Fooling around at the crucial moment is excruciating. Mark Ingram took charge of his role in the Saints’ Monday Night blowout against the Pirates.
For a full three quarters, the New Orleans Saints held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to only a field goal. It looked as if the Saints were going to cruise through the fourth quarter, and continue to be a thorn in the side of Tom Brady’s time in Tampa Bay.
Tampa scored a touchdown to close the lead from 16-3 to 16-10. No problem, New Orleans only needed one good drive, ideally a score, to secure the win.
Instead, they gave Brady 149 seconds, which is far too long for a break. Of course, Brady did what Brady did and put together a nearly flawless drive to get another TD, putting them up at once with mere seconds left for New Orleans to work with.
There were many moments to point out about things going wrong, but a lot honed in on one specific game that felt like a lackluster effort from running back Mark Ingram. Here is the play:
To his credit, Ingram puts together a good 7-yard touchdown run to set up the Saints for 3rd and 1. The problem is, he had an easy way to get over the first descent and took the easy way out, going out of bounds. Whether he didn’t know where the first sign was or he did and just made a business decision, it wasn’t a winning game.
What makes it even more stinging is that this came after a powerful 17-yard penalty return from rookie Rashid Shaheed.
Mark Ingram takes charge of the play
Mark Ingram II showed the veteran responsibility and tweeted this after the game in response to the checked play:
Whatever you think of the play, it’s what you’d expect from veterans. You can’t get 100 percent of the plays right, but you have to take responsibility and learn from the plays you missed. Ingram messed up big here and took it as best he could.
Look, in Ingram’s defense, the Saints were ahead by 13 points by the time the play occurred with just over six minutes left. The team was preparing for the transition to eating time and conservative play. So it’s no surprise that Ingram wasn’t looking to put his body on the line to stay within the boundaries and get first. A business decision tracks the outcome and schedule of a game, even if it’s not quite a winning game.
For what it’s worth, the coaching staff has not demonstrated that they implement a winning culture that indicates the importance of those winning plays.
However, staying in bounds would have played nicely with the strategy of eating as much of the watch as possible, so either way you look at it, this is head-scratching from Ingram. Especially with all his consistency of acting in the black and gold throughout his career.
After this play, something went wrong. On third and one, the Saints were looking to pass. Running the ball was wiser if you only gained one yard.
After that, the Saints gave up two touchdowns and three putts before their final miracle play with three seconds left in the game. Ingram’s play was a decisive, but far from final losing play of the game.
Respect Ingram for owning it. This is what seasoned players do.