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Saints Nation: Offensive Player Grades vs. Bucs

Why can't the offense be like 80% this good on the road? This was a vintage performance by the Saints offense at home as they put up 42 on the 13th best defense in the NFL.This despite the customary mediocre job on the ground. No matter, the Saints were so explosive in the passing game they left the Bucs no chance in this game. Would love to see them play like this in the playoffs, the team might actually have a chance. The disparity between the way this unit performs at home versus on the road is staggering. On to the grades!

Drew Brees: A+ for the game (3.04 for the season) Ralph Malbrough says I grade him hard but this is his fourth A+ of the season. To be fair, when he has time to throw this is what he does. He was 24 of 31 for 381 yards, 4 touchdown and no turnovers, doing most of his damage in the first half. He also scrambled for a 9 yard touchdown run. Oh, and I think he cured a few forms of cancer.

Mark Ingram: B- (2.24) He had 3 carries for 20 yards and a catch for 4 yards. Four touches. I'm not sure if he's being saved for the playoffs? Part of me wonders if in a cold weather game the Saints are just going to pound him with wreckless abandon. Then again, maybe he's just been completely phased out of the offense. Either way, it's too bad he's not seeing the ball more because he's been running the ball well recently.

Pierre Thomas: C (2.64) He's struggled lately and he was on his way to another poor grade but I give him some credit for the 8 yard touchdown run on a surprise 3rd down carry. He's slow to the hole and seems to be getting no traction in the run game at all lately. He had 7 carries for 20 yards, the touchdown and a catch for 3 yards.

Darren Sproles: C (2.57) On his punt returns he always seems to call the fair catch at the wrong time, and he had a nice kick return negated by a penalty. On offense his runs were completely sniffed out with 3 carries for -1 yards. He had just 2 catches for 30 yards, but his 24 yarder down the sideline was almost a touchdown as he had one man to beat. Besides the one big play he was held very quiet, and has been like Thomas held in check as of late.

Khiry Robinson: B (2.47) The best back of the game for the Saints I thought. He saw most of his reps later in the game but made the most of him. Unfortunately he had a beautiful 20+ yarder called back by a hold. He finished with 50 tough yards on 12 carries. Don't be surprised if you see a little bit of him in the playoffs.

Jed Collins: B- (2.54) He's really become a good short yardage back option as the season has progressed. He converted a key 4th and short early and had 2 carries for 3 yards. He also had a reception for 2 yards and his biggest help was in play action where he would do a terrific job of helping in protection. His run blocking was overall good, but he was guilty of the holding call that negated the 24 yard Robinson run on 4th and 3 in the 4th quarter and forced the Saints to punt.

Marques Colston: B (2.87) He was mostly used underneath in this one and didn't really get behind the Bucs much but did pick up a couple valuable first downs. He had 6 catches for 67 yards and helped the Saints move the ball by always being a reliable target for Brees. His hands continue to be top notch. Another solid season for him.

Lance Moore: B+ (2.32) He scored the first touchdown of the game getting behind the Bucs on a deep ball for 44 yards. He finished the game with 4 catches for 73 yards and the score. While he's put up decent stat lines as of late, he didn't fill up the stat sheet in garbage time this game, instead making a meaningful contribution early. One of his better games of the season, and he even had a nice after the catch stiff arm and run, showing some strength for his smaller frame.

Kenny Stills: B (2.46) He had the stupid penalty on Moore's touchdown which set the Bucs up with good field position. But his lone catch was a special one, a 76 yard bomb for a touchdown where he got behind the defense. I wish we had seen more of those this year. Priority #1 for this team next year is to get a receiver with top end speed, unless Stills can develop into that. A big time play by Stills, though, who had a good rookie campaign. 641 yards and 5 scores on the season are great numbers.

Robert Meachem: B (2.02) He too got in on the action burning Darrelle Revis deep and making a sensational catch for a 41 yard touchdown. Deserves credit for some decent blocking downfield, too.

Jimmy Graham: B+ (3.00) I really thought the Bucs would do a better job slowing him down after he torched them so badly in the first time these two teams played. But nope, he had 5 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Graham ends the season as the second best graded offensive player for the season behind Brees.

Benjamin Watson: B- (2.47) His blocking was useful, especially in pass protection, and he had a 7 yard reception that could have gone for me if he could have broken the tackle. He was also open on a deep ball but Brees overthrew him.

Joshua Hill: C+ (2.10) He made a return and got some playing time this week, finishing the game with some good blocking and an underneath delay 8 yard reception.

Terron Armstead: B- (1.67) He technically gave up the lone sack to Adrian Clayborn, but Brees fell into him trying to avoid Gerald McCoy who got the initial pressure… so I don't blame Armstead for that. Armstead had a TON of help in this game but held up well overall. The times he was left out on an island I thought he did pretty good. Edge pressure came from the right more times than the left, which is the way it should be. An encouraging improvement after the disaster last week, and he threw a nice block on the PT touchdown run.

Ben Grubbs: B (2.36) He was blocked for an illegal block in the back that would not prevent the Saints from getting a touchdown anyway. Otherwise, I thought he was on point. His pass blocking in particular was outstanding, and he too had a terrific block to help score PT. He may not be deserving of a Pro Bowl this year, but he's still a very good football player when he's playing well.

Brian de la Puente: C+ (2.25) Too often he allows bad end pressure on delay runs to Sproles or Thomas that allow the play to get blown up. His blocking kept the pocket clean most of the day otherwise, but he's just not that dominant of a player. I wonder how much money he'll command as a UFA next season. It's a big question mark whether the Saints retain him or not.

Jahri Evans: B- (2.67) There is no doubt in my mind that Gerald McCoy is one of the very best in the league, bar none. Every time I watch him play I am blown away by how good he is. Evans went toe to toe with him and totally held his own for the most part, but got owned twice (once in pass protection, once on a running play). You'll have your ups and downs against McCoy to be sure, but he did a solid job.

Zach Strief: B (2.60) Another good day for Strief in protection, he's been one of the more reliable guys on the line this year… if not the most reliable. PFF has him graded as the top player on offense this season ahead of Brees and Graham, for what that's worth. I have him as the #2 lineman behind Evans, but he's a UFA I think they have to keep. He's a reliable pro right tackle in the league and a respected key locker room presence. He must be retained.

Bryce Harris: B- (2.13) As the "jumbo tight end" his help off the edge was an asset in this one.

 

My Offensive Player of the Game: Drew Brees

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

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Saints Nation: Offensive Player Grades vs. Bucs

 

The Saints could have put together one scoring drive and it would have been enough to give them the win, that's how good their defense played. Of course, it also helped that the offense run the ball well, had explosive plays in the passing game, and stayed efficient without turning the ball over one time. That's usually a recipe for good grades all around as you'll see for yourself by making the jump.

Drew Brees: A (2.64) He wasn't perfect and missed a couple of throws, some of which could have been intercepted after bouncing off his receivers, but after the streak he's been on the last three games, to go 26 of 39 for 307 yards and 4 touchdowns with no turnovers is really all you could ever ask for. He also had a nifty scramble that went 11 yards for a first down. In general he had great command of the offense and seemed very comfortable with whatever the Bucs were throwing at him. He's definitely had this defense's number this year. It was nice to see him return to his old ways, settling for safety valves when there was pressure, taking shots downfield when the time was right, and always getting the ball out quickly.

Mark Ingram: A (2.38) This was arguably the best game of his career. He ran with authority, broke numerous tackles, and bounced outside for huge gains a couple of times. Finished with a workmanlike 90 yards on just 14 carries, which included a bruising touchdown run to put an emphatic exclamation point on the victory. This is what we hoped to be getting all along with him. Outstanding performance.

Pierre Thomas: B- (2.98) A quiet day for PT, as he only had 13 yards on 4 carries and 26 yards on 3 receptions. With Ingram running the ball so well they mostly stuck with him, which makes sense because PT really struggled running the ball the last time these two teams played. Still, he got involved a little bit and helped the offense move in the right direction. No mistakes, and he was always falling forward.

Darren Sproles: B (2.67) He finished with 22 yards on 5 carries, mostly on toss sweeps, 5 catches for 21 yards and a touchdown. He also had 3 punt returns for 38 yards, most of which came on one big return. He was explosive and dangerous, but he did drop a critical 3rd down pass deep in Saints territory where he had badly beaten his man and could have run a long way. That pass went off his fingertips and was admittedly not a perfect pass by Brees. He also dropped another pass, though, and he called a fair catch at one point when the closest tackler was maybe 10 yards away. Of course, he later didn't call a fair catch on a return where he got creamed as he caught it. So he didn't use great judgement at times. Overall, though, he was a poison for the Bucs' defense and they had to account for him at all times. He helped the Saints consistently move the chains.  

Travaris Cadet: C+ (2.09) He had one catch for 3 yards and another drop. His catch was inside the 5 and a fantastic grab on a poor throw. He also had a nice kick return for 30 yards. He was active and a nice decoy.

Jed Collins: B+ (2.74) Was injured on the opening play of the game and based on his reaction it looked incredibly serious. Deserves a ton of credit for coming back and playing a decent amount. He did look a little hampered but was physical at the point of attack and had some nice blocks. He had a tremendous lead block on Ingram's 31 yard scamper which was a thing of beauty. He also had a reception for 4 yards.

Marques Colston: B (2.57) He wasn't as involved in the offense as usual but his 3 receptions were big and went for a total of 60 yards. Most of his catches were downfield for nice gains, getting first downs. 

Lance Moore: B+ (2.85) Came up with a circus catch and showed off elite jumping skills. For a guy as small as he is, he really makes himself a bigger target with as high as he can get up. I think we underestimate just how freakish of an athlete Lance Moore is. He may be slight of size but he is every bit the athlete that Calvin Johnson is. He had 4 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown, using his ups to get the score as well. He is deserving second on the offense in GPA, only behind PT.

Devery Henderson: C- (2.00) A mostly poor game from Henderson. He was once again a complete afterthought in the passing game. When Brees tried to get him involved, it led to a drop. Granted, his drop was a horrible throw well behind him, but it still hit him in the hands. He was also guilty of a holding penalty that was pretty ticky tacky of a call, but expected from Mike Carey's crew. He does save his grade a little bit with a nice 13 yard run on an end around. He was able to show decent speed on that play, and he broke a tackle to get the first down. 

Joe Morgan: A- (2.30) The explosive receiver continues to get better and really schooled the Tampa DB's on some plays. He finished with just 2 catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, but he also had another contested circus catch down the sideline where he landed out of bounds. He also drew a pass interference call deep downfield that would lead to the final touchdown. He's showing good concentration downfield as he leaps for contested balls and he's coming up with tough grabs lately. This guy will be a staple in the 2013 offense, I am sure of it. He has a unique skillset that has always been extremely valuable in this offense.

Jimmy Graham: B- (2.28) A very odd game where he would be up one second and down the next. He had at least three drops, and you could argue four. Some of "drops" were on contested passes in heavy coverage where he took huge blows, but still catches you like to see him coming up with. His contribution was undeniable, though. He had 5 catches for 69 yards, including an insane catch down the seam before halftime. The wrist issue is clearly causing problems, but once again he tried for a one handed catch instead of catching the ball with two hands. Overall he played pretty well and the positives outweighed the negatives in this contest.

David Thomas: A- (2.21) A very solid contribution from Thomas, with 2 receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown. He absorbed tough contact and fought forward for a first down on his first reception, and did a nice job finding the end zone on his second. He also played some fullback with Jed Collins banged up and did a great job blocking. One of his better games this season.

Jermon Bushrod: B+ (2.53) He was fantastic blocking, both in pass protection and on running plays. His pulling and lead blocks on those toss sweeps to Sproles are impressive and he leaves those corners/linebackers no chance at all by demolishing them. That said, he was flagged twice, including once for a false start inside the five. That flag could have been Henderson's fault, though, he shuffled his feet and may have disrupted timing. He also got called for a hold.

Ben Grubbs: B+ (2.83) A solid performance from Grubbs. He continues to be, in my opinion, worth every penny the Saints spent on him.

Brian de la Puente: C (2.40) Struggled at times with Gerald McCoy and almost got Brees killed a couple of times. McCoy dropped some devastating blows on Brees, which he surprisingly bounced back up from with ease. He was called for holding once. Was excellent in run blocking overall.

Jahri Evans: B+ (2.86) Struggled a bit with McCoy as well but did a good job being physical and showing off terrific lateral movement to help Robinson in pass blocking.

William Robinson: B+ (2.42) He had a tremendous amount of help but really handled himself extremely well in protection especially. I'm pretty impressed by this guy when you consider he's their fourth string right tackle. The Saints have done an excellent job of preparing him, so kudos to Aaron Kromer there. He moved over to left tackle briefly, too, and struggled more over there. 

Eric Olsen: B+ (2.17) The Saints made him play right tackle, jumbo tight end and even fullback at times in this game. And on special teams as a blocker. Basically he played everything except his natural position, which is guard. Considering how ridiculous that is, he handled himself pretty well. He's got nice size and moves alright for a wide body. I see him back on the roster next year.

 

My Offensive Player of the Game: Drew Brees

 
Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

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