Saints run defense putrid on the road

As the New Orleans Saints search for answers to their road woes after the team fell to 3-4 away from the Superdome, one factor is becoming obvious: Their run defense is scaring no one on the road.

In five of seven road games, opposing teams have called running plays more than 30 times against New Orleans. In seven homes games, no team has run the ball more than 25 times and the majority of games have been below 20 carries (four times).

Overall, New Orleans opponents have run 216 times in seven road games. They have run 135 times in seven home games. The four highest rushing totals against the Saints this year have all been on the road and the team has allowed more than 125 yards rushing in five road games.

The Saints have allowed only two opponents to rush for 100 yards total against them at home. Finally, the Saints have allowed four running backs (Doug Martin, Chris Ivory, Zac Stacy and Stevan Ridley) to post their best or second-best total of the season against them on the road. Stacy had 28 carries for 128 yards on Sunday for St. Louis.

“It’s not a smoke-and-mirrors defense, that’s not fair,” said an offensive coordinator who has faced the Saints this season. “They have some really good players, particularly (defensive linemen Cameron) Jordan and (Akiem) Hicks. Vaccaro is terrific, really active. The problem is that those guys are all young, so they can’t change things on the fly and if they don’t have the crowd noise on their side, they don’t play as fast.

“We ran a couple of things at them four or five times before they picked it up. That’s pretty typical with young guys.”

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