The Saints return game vs the Bills was very lackluster. With the offense already short handed the return game was definitely going to be relied on to set the Saints up in good field position, but it did the opposite.
Harris had 4 kick returns for 61 total yards with his best return being 18 yards. There were probably a few factors that played into this. The Saints were short handed and some special teams players who were usually the core blockers couldn’t provide help. Guys like Ty Montgomery, Carl Granderson, Kaden Elliss are some guys who weren’t available on special teams as they were starting.
The main factor though was how the Bills game planned for the return game. They knew that the Saints offense needed some good field position from the Saints return group. The Bills did a high pooch kick to the goal line forcing Harris to return it. By the time Harris caught the kickoff the Bills unit were nearing the 25 which is the touchback line.
If you look at these screenshots, they are right when Harris catches the kick. By doing the pooch kick, it gives the kickoff unit to get downfield. The hang time average of each kick was 4.305 seconds. An average hang time is between 4.4 – 4.7 seconds. So the short high kick allowed the Bills to dominate the return game.
With the Saints getting healthy again, we will definitely see this special teams unit be better, but with a possible suspension on Deonte Harris approaching we might see a different returner. When/if that time comes I’ll be here to cover it and break down the situation for you guys.
Written By Kadin Janisch
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