a coach, it’s definitely on me. I changed some things up in coverage that obviously caused a little confusion on our part. It wasn’t good, but we’re going to bounce back from that and hopefully get better from it.”
The first opportunity to exhibit the lesson learned will be Sunday night, in prime time, in a game against an NFC South rival who has the same record (9-3) and an eight-game winning streak.
Ryan said the Saints will enter the game with a confidence level that hasn’t waned. With five games of having allowed fewer than 300 yards of offense, and 10 in which it has allowed two or fewer touchdowns – and wins nine times when the opposing offense has been held to two touchdowns or less – the defense is confident in its resume.
“We know we’re doing the right thing,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a lot of games that we’ve played, that we played well. The second half (against Seattle), we played better. It was just one of those days. I’ve had those days before, a lot of them. It’s something you want to avoid but it’s something that definitely can be fixed.
“If we were doing this every week, I wouldn’t be here. And our guys know we’ve got to play better, but certainly, I’ve got to coach better.”