5 Positives/Negatives To Take From Saints’ Win Over Cardinals
Below are five positives, and also five negatives, to take from the New Orleans Saints’ 48-41 road win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.
The triumph moved the Saints to 6-8 on the season, with two games remaining in their 2016 season.
1)—Drew Brees: After two-consecutive subpar game, in which he threw no touchdowns, with a combined six interceptions, Brees returned to form on Sunday, completing 37-of-48 passes for 389 yards, to go along with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. When Brees doesn't play up to his normal level of excellence, the Saints tend to lose, as they did to the Lions and Buccaneers; but when he plays the way he did Sunday, they can be hard to beat.
2)—Brandin Cooks: He had a career day, catching 7 passes for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cooks just shredded the Cardinals' secondary, averaging 26.5 yards-per-catch.
3)—Running Backs: Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower, combined, carried the ball 28 times for 115 yards and two scores. Add the totals of Travaris Cadet, who had a 16-yard carry on his only run, along with a touchdown reception, and those three rushed for 131 yards, with three total touchdowns. Those stats will win you a lot of football games.
4)—Cameron Jordan: He had three tackles, including two for a loss, and one sack. There weren't a whole lot of positives of the defensive end, but Jordan, with his normal consistent fine play, was an exception.
5)—Offensive Line: Yes, Brees was sacked three times, one of which resulted in a fumble and a defensive score, but the patch-work offensive line still provided him enough time so that he could throw for 389 yards. They also opened a number of holes for the running backs, who finished with 132 rushing yards. Considering the injuries, along with the production they gave on Sunday, against a quality defense, I thought the offensive line played about as well as could be realistically expected.
1)—Vonn Bell: The rookie safety led the team in tackles, with 9, but got beat bad twice, once on a potential touchdown pass that was overthrown by Carson Palmer, and one on the Cardinals' last touchdown. Bell also got flagged, twice, for lining up offsides, one of which was declined. Bell has had a solid year, but he made some rookie mistakes on Sunday.
2)—Defensive Line: Cameron Jordan played well, but the defensive line, as a whole, did not. Cameron was credited with the only sack, and Palmer had just too much time to throw the football most of the day. The Arizona running game also ran right at the Saints' d-line, gaining 116 yards, along with three touchdowns, on 15 carries, for an average of 7.7 yards-per-carry.
3)—Craig Robertson: He has been way better than expected this season, and has had very few subpar games, but Sunday was an exception, as he did finish with only 3 tackles, and seemed to get lost in pass coverage a couple of times. To his credit, he did have a fumble recovery. I'm a big fan of Robertson though, and maintain he was the team's best free agent acquisition during the offseason.
4)—Terron Armstead: He was placed on injured reserve last week, the end to a disappointing, injury-riddled season for Armstead. The offensive line played pretty well on Sunday, especially in the second half, but Armstead is going to be sorely missed over the last two games.
5)—Dannell Ellerbe: Normally, when he plays, he contributes, and the Saints are very good, but Ellerbe was almost invisible on Sunday, recording not a single tackle. The often-injured Ellerbe, who did provide one quarterback pressure, may not have been 100%.