Saints 46, 49ers 48

Saints vs 49ers: Good, bad and ugly

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In a battle of NFC heavyweights, the Saints and 49ers had a shootout. They combined for 94 points and almost 1,000 combined yards. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Michael Thomas continues to assault the record books. With another 12 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown, he now has 121 catches for 1303 yards and seven touchdowns. He's now 23 catches away from breaking Marvin Harrison's record for catches in a season.

-Drew Brees had another one of his future Hall of Fame-worthy performances with 29/40 for 349 yards and five touchdowns. The 49ers did their best to frustrate him and the Saints offense, but in a game like this, Brees kept his team in the game with his trademark accuracy.

-Deonte Harris is one of those players that makes things happen. His first three kick/punt returns totaled 107 yards and he had a rush for eight yards. Sean Payton called Harris could be the best return man in the league. So far, ge's proving him correct.

The Bad

-The coverage down the field was astrocious. Jimmy Garoppolo completed 10 of his first 11 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns. There was even a trick play in which Ryan Mostert caught a touchdown pass from Emmanuel Sanders. This took place in the first half! The 49ers ended up averaging 8.2 yards per play.

-First lost fumble for the Saints all year led to a go ahead 49er touchdown. Alvin Kamara had the ball poked out deep inside Saints territory when they were up 30-28. That was the only turnover for the Saints, but it was very costly.

-The defense not only couldn't cover, they couldn't stop the run either. They gvae up 162 yards on the ground. Run defense has been their calling card this season. Well, they sure didn't answer that call today.

The Ugly

-Sean Payton's aggressiveness can sometimes be a hinderance. I disagree with the two-point conversion attempt after the second touchdown. Unnecessary two-point attempts can come back to haunt you. Plus it showed a play they could've saved for another situation. They went into halftime down by one and ended up losing because of it. Had they kicked that extra point and the one in the 4th quarter with 53 seconds left, they could've won or at least gone into overtime.

-Two times on 3rd downs on a 49er drive in the 4th quarter C.J. Gardner-Johnson was called for penalties that extended the drive and ultimately led to a touchdown. The personal foul penalty was horse shit! If a receiver changes his body position and a defender is already closing in, how the hell is he supposed to be responsible for hitting a guy in the helmet?!? The Saints lead the league in 3rd down penalties and 3rd down penalties that result in 1st downs.

-Jared Cook left the game with a concussion after catching his second touchdown. On the catch, he was hit in the head and immediately went limp. It hurt the offense because he looked to have been in the game plan to make big plays. He didn't return to the game.

This was a great game. However, coming up short because of stupid penalties, miscommunications on defense, and getting overly aggressive with an early two-point conversion that went awry will cost you close games. Fortunately for the Saints, all these mistakes are correctable. Unfortunately, the stupid penalties have been an ongoing theme this season. Marcus Williams' facemask on George Kittles' 39 yard catch to set up the game winning field goal made a potential 40 plus yard field goal a 30 yarder. The Saints now have almost no hope for homefield advantage in the NFC. They need to concentrate on winning out. They have the Colts, Titans, and Panthers left.

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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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