Quick Take: Broncos 34, Saints 32
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
When the Saints decided to keep Martin Gramatica over Taylor Mehlhaff right before the start of the season, they said Gramatica won the job by being automatic in the preseason. They also said they wanted an experienced kicker, who had won some big games.
Now, there's lots of room to question that decision. Sure, Gramatica won some games with Tampa Bay a long time ago, but he also missed some kicks and lost some games. That's why the Bucs didn't hang onto Gramatica.
The Saints invested a sixth-round pick in Mehlhaff and he had plenty of leg and upside. He just wasn't quite as accurate as Gramatica in the preseason. Maybe the Saints should have taken a chance on Mehlhaff's upside because he probably would have kept getting better.
Gramatica could only get worse than he was in the preseason. The Saints probably could have foreseen that if they looked at Gramatica's streaky pass. That came back to bite the Saints on Sunday.
Gramatica missed two field-goal attempts, including a 43-yarder that could have won the game. As long as we're questioning decisions by the Saints, let's wonder aloud about the decision by the coaching staff to go conservative at the end of the game. With Drew Brees and the passing game putting up huge numbers, the Saints elected to run the ball three straight times before Gramatica's missed field goal. Pierre Thomas got stuffed on a third-and-1.
That leads to another question; why not use Deuce McAllister in short-yardage situations?