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.     

 

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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