5 Positives/Negatives In Saints’ Win Over Panthers
Below are five positives, and also five negatives, to take from the New Orleans Saints, following their 41-38 home victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The Saints jumped out to a 21-0 lead, and got a 52-yard field goal from rookie Wil Lutz, to record their second-consecutive win, and improve to 2-3 on the season.
1)—Drew Brees: We figured the Saints would be able to throw the football against the Panthers' secondary, and they did. Brees threw for 465 yards, the 15th time in his great career that he eclipsed 400 passing yards in a game, to go along with 4 touchdowns. On the afternoon, Brees completed 34 of 49 passes and a couple of those incompletions were dropped passes, so he was outstanding, despite one overthrown ball, which got away from him, that was intercepted.
2)—Third Down Efficiency: The Saints were 4-of-11 in third down conversions against the Raiders in week one, before going 3-of-13 against the Giants in week two, 7-of-13 against the Falcons in week three, then 11-of-18 against the Chargers in week four. On Sunday, they weren't quite as good, going 8-16, but that's still 50%, and you couple that with the fact that they held the Panthers to only 3-11, then you certainly see one of the differences in the game.
3)—Brandin Cooks: Cooks had been kind of silent for the last two games, but he made big noise on Sunday, catching 7 passes for 173 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown reception. He is a big play just waiting to happen.
4)—Tight Ends: Coby Fleener had a rushing touchdown on a nice little jet sweep, to go along with a 50-yard touchdown catch, while Josh Hill returned from injury to collect a touchdown catch. Those two accounted for three of the Saints' five touchdowns.
5)—Turnovers: It’s really quite simple; the Saints were plus-one in the turnover margin and they just happened to have won by one play. Sterling Moore's interception of an errant Cam Newton pass in the end zone at the 4:48 mark of the second quarter, that kept the score 21-0, could very well have been the difference in the game.
1)—Running game: The Saints only rushed the ball for 63 yards on 21 carries, for an average o 3.0 yards-per-carry. That's just not good enough, especially with a passing attack that you would think would open up the ground attack.
2)—Offensive line: Again, the Saints averaged only 3.0 yards-per-carry on the ground, and had a long run of only 11 yards. Then again, Andrus Peat left with a leg injury late in the first half, so the Saints were playing without him and Terron Armstead, two starting linemen. Still, the offensive line was certainly not a strength
3)—Dannell Ellerbe: He just NEVER plays! Ellerbe played in only 6 games all of last year, and has not played in a single game for the Saints this year. He's only played in two games since last October. Their better when he plays, but he seldom does.
4)—Receiver drops: Receivers are going to drop balls occasionally, so nitpicking a little here, but Willie Snead and Tommylee Lewis bot had drops on Sunday, on passes that NFL receivers just have to catch.
5)—Stephone Anthony: He barely played, and hasn't played much at all this year. On the positive side, Craig Robertson continues to impress, with 12 more tackles, which led the team, but Anthony's lack of playing time makes last year's of him in the first round of the NFL Draft look less than good.