It was quite a break out performance for former Hahnville High School standout running back Darius Reynaud this past Sunday. In the Tennessee Titans 44-41 victory over the Detroit Lions in overtime, Reynaud made two crucial plays on special teams to lift his team to an upset win.
On a play called "Maroon 6," Reynaud caught a punt and proceeded to launch the ball laterally across the field to Tommie Campbell. Campbell then raced downfield 65 yards for a touchdown after the catch.
The left-handed Reynaud had never thrown a pass in high school, college or in the pros before and he was a little nervous once special teams coach Alan Lowry made the call.
"Yes, I was a little nervous, but we had practiced it quite a bit during the week," Reynaud said. "But sometimes it doesnít quite turn out to be the same at game speed. My heart was just pounding, but it worked out great and Tommie (Campbell) just ran away from people after the catch. I am just glad we won the game."
Reynaud later raced 105 yards, a new Tennessee Titans franchise record, with a kickoff for a touchdown.
Titans head coach Mike Munchak says that Reynaud has performed at a level above what he expected once the team signed the free agent in January.
"Our scouts really liked Dariusí speed and big play skills, but you just arenít sure what you will get until you see him perform and he has certainly made an impact on this football team," Munchak said. "Those two plays he made (Sunday) changed the course of this game and everyone saw his speed and explosiveness on the kickoff return.
"Heís such a hard worker and someone that knows what it means to give the best that he can on each snap. We are excited to see his progress and he has a chance to be a really good player in this league."
Meltdown at the Dome
At the end of the third quarter, the New Orleans Saints looked as though they were going to notch their first win of the 2012 season leading the Kansas City Chiefs 24-13.
But the team melted down in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, giving up 11 fourth quarter points to put the game in overtime. The Chiefs prevailed 27-24.
The Saints have plenty of people to blame and it is not just on the defensive side of the ball.
The Saints offense went stagnant in the fourth quarter, and with no running game, the Saints offensive line was manhandled by a Chiefs front that seemed to be in the backfield harassing Drew Brees on just about every passing play.
Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was solid all game long completing 26 of his 44 passes for 248 yards, but it was the rushing skills of halfback Jamal Charles that really paced the Chiefs to a victory.
Charles rushed for 233 yards on 33 carries and averaged a whopping 7.1 yards per carry. His 233 rushing yards against the Saints Sunday ranks him third all-time in Saints history for the amount of yards rushed against New Orleans.
Only Denver Broncos halfback Mike Anderson back in 2000 (251 yards) and Los Angeles Rams running back Willie Ellison in 1971 (247) rushed for more yards from scrimmage against the Black and Gold defense.
The former University of Texas halfback also caught 6 passes for 55 yards and his total yards from scrimmage, 288 yards, are the most ever combined rushing and receiving total by a halfback. Only Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Willie Andersonís total of 336 yards receiving against the Saints in 1989 eclipsed the yardage total of Charles.
In three games the Saints defense have given up 645 yards rushing to open the season and on 130 rushing attempts opposing teams are averaging 4.96 yards per carry against New Orleans.
It has become more and more obvious that the talent level upfront along the Saints front-seven is not a unit good enough now to play winning football in the NFL.
They are not getting enough bang for their buck from their four former first round draft choices that line their front, and free agent linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne seem to have some hesitation in their play while trying to grasp the defensive concepts laid out by new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Right now the Saints have nothing to hang their hats on both offensively and defensively and it is apparent just how much they miss the play-calling and motivation skills of Sean Payton.
This team seems as though they are looking for that spark that Payton seemingly could bring to the table in most games and right now it is sorely missing from this team.
The reality check is also in place for all fans of the Black and Gold in that less than 3 percent of teams that go 0-3 make it to playoffs.
If the Saints continue to engage in shootout performances week-in and week-out they win one game, lose another and finish right around the .500 mark.
The "Who Dat" faithful, who are now accustomed to winning, wonít be very happy if this team finishes with an 8-8 record, but that is the reality of today.
Drew Brees can only do so much, and right now when your team canít stop the run and canít cover receivers downfield on a consistent basis, this 2012 version of the Saints looks a lot like the 2007 team that finished 7-9 to end the season.
Over the next few weeks a very leaky defense faces Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Josh Freeman, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick and Matt Ryan.
|Darius Reynaud had a 105-yard kickoff return for the Titans.|