For once this season the Saints got an incredibly impressive team effort that resulted in a much deserved 28-13 win. The offense had terrific balance, ran the football at will, got a mostly complete game from the offensive line and had some defense to go along with it. Surprisingly special teams was by far the worst unit in this game for the Saints, and of course they were still gashed for a massive amount of yards. Still, this was an improvement and you have to feel a bit better about the team's chances going into Atlanta next Sunday. Kudos to the offense for performing without Darren Sproles, and kudos for the defense for getting to the quarterback regardless of how bad the Eagles' offensive line was. Below are my bullet thoughts on the game.
- The Saints' defense produced 7 sacks. That's not a typo. Cameron Jordan had 3 and Will Smith had 2. The Eagles' offensive line is one of the worst I have ever seen. In fact, they reminded me a lot of the Chicago Bears' line last year that came into the dome and faced the Saints. Right tackle Todd Herremans had his own problems with Cam Jordan, but once he went out with an injury the blind side of Vick was basically left umanned for the rest of the game. I'm surprised Vick is still alive honestly.
- Michael Vick is TERRIBLE. His technique and specifically his footwork stepping into throws is so horrible, I seriously have trouble understanding how he completes a pass. So many of his throws are off target because of bad technique. He makes up for that in part because of freakish athletic ability, but how can you invest $100 million in that? The Eagles are insane. Even with good blocking, a guy like that will always make mistakes. He's also clearly lost a step. If I'm the Eagles I'm done with him, like yesterday. He's definitely part of the problem.
- The Eagles repeatedly caught the Saints blitzing and dialed up runs to the weak side to expose it. It works almost every time and the Saints got gashed often for big runs. I can't understand for the life of me why the Eagles even bothered to pass one single time. When you've got over 100 yards rushing in the 1st quarter, how do you not stick with it? The Eagles ended the game with 221 yards rushing (7.6 yards per carry) and yet somehow threw the ball 41 times and ran 29. How can you even explain that?
- While the defense got 7 sacks and Patrick Robinson came up with a massive 99 yard pick six, there was still a lot of bad out there. They gave up 447 yards of offense (despite 7 sacks!!) and a better team would have definitely cashed in on those red zone opportunities. The Eagles scored just 13 not for lack of knocking on the door.
- The reason the still is room for optimism is the Saints' offensive balance. They passed 27 times and ran 25. The running game produced 140 yards (5.6 per carry). Ivory, Ingram and Thomas were all fantastic.
- The Saints special teams was not good today. Travaris Cadet had a horrible fumble on a kick return, Garrett Hartley completely shanked a 52 yarder wide left, and he almost missed an extra point bouncing his kick in off the upright.
- Jimmy Graham had 2 drive killing drops, AGAIN, but he did make up for it by being mostly solid. 8 catches for 72 yards and 1 touchdown. But man, he's still not coming up with balls he should have.
- The 38 yard reception Lance Moore had early in the game was just RIDICULOUS.
- Charles Brown was mostly a disaster, but he did have a nice block on Ivory's touchdown run. Still, I hope Zach Strief comes back in a hurry because I still have nightmares about Brown trying to block Chris Long last year.
- Martez Wilson was flagged for a helmet to helmet hit, I believe. That call was absolutely atrocious.
- The 77 yard pass to DeSean Jackson was busted coverage and a miscommunication between Patrick Robinson and Malcolm Jenkins. That has happened way too often this season. For players of Jackson's caliber to be running free wide open twenty yards downfield is just absurd.
- Isa Abdul-Quddus looked good on the back end, solid performance by him.
- Travaris Cadet had a sick end around that went for about 40 and was stopped near the goal line, but it was called back by a "#17" hold that I'm pretty sure was Marques Colston's fault. Too bad, it would have been fun to have four backs over 40 yards rushing.
- I have to give Jason Babin credit, he was difficult to block and caused Brees a lot of trouble. The right tackle blocking of Charles Brown and Zach Strief were responsible for both fumbles, though Brees held on to the ball too long on Brown's block.
That's all I got. It is now officially Saints vs. Falcons week. Let's get to 4-5 and crush those Dirty Birds!