Saints vs Bengals: Observations

The good, bad and ugly from the Saints win over the Bengals

Drew Brees is having a monster year. John Grieshop/Getty Images

The Who Dat train kept on rolling Sunday with a convincing win over the Bengals. The final score 51-14 was an embarrassing laugher. Here’s how I saw it:

The Good

-Drew Brees might be having his best year at age 39. He’s leading the league in completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio, and passer rating. He started the game 14 of 15 for 152 yards and two touchdowns. That one incompletion was a throwaway. He ended the game with as many incompletions (three) as touchdowns. MVP?

-Alvin Kamara has played in 25 games and scored 27 touchdowns in his young career (including two today). That type of production is unheard of. Nobody in the history of the league has averaged a touchdown a game. Highly doubt Kamara can keep this up, but it’s one helluva start.

-The pass rush decided to show up today despite rookie end Marcus Davenport being out with a toe injury. They collected four sacks totaling 24 lost yards. If they can keep the pressure up on opposing quarterbacks, the woeful defensive backfield won’t have to cover as long.  

The Bad

- Benjamin Watson dropped a jump pass for a touchdown from Taysom Hill in the second quarter. This was a waste of a play. Not because Watson dropped it, but because it could’ve been saved for a better time than a regular season game against the Bengals.

-Rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith played, but didn’t get a single target. Instead, newly promoted off the practice squad rookie Keith Kirkwood had two targets and two receptions for 45 yards. Nothing wrong with Kirkwood getting a shot, but I’d like to see Smith more moving forward given the depth issues at the position.

-The field goal to make it 48-7 in the fourth quarter was completely unnecessary! Signed, The Guy Who Had Under 54 Because Of The Cold Weather Game Played Outdoors.

The Ugly

-Starting left tackle Terron Armstead went to the locker sans pads with an apparent shoulder injury. He pancake blocked a Bengal defender and his shoulder landed awkwardly on the guy. If the blindside protection for Brees is hurt for any period of time, it could be crucial to their chances of making a run.

- The same rush defense that held the Rams and Todd Gurley to 92 yards and a 4.8 average gave up 110 yards and a whopping 6.9 average today. It’s the 6.9 average that bothers me. Had this game been closer, the Bengals would’ve run more than 16 times.

-The game was being broadcast on Fox. Sometime in the third quarter with the game out of hand, they decided to switch the feed to Tampa versus Washington, and I was forced to watch the rest of the game via “alternative means.” In the spirit of The Blitz, I say: Hey Fox, BLEEP that!

Forcing the once division-leading Bengals to eat a 50 burger on the road in the cold was impressive. This was the first time since the 2007 Patriots that a team has scored touchdowns on its first five possessions in consecutive games. The win streak is up to eight games now. At 8-1 and leading the charge league-wide, can this team make a Super Bowl run? Can Brees win his first career MVP award to help cement his legacy? Stay tuned!

 

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Houston stays hot at the plate

Astros overpower White Sox in series opener

Abraham Toro made a loud return to the Astros' lineup on Thursday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a two-game sweep of the struggling Rangers behind them, the Astros welcomed in a much fiercer opponent in the Chicago White Sox, owners of the best record in the AL, for an exciting four-game set. It was all Astros in this one, as their offense would once again propel them to a lopsided win.

Final Score: Astros 10, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 40-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (5-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dylan Cease (5-3)

Houston builds a big lead

Houston wasted no time in the bottom of the first, getting two on base on a single and an error to set up a three-run home run for Michael Brantley, putting them ahead 3-0 before Chicago and Dylan Cease could record an out. They extended the lead in the bottom of the fourth, putting two on base on a walk and hit batter before an RBI ground-rule double by Carlos Correa brought in one. That left runners on second and third, and Abraham Toro took advantage by scoring both on a two-RBI single, then with one out, Jose Altuve hit a sac fly to make it a 7-0 lead.

Urquidy brings the good stuff

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was cruising through Chicago's lineup. He allowed just one hit through the first five scoreless innings but would let the White sox get on the board in the top of the sixth after a leadoff double and two-out RBI single. They added one more on another single, making it 7-2 before Urquidy could get out of the inning.

Jose Altuve got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, hitting his fourth home run in three games to make it a six-run game at 8-2. Urquidy returned to the mound in the top of the seventh, getting a quick 1-2-3 frame to end his successful night. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 93 P.

Astros take the opener

In the bottom of the seventh, Houston pushed the lead to eight runs with a leadoff single, setting up a two-out two-run homer by Toro, bringing him to four RBI on the night. With Urquidy's night over, Brandon Bielak came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen, sitting down Chicago in order. Ralph Garza Jr. came in to get an inning of work to finish off the game with Houston's large lead. He made it a quick one, with Chicago going down in order one more time as the Astros took the opener and notched their fourth-straight win.

Up Next: Game two of this entertaining series will be another 7:10 PM Central Start on Friday. Carlos Rodon (6-2, 1.89 ERA) will try to help Chicago even the series, while Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.98 ERA) will try to put Houston up 2-0.

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