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Saints Nation: Offensive Player Grades vs. 49ers

The Saints needed every single one of the 387 yards they gained in order to win this one. While the game was close because of three costly turnovers, the offense was only responsible for one of them. This was in my opinion the offensive line's best game considering the opponent. The most impressive part of this game was the 97 yard statement drive that gave the Saints a 7-0 lead. They wouldn't have another dominant possession like that in this game, but it showed how good they can be. On to the grades…

Drew Brees: B for the game (3.21 for the season) Putting aside stats or anything else for a second, I am most impressed Brees was able to recover from that devastating NaVarro Bowman hit. He still had a game to win and delivered perfect precision passes and exact clock management to finish the game. Many quarterbacks would be rattled by a hit like that and he played as well as ever. He was 30 of 43 for 305 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The interception was a freak athletic play by Ahmad Brooks… for some reason he always seems to do that to Brees. Brees was also flagged once for a correct intentional grounding call. This wasn't his best game but he did a good job getting the ball out quickly with good accuracy. He came up with the plays needed on the game tying and game winning drive but was fortunate that sack/lost fumble included a penalty.

Mark Ingram: B (2.13) I was surprised he didn't see the ball more after how incredible he was last week. He was physical running and showed good effort despite limited reps. He was a shoestring tackle away from his 15 yard run turning into a monster breakaway. He finished with just 6 carries for a respectable 25 yards and had one reception for 4 yards underneath. He's now above 2.00 for the first time this season, deserved based on the last couple weeks. On that 15 yard run he seemed a little slow getting up and I wonder if he didn't get nicked, which could explain why he played less? Or maybe he just wasn't in the gameplan.

Pierre Thomas: B+ (2.97) The Saints relied on Thomas very heavily throughout as he was clearly their main back in this one. The ankle injury to Sproles evidently increased his workload. He ran with power and always fell forward. He had 49 yards on 11 carries and added a workmanlike 5 catches for 35 yards. He kept the 49ers' defense honest by always getting the tough yards. Kudos for his help in protection, too.

Darren Sproles: B (2.81) He had 3 carries for 16 yards, mostly on middle draws out of the shotgun, and came really close to breaking a couple with some nice cuts. He also had a shifty 5 yard punt return and 4 catches for 19 yards. He hurt his ankle early in the game, returned, but didn't play as many snaps as usual likely due to the injury. While he didn't do much to get this, his fair catch where he got tackle for a 15 yard flag was huge just before the final drive. Give him credit for coming back into the game at far less than 100%.

Jed Collins: A (2.81) I know some of you might think I'm insane for giving him the player of the game on offense, but his contribution in my eyes was most critical. He had a touchdown run, he had a 3rd and short conversion, he gave the Saints a 3 yard reception to get them out of their own end zone and he was a beast on the interior. The resurrection of the run game is in large part due to the  excellent lead blocks he throws.

Marques Colston: B+ (2.78) He was a little quiet early in the game, but man, he came up with some huge plays down the stretch. I think we'll all remember that juggling reception as a huge one, too. He had 5 receptions for 80 yards and in doing so became the leader in receiving yards in team history. A great game by one of the best Saints of all time.

Lance Moore: D (2.10) He had a critical drop on 3rd down which killed a drive, but it was his muffed punt return fumble inside the Saints' 10 that gift wrapped a 49er touchdown that earned him an F to that point. He came back with 3 catches for 23 yards but the Saints were fortunate he didn't cost them the game. If the Saints didn't win I probably wouldn't have been so kind with his grade.

Robert Meachem: B+ (2.22) He just had two catches, but they were for 44 and 34 yards. This is the game breaking Meachem we love! A throwback 2 catch 78 yard performance.

Kenny Stills: C (2.57) A quiet game with just 1 catch for 11 yards, on what was a solid catch in tight coverage. He was targeted deep late before the Hartley tie, but couldn't come up with a circus catch on a low ball.

Nick Toon: C+ (1.72) His lone target was an 8 yard reception but it was just nice to see him secure the ball and fall forward… baby steps.

Jimmy Graham: B- (3.14) He had 6 catches for 41 yards on 11 targets and a largely substandard performance for him. He still just seems scared to get hit in the open field. He had some nice plays in traffic and some plays where he just seemed slow and off timed with Brees. The 49ers did a good job contesting his routes and targets.

Joshua Hill: B (2.34) He had a reception that was negated as the Saints instead accepted an automatic first down penalty. He also had a 3 yard touchdown reception. On a fourth down attempt he was targeted in traffic and got his hands on the ball but couldn't come up with the catch. His blocking in the run game was good. The Saints have themselves a totally capable backup in my opinion overall, especially considering he's a rookie.

Charles Brown: A- (2.20) Credit where credit is due, this was Brown's best game by far. He had help, he benefited from Brees' ridiculous release, and Brees' ridiculous pocket footwork… but to face Aldon Smith and keep Brees largely clean like he did was incredible. The only play where I noticed him give up pressure was a 3rd down where Brees was flushed out of the pocket and had to throw the ball away.

Ben Grubbs: B- (2.34) He had a holding penalty that forced the Saints into a 3rd and 12 (instead of a 3rd and 2), which they'd convert anyway. He had a pretty good game otherwise, most notably with his run blocking, but he did give up some pressure.

Brian de la Puente: B+ (2.40) Other than a poor block on a 3rd down goal line run by Pierre Thomas that resulted in it going nowhere, I thought BDLP was very good in this one. His pass protection and physicality up the middle made a difference.

Jahri Evans: B+ (2.74) By far the most dominant in the trenches for the Saints, and they continually went behind him to get tough yards on the ground. He always plays to the whistle and finishes plays physically which is just plain great effort. He did get hurt late, and it seemed to be his ankle this time? He's had hip/ankle and hamstring issues all season, I just wish the Saints could get him healthy. That might not be in the cards this year. His pass protection faltered late due to more limited mobility most likely. Give him credit for fighting through all the injuries this year though, he's a guy you can count on.

Zach Strief: B (2.81) He continues to have a very steady, rock solid season. In a year that's been plagued by inconsistent line play, his has been anything but.

Bryce Harris: B- (2.43) As the "jumbo tight end" on numerous sets, his size and good lateral quickness was an asset on running plays.

Tim Lelito: B- (1.84) Came in briefly for big Jahri and held up well in limited snaps coming in cold. Filled in admirably given the degree of difficulty against this defense.

 

My Offensive Player of the Game: Jed Collins

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

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Saints Nation: Offensive Player Grades vs. 49ers

The Saints' offense is largely responsible for this loss, no one more than Drew Brees for a horrible pick six to Ahmad Brooks before halftime that tied the game and forever changed the complexion. Brees would throw another pick six later, and when you consider the final spread in the game was 10 points, the fourteen give up on the two picks alone loom pretty large. But if you watched the game you also know the line play was positively atrocious, and the minute the Saints' offense went into obvious passing sets they really had no chance. Make the jump for the grades.

 

Drew Brees: C- (2.85) In the entire second half he took a beating. The fact that he left this game without an injury that knocked him out of the game is a small victory. The five sacks aside, he was pressured constantly and hit many times. Still, the picks were killers and while the second wasn't his fault the first was inexcusable. He finished 26 of 41 for 267 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Mark Ingram: C- (2.21) He didn't have much room to run at all. He finished with just 27 yards on 10 carries. He converted nicely on two 3rd and 1's, but he was also stopped short on another. I question why he saw the most touches. 

Darren Sproles: C+ (2.54) He had a punt return for 3 yards and seemed to fair catch a couple punts comfortably. On offense he showed his usual soft hands and decisive cuts. While he was stopped around the line of scrimmage byAldon Smith, for him to flip Smith on his back and stay up and he pummeled him to the ground was just incredible. What a beast. He led the team with 7 receptions for 65 yards. Without him Brees' sack numbers and stats would have been much worse. Still, he was guilty of a horrible blitz pickup against Patrick Willis that resulted in a sack.

Chris Ivory: B- (3.25) For me he was by far the best runner on the day. Numerous of his plays seemed stuffed around the line of scrimmage but his power and sheer will had him often falling forward. His legs kept churning and he came close to breaking a couple of runs. He gave the vaunted 49ers' run defense a run for their money on the ground. 8 carries for 34 yards. He should remain active and in the mix the rest of the season no matter what.

Pierre Thomas: NO GRADE – He's arguably the team's best back and he had one touch. ONE. Inexcusable.

Jed Collins: A- (2.82) One of the best Saints on the day for sure. He was very physical in the run game, and created holes many times where there was absolutely nothing there. His initial surge was precious, his pass blocking was clean, and he even added 2 receptions for 9 yards and a touchdown. Showed nice athleticism to get inside the pylon on the score.

Marques Colston: C+ (2.61) The second pick six was a result of a high pass he was unable to hold on to, but he did take a huge hit on the play. Hard to blame him for that one too much. He finished with 4 catches for 36 yards and a score. The touchdown moved him ahead of Deuce McAllister to 1st all time in team history with touchdowns. Pretty incredible stat right there. Unfortunately he was bullied by the 49er coverage and blown up on two huge hits.

Lance Moore: B- (2.87) He was a little short to a couple throws, some were on Brees, but the last (where there was interference) he miss timed his jump. He had 3 catches for 61 yards and a circus catch downfield that set up a touchdown, and he drew a couple penalties as well.

Devery Henderson: D+ (2.23) He had just one reception for 6 yards. Considering that Moore and Colston were both knocked out for parts of the game, he should have contributed more. He did come up with an outstanding grab down the sidelines that was an absurd catch, but unfortunately he couldn't keep his second foot in bounds. Sadly this is the Devery we are now used to seeing disappear for large chunks of the year. Of course now that he's been so quiet and we're down on him, watch him have a huge game Thursday.

Joe Morgan: C+ (1.96) Came up with a very good catch on a low throw after contact for a big 33 yard reception. He was also targeted on another deep ball where he was flagged for offensive pass interference on Nate Clements. The call was questionable as Clements contacted him first, but he did pull down his arm which was necessary to save an interception.

Jimmy Graham: C (2.43) With the right tackle situation so messy, he played less as the Saints packed in their protection and used jumbo sets much more often. He finished with just 4 catches for 33 yards and added another customary drop.

David Thomas: B+ (2.09) Did a nice job getting in the end zone after stumbling on a pass by Brees. He played extensively due to his prowess blocking, but he also added 4 receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown. A solid contribution by the backup.

Jermon Bushrod: D (2.52) Blocking Aldon Smith is no easy task and he did his best. He was ok at times, especially early, but as the game wore on it was largely a disaster. His run blocking wasn't much better. He forced Brees to step up into the pocket numerous times and unfortunately the interior pressure was just a heavy.

Ben Grubbs: C- (2.70) This is one of the few times I've missed Carl Nicks this season. The sack of Justin Smith in particular was just a case of a stronger player running his blocker over into the quarterback. He was manhandled in pass protection.

Brian de la Puente: D (2.21) He didn't get any push in the run game and struggled mightily in pass protection, responsible for a sack as well. Too many times he was blocking guys sideways instead of north and south. He was pushed around in the trenches.

Jahri Evans: C+ (2.82) Was the best Saint in pass protection and on the ground but got absolutely no help from his teammates. Did his best given the circumstances, but was by no means dominant.

Bryce Harris: NO GRADE – He left in the first quarter with a lower leg injury. Unbelievable that the Saints are now relegated to their 4th string right tackle. 

William Robinson: C- (1.67) He actually fared pretty well considering. The Saints ran behind him a couple times and his pass protection got a lot of help early to be tolerable. The 4th quarterback pass blocking was an embarrassment, though. What do you expect more out of a 4th string tackle that's been with the team literally 5 days, though? 

Eric Olsen: D (1.89)  I can come up with more adjectives and examples from the game tape, but why bother? Suffice to say he sucked.

 

My Offensive Player of the Game: Jed Collins

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

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