This was the Saints worst game of the year on the offensive end, and that was despite Alvin Kamara going nuclear throughout the day. A lot of the credit should go to the Rams defense who played a very good game, but the Saints consistently had issues executing. The Rams are a good football team, and they earned the win without question, but the Saints inability to execute and to build a rhythm offensively throughout the game killed them. This was very much a winnable game, and there were numerous times where the coaches called the exact right play at the right time, but the players couldn’t execute.
On to the grades:
Don’t let the stat line fool you, Drew Brees threw at least 3 interceptions in this game, its just that the Rams decided they didn’t want to catch them. The interceptions aside Brees played easily his worst game of the year. Drew Brees was out of rhythm, forcing throws, missing wide open receivers, and just ‘off’ from the beginning to the end of the game. His first sack came as a direct result of him holding the ball way too long. He missed multiple wide open throws, but maybe the worst of them was a terribly thrown deep ball to Tedd Ginn Jr that would likely have changed the complexion of the game. This isn’t to start some silly conspiracy that Drew is washed and can’t play anymore, but he played a bad game. Sometimes guys have a bad game and this one was his.
Offensive Line: C-
Terron Armstead left the game early with an injury (again), and even before that he struggled for the second game in a row in pass protection. Armstead is going to be one of the major keys to success if this team is to live up to any of their goals this season, and we just have to hope he can return to form sooner rather than later. Peat also struggled at left tackle, but no enormously. The biggest reason the Saints got a less than stellar grade along the offensive line though was their inability to punish what has been a porous rams defensive front and to create the kind of momentum in the run game they have been able to the last few weeks. Kamara’s huge run aside, which was Coleman as much as anyone, the offensive line had a down grade blocking wise.
Tight ends: D+
The Saints tight ends provided next to nothing in the passing game as usual, but they also struggled to make a difference in the blocking department on Sunday and that caused their grades to drop. Coby Fleener also got his bell rung pretty badly during the game, and while that doesn’t hurt his grade, it hurts the unit as the one guy capable of doing anything in the passing game was out for most of the second half.
Wide Receivers: C-
It was very tempting to fail the whole group with a D after their performance on Sunday, but Ted Ginn Jr got open multiple times (Drew just couldn’t get it to him), and Brandon Coleman was a major asset in the blocking department. Michael Thomas had an ok game, but with the Rams being banged up at corner and mostly playing man coverage throughout the day his inability to create separation and opportunities in the passing game when the Saints needed him to was a problem. Brees was the biggest issue on the day, but the Saints receivers as a group had one of their worst days.
Running Back: B+
A for Kamara who was INCREDIBLE and Mark Ingram was a C+ (not entirely his own fault mind you) as he was never able to really build a rhythm or produce in any meaningful way. Average the two together and you get the grade for the group. Understand though, Alvin Kamara has quickly become the one true blue weapon in the Saints offense, and his performance on Sunday was nothing short of miraculous. His ability to make defenders miss, and to set himself up to maximize his production on any given play is astonishing.