The offense played a pretty sloppy first half, but beyond that it was a close to flawless performance in Minneapolis as the Saints rolled 42-20. The defense may have given up the most points they have in the last three weeks (20 points) but they played what I thought was their best game all season. They controlled the line of scrimmage, did an effective job on Adrian Peterson, got pressure on the quarterback and shut down the Vikings’ passing game. As vulnerable as the Packers looked in their loss to the Chiefs today, you have to feel pretty good about the Saints’ playoff hopes if the defense can keep playing like that. The Saints are now 11-3 and will need to win one of their last two games to clinch the NFC South. The 2 seed is very much in play, as well, and we’ll all be rooting for the 49ers to lose to the Steelers Monday night for the Saints to take control of that standing. Below are my bullet point thoughts on the game:
- Some sloppy play on offense. Brian de la Puente, Jermon Bushrod and Carl Nicks all traded goofs in this game but it was the Saints’ center that took the cake. BDLP snapped a shotgun snap to no one which was a horrible mistake. Bushrod did an ok job on Jared Allen but it was mostly Brees’ pocket presence that disallowed Allen to make an impact.
- On that fumbled snap, give Brees credit for making an outstanding tackle. Perhaps his biggest play of the game.
- Shame on Courtney Roby for letting that onsides kick slip out of his hands. A more easy ball to field one will never see. Too bad, Thomas Morstead executed the ambush to perfection.
- Jed Collins was almost as bad as Brian De La Puente. The penalties these two have been guilty of lately are ridiculous.
- Marques Colston and Lance Moore in particular were amazing.
- Patrick Robinson was INCREDIBLE, and he gets rewarded for his fantastic play with a meaningless interception on the game’s last play. I’m glad to see the Saints’ DB’s actually caught a pass. No one deserved it more than P-Rob. Now if only we can get one for Jenkins before the season ends.
- The Saints did a great job containing one of the most explosive receivers in the league. Percy Harvin was quiet all day long.
- The Saints had 41 passes and 38 rushes. That’s the kind of balance I like to see!
- Pierre Thomas only had 10 touches but man, he is so good. SO GOOD. I wish he’d see the ball more. I know I know, broken record.
- Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles didn’t have their best games, and yet they still find a way to both make an impact and score touchdowns.
- Christian Ponder looked awful. Poor pocket awareness, bad accuracy and it was clear the coaching staff didn’t trust him either as they seldom let him rip the ball downfield.
- John Kasay missed a 50 yard field goal and long kicking continues to be a struggle for this team.
- The Saints got sacks from Jeff Charleston, Roman Harper, Junior Galette and Tom Johnson. You know, the usual cast of characters.
- I loved the little I saw from Martez Wilson out there. That guy can fly, and his backside pursuit and knock down of Ponder showed tremendous hustle.
- Darren Sproles’ return numbers look pretty good, but make no mistake he was anything but in the special teams department.
- Remi Ayodele played for the Vikings and had 2 tackles. Bet you didn’t notice.
- Robert Meachem was unlucky with a 40 yard TD called back for holding and another wide open bomb where Brees underthrew him.
That’s about it. Very comfortable win for the Saints. Stayed tuned for the player grades, and GEAUX STEELERS tomorrow night. Never thought I’d say that one.