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's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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