Rapid Reaction: Redskins 40, Saints 32

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
4:46
PM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 40-32 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

What it means: It was only one game, so it's not time to panic. But this loss is at the very least disturbing. I don't know how much of it had to do with the absence of suspended coach Sean Payton, but the Saints didn't look like the team they have been in recent years. They had a fired-up home crowd, but didn't take advantage of it. There were lots of problems on offense and defense. If those problems continue the next few weeks, then I think we'll see Payton's suspension was the most harmful part of the whole bounty saga.

What I liked: Jimmy Graham. The tight end looked even better than he did last season. He created all sorts of matchup problems for the Redskins. They simply could not cover him. But one of the many mistakes the Saints made was not using Graham even more than they did.

What I didn't like: The rest of the offense. It never really got in sync, at least by the Saints' standards. The running game barely was a factor and none of the wide receivers had a great day. The offensive line also had a rough day, including several costly penalties, and did not give Drew Brees a lot of time to throw the ball.

What else I didn't like: The defense. It's a new system with Steve Spagnuolo as the coordinator, but there were no signs of improvement. The Saints got carved up by a rookie quarterback. No doubt the absence of injured cornerback Jabari Greer was a significant factor. But the secondary struggled in coverage. Blame a lot of that on the lack of a pass rush. Spagnuolo is known for being able to get pressure on quarterbacks, but we didn't see very much pressure in his debut game. Maybe Robert Griffin III will go on to become one of the all-time greats, but the Saints made him look like that in his very first game.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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