Matt Ryan stood in the pocket for six seconds.
He looked left, then right, then left again. No one was there. The Falcons had five players running routes, and not a single one had an inch of space with which to work. So, he rolled out, and kept looking until making a feeble attempt to complete a pass to the right sideline and found nothing despite Patrick Robinson getting hurt and exiting before the play was over. Atlanta had to punt.
There have been many examples of how the New Orleans defense has grown this season. Just a couple plays before this one, the Saints had two players in position to tackle Julio Jones on a bootleg attempt, when earlier in the season they couldn’t even get one in the right spot. But this one ranks right near the top. Earlier in the season, when the pass rush couldn’t get home, there was finite amount of time the defense could cover before things busted. Now, the coverage can hold.
The Saints have played better overall games on defense, but there are things about Sunday’s 21-16 win over the Falcons that made this one of the more impressive performances of the season.