SAINTS-EAGLES GOOD, BAD AND UGLY

Saints serve up another 40-burger combo meal in blowout win

Drew Brees and the Saints are rolling. Michael C Hebert/Saints team site

Saints train continues with a 48-7 win against the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles. This game was a laugher since the first quarter. Here’s how I saw it play out:

The Good

-The Saints offense scored 17 points on its first three possessions. They lead the Eagles in total yards 190 to 15 after the first quarter. The Saints offense reminds me of Forrest Gump when he decides to start running.

-With all the attention paid to Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram is sometimes not as looked at as a weapon in this offense. He totaled 103 rushing yards and two touchdowns. People tend to forget Ingram was a 1,000 yard rusher before the Saints drafted Kamara.

- Seven different Saints caught passes from Drew Brees against the Eagles. But rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith had his breakout game today with 157 yards on 10 catches and a touchdown. Drew Brees has shown he can go to anybody in a Saints jersey and make them a star. Smith reminds me lot of All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas.

The Bad

-Every so often, the Saints will have a brain fart on offense. It happened in the second quarter after an eight yard gain on first down. They got called for a delay of game which made it 2nd & 7. Stuff like this can be a problem when it comes playoff time.

-Eagles rookie running back Josh Adams ran for 53 yards on seven carries and a touchdown. Had he not gotten banged up, and the Eagles been able to stop the Saints, he likely would’ve gone for 100 plus yards on the league’s best run defense.

-Eagles fans were too loud in the Superdome for my liking following Corey Clements’ kick return after the Saints field goal early in first quarter. This was my mood watching and hearing that.

The Ugly

-The penalty against Eagles safety Corey Moore on Saints receiver Tre’Quan Smith seconds before halftime was another example of over-refereeing. Graham went in for a hit as Smith caught a touchdown pass. When Smith crouched after the catch, it appeared as if Graham hit him in the head. Defenseless receiver penalty because of slight accidental contact to the head should ALWAYS be reviewed! It’s football dammit!

-Eagles starting center Jason Kelce went down with an elbow injury in the first quarter. His absence showed on a sack by Sheldon Rankins and a bad snap that led to an incompletion on a third down. Hate to see an All-Pro go down.

-The Saints ended the game with a couple subs on their offensive line. While it may have just been to give guys rest ahead of their Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Falcons, it is concerning; especially given the fact that they have had starters along the line out at one point or another.

When the season started, this was a game that could’ve tested either team’s stake to the claim of NFC supremacy. Instead, it ended up being yet another 40 burger this Saints has served up this year, their sixth such game this season. When their defense plays this well, the run game is on smash mode, Brees will always do his thing, this team is hard to stop. Not ready to call them NFC favorites to reach the Super Bowl yet, but they’re getting close to me saying so.

 

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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