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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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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