Whatever balance the New Orleans Saints appeared to strike on offense three games ago has all but disappeared.
In posting consecutive rushing totals of 50 yards against the Detroit Lions and 46 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints have found themselves running the ball far less than they have thrown.
HC Sean Payton attributed some of that lopsidedness to a handful of the season-high 13 penalties in the 16-11 loss Sunday at Tampa Bay. The Saints tried on early downs in the first half to run the ball, as four of their five possessions before halftime began with a running play. But a loss of 3 on a first-and-10 run by Mark Ingram on the second possession put the Saints at second-and-13, and a 10-yard holding penalty by left guard Andrus Peat late in the fourth possession put the Saints at second-and-18, two plays before a field goal trimmed the Saints' deficit to 13-3, the story said.