The Niners play the Saints today, a matchup of the NFL’s first ranked passing offense (in yards per game) against the league’s seventh-best pass defense (again, in yards per game). Here are the numbers:
Saints – 315 passing yards per game (1st)
Niners – 161 passing yards allowed per game (7th)
Another passing statistic for the Saints that jumps out is their yards per completion. Too many sportswriters and analysts list yards per attempt as a worthy stat. It’s all bout the yards per completion, as an incompletion is irrelevant. The ball doesn’t move upfield, so why not just note how many yards a team averages every time it does move the ball. Here are the Saints’ yards per completion stats through three games:
Week 1: 343 yards 23 completions 14.9 yards
Week 2: 216 yards 22 completions 10.0 yards
Week 3: 421 yards 39 completions 10.8 yards
Now, with Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey out of the game, Reggie Bush becomes an even bigger priority for the Saints. Of course, the Niners have to worry much more about Reggie the Receiver than Reggie the Rusher. Bush has 42 carries this season for 152 yards, a paltry 3.6 average. However, his 26 receptions for 250 yards, a 9.6 average, should make the Niners aware of the shifty back coming out of the backfield.
The Niners won’t have a truer test for their pass defense than what they’ll face on Sunday.