SAINTS 24, RAVENS 23

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

Drew Brees has beaten all 32 teams. Michael C Hebert/Saints team site

This game pitted the highest scoring offense against one of the toughest defenses. The Saints won this battle of attrition 24-23. It was a very entertaining game that went down to the wire. Let’s dive into some things I observed:

The Good

-Drew Brees threw his 500th touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson in the second quarter. He now joins Peyton Manning (533), Brett Favre (508), and Tom Brady (504) in the 500 passing touchdown club. He’s one of the best of this generation, but he’s still not on the Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks.

-The defense played well, until the final drive. Before that drive, they had given up 270 yards. But perhaps the biggest improvement was the fact that the longest pass they gave up was only 13 yards. This defense is known for giving up the big play and the Ravens are known for the big play this season. Consider this a win.

-The Saints were able to score more points (24) and gain more yards (340) than the stingy Ravens defense is used to giving up. They came into the game giving up 13 points a game and only 271 yards per game. Great offense beat great defense in this case.

The Bad

-Marcus Williams and Marshon Lattimore collided on a play in which one of them should have come down with an interception. A miscommunication or no one calling for the ball led to the ball falling incomplete as they collided.

-Alvin Kamara signaled for a fair catch on a punt just inside the 10 yard line. He tried to fake out the Ravens’ coverage team to let the ball roll in the end zone for a touchback. Good idea, except Ravens receiver Chris Moore was standing at the one where he scooped up the ball and downed it. As my grandfather would say “that boy got a fart on his brain.”

The Ugly

-In their opening drive, the Saints went for it on fourth down four times, ran 20 plays, and took over 10 minutes off the clock…and got nothing out of it. Taysom Hill pitched an option to Kamara on fourth and 1 from the Ravens’ four yard line. Kamara fumbled because of the bad pitch and the Ravens recovered. Payton is known for gambling, but this was a terrible idea considering the Ravens have a top five defense

-Saints left guard Andrus Peat is in concussion protocol. His backup Josh LeRibeus went down with a lower leg injury. Cameron Tom was left to fill in at left guard. Being down to a third stringer on the interior of the line with a sub-six foot quarterback is scary.

-Ravens kicker Justin Tucker missed the game-tying extra point. Extra points are missed all the time, but this was the first of his career and a game was on the line. Sucks to lose this way, but it happens.

Brees has officially beaten all 32 teams in the league. He camethisclose to not winning this game and needed all kinds of help, but it got done. 5-1 after the start to the season they had is impressive, but this team has chinks in its armor that need to be fixed. Super Bowl contenders don’t usually have to outscore their opponents. Nonetheless, they’re on their way to making some serious noise after appearing to correct some early season issues.     

 

Bears 31, Cowboys 24

Cowboys vs Bears: Good, bad and ugly

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

In a must win game, the Cowboys did the unthinkable. They lost to a team with a quarterback who may not even be a starter next year. The game on paper didn't look bad, for the Cowboys only lost by seven points. But the game was dominated by the Bears after the Cowboys scored their opening touchdown. This was very similar to their game against Buffalo last Thursday. The Cowboys started hot then faded into obscurity as the game progressed.

The Good

- Ezekiel Elliott was once again the best player on the Cowboys offense. Sure Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup were able to each acquire 6 catches for 83 yards and 109 yards respectively, but most of their receptions came in garbage time when the Bears where playing a prevent defense, Elliot on the other hand was doing his best to carry the Cowboys offensively. He gained 81 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns. However, his efforts weren't enough, for the Cowboys offense looked stagnant when Elliott wasn't being fed the ball.

- Just like last week, the Cowboys offense did not get off to a slow start. On their opening drive, the boys looked like they had game planed properly for the Bears' defense, and Dak Prescott was able to march down the field with ease. This lead to a touchdown run by Elliott and gave the Cowboys a quick 7-0 lead. After this drive though it's as if Prescott and the Cowboys couldn't get first downs or convert simple offensive plays. The defense was able to pitch a shutout until garbage time in the 4th quarter.

- The Cowboys' defense was not great either giving up 31 points to the Bears. However, the one Cowboy who could not be blamed on defense was Jaylon Smith. He was second on the team with 8 tackles and had two miraculous stops in the end zone to prevent the bears from scoring a touchdown twice. He has become the leader of the Cowboys defense and plays his heart out every game. He has stepped up the most since Leighton Vander Esh's injury, and Jerry Jones is starting to look like a smart man for giving Smith his extension.

The bad

- Do not let Prescott's numbers fool you. Most of his completions came in the 4th quarter with the Bears playing prevent defense. Prescott looked great in the opening drive, but afterwards looked as though he couldn't quarterback to save his life. Just like last week when the Cowboys played the Bills, Prescott and the Cowboys looked atrocious after their initial score. Prescott went 1-9 after their first touchdown and did not look good until the 4th quarter. Troy Aikman said it best when he exclaimed that Prescott's numbers were "fake stats." His numbers suggest he had a good not great game, but to those who watched the game know Prescott had a Blake Bortles like game in which he didn't accumulate good QB numbers until garbage time. This is three subpar games in a row for Prescott, and if he is not careful, he can kiss that long-term extension good bye.

- Brett Maher wasn't terrible like he was last week, but he wasn't good either. He missed one field goal on Thursday from over 40 yards for the 6th time this season. He is now 1-7 on field goal attempts from 40 yards or more. He has now missed 10 field goals this season total, more than any kicker in the last four years according to FOX Sports. His job security now comes into question, and it's easy to see the Cowboys replace Maher this offseason. The Cowboys have reportedly worked out multiple kickers before this week, so It would also not be surprising if Maher is replaced before the season is over.

- There was only one thing worse than the Cowboys' offense and that was their defense. As previously mentioned, Jaylon Smith was by far the best player on defense, but everyone else was pretty much a no show on defense. They allowed the Bears to score 31 points and Mitch Trubisky looked like a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback for the first time this season. To put some perspective on his performance, Trubisky's QBR was 80.6. He is averaging a QBR around 40 this season, meaning he played twice as good as he was expected to against this Cowboys' defense. In addition to their inability to stop Trubisky, the defense as a whole had an exceptionally hard time tackling all night, which lead to the Bears gaining extra yardage and extra opportunities to score. Injuries to Vander Esh and Jeff Heath have derailed this Cowboys' defense, and their matchups between the Rams and the Eagles don't bode well for this struggling defense.

The Ugly

- Costly penalties killed the Cowboys Thursday night. Xavier Woods got called for holding on Allen Robinson on a 3rd and 9. This would have forced the Bears to kick a long field goal on 4th down, but instead the Bears scored shortly thereafter to go up 24-7. Michael Bennet also got called for an avoidable penalty. On 3rd and 2 in Cowboys' territory he jumped off sides which caused the Bears to get an easy first down. This penalty also resulted in a Bears touchdown. In total, the Cowboys had 6 penalties for 52 yards. That can be blamed on bad coaching and a lack of discipline.

- The ugliest part of the game took place on the sidelines. Jason Garrett didn't look liked he cared that he was losing to the Bears. He looked as though as if he knew this would be his last season with the Cowboys, so he is just going through the motions of his job until his inevitable departure comes to fruition. The Players on the sideline didn't seem emotional affected either, but rather in shock. Michael Bennett's face after the bears scored their third touchdown was pure shock. It's clear the Jason Garrett has lost the locker room, and his players respect.

- Let's face it, the Cowboys don't even look like a playoff contending team. If it wasn't for the fact that they play in a bad division, the Cowboys could have been written off after their loss to the Jets. Time and time again they constantly fall under pressure, and when their games become must win games, they fold like a house of cards. Despite all of the talent this roster has, they have continued to underperform and shot themselves in the foot time and time again. This was a must win game, but for a multitude of reasons the Cowboys just can't seem to win the big game when it matters the most. To quote a famous ESPN personality "They are an accident waiting to happen. What can go wrong will go wrong for the Dallas Cowboys."

Even though the Cowboys have lost three games in a row, they are still in first place in their division due the NFC East being a joke, They look to defend their pity title when they square off against the playoff contending Rams next Sunday in what looks to be a lopsided affair. The Rams have bounced bag since their slow start, and look to claim a Wild Card spot as the season comes to a close. It will be a rematch of the 2019 NFC Divisional Playoff Round matchup, but this Cowboys' team is a lot different for last year's team.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome