GOOD, BAD AND UGLY

Saints vs Redskins: Observations as Brees sets all-time passing yardage mark

Drew Brees is the king of NFL passers. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Monday Night Football has given us lots of great moments over the years. Tonight’s 43-19 Saints win over the Redskins gave us a moment we may not see for quite a while. The Saints are now 4-1 and in control of the NFC South. Here’s a glimpse of what I saw:

The Good

-Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning’s all time passing yards record in spectacular fashion. Only needing 30-something yards, Brees hit rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith for a 62 yard touchdown pass and the celebration began.

-Mark Ingram being back for the Saints paid off on their first possession. He caught a 27-yard screen pass, then scored on a two yard run the next play as they took a 7-0 lead. The Saints are glad he’s back. He added a second touchdown with just less than four minutes left before halftime.

-The Saints were up 43-19 with a little more than two minutes left. Ingram ran for a first down and slid to keep the clock running down to the two minute warning. Brees needed one more touchdown pass to reach the 500 mark for his career. Instead, they took him out for a standing ovation and knelt out the clock. Sportsmanship still exists.

The Bad

-Saints’ receiver Cameron Meredith fumbled and the Skins recovered with a minute and a half left before halftime. Sure they were up 26-6 at the time, but giving up the ball at that moment, then a touchdown on the ensuing drive to make it 26-13 going into the half could have been worse had the Saints not gotten the second half kickoff.

-The run game didn’t pan out as expected because this was another game averaging less than four yards per carry. This team is operating on all cylinders when the run game is averaging north of four yards per carry.

The Ugly

-Saints All-Pro corner Marshon Lattimore left the game early on and was placed in concussion protocol and missed the rest of the game. It’s unsure if Lattimore will be cleared to play any time soon. This means more to their defense since the depth at that position is lacking severely.

-Brees was sacked twice in this game. The first drew a roughing the passer penalty on Ryan Kerrigan. It was a routine sack. Nothing looked malicious about it. But the enforcement of the body weight rule called for a flag on the play. Again, this is stupid and needs to be changed.

Those of you that follow my writing of these observation pieces will have noticed I cut one off of each the Bad and the Ugly. Well, when you see a game in which a future Hall of Famer breaks an all time record in prime time and the score wasn’t indicative of how the game turned out, you too wouldn’t have many bad things to say. This game was all about Brees. He torched the Skins defense, which was one of the top units in the league so far this year. Hats off to Brees. Not only what he managed to accomplish on the field, but what he’s meant to the city of New Orleans off the field as well.

 

Drew Brees and the Saints escaped with an ugly win. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Saints have effectively wrapped up the NFC South with their 25-14 win over the Tampa Bay Bucs. Here's how I saw things:

The Good

-Michael Thomas got himself going this week after a subpar performance against the Cowboys last week. He finished with 11 catches for 98 yards. More of note was his record of most catches in first three seasons. He surpassed Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry on his second catch, his 289th of his career. I hope people take notice and realize how great of a player he is.

-Taysom Hill once again proved his worth as just a football player. He blocked a punt the Saints recovered at the Tampa 30 yard line. It helped set up their first touchdown. Hill is listed as the third string quarterback, but plays running back, wide receiver, and special teams. He also drew a double team penalty on a kickoff.

-Drew Brees is known for his pinpoint accuracy throwing the ball. However, his athleticism is underrated. He notched his fourth rushing touchdown on a 4th and goal play in which he leapt over the line and extended the ball across the plane. The Saints took the lead early in the fourth quarter on that play.

The Bad

-Right before the half, Brees threw an interception that set up Tampa's second touchdown. When this team is rolling, they are the ones scoring before the half when they're getting the ball back after the half.

-They totaled just three rushing yards in the first half on nine attempts. The longest run was from fullback Zach Line at four yards. Another component of this team's success is predicated on the run game.

-Alvin Kamara was held in check. He was limited to 87 yards on 17 touches. His 76 yards on three kick returns were a help, but this team needs him to get going running and catching passes in order to operate at full capacity.

The Ugly

-This was the second game in a row that the Saints failed to score a touchdown in the first half. It could be a sign of teams catching up to them, or it could be a sign of a team that's feeling complacent. Either way, they need to get their offense going again to start games. 24 plays and 104 yards of offense that produced only three points in the first half.

-On their opening possession of the second half, Brees was stripped in the pocket and the Bucs recovered. The pressure came from the left. Missing starting left tackle Terron Armstead is becoming more and more of a glaring issue.

-Brees was limited to less than 270 yards passing, while they also totaled less than 130 yards rushing. Being held below their season averages on offense and still winning is the definition of winning ugly.

The Saints are now 11-2 and firmly in second place in the NFC. Now, they sit back and hope the Rams drop another game down the stretch. They own the tiebreaker over the Rams and need to finish with the same record to get homefield throughout the NFC playoffs. Saints fans will be Bears fans tonight, as well as Eagles, Cardinals, and 49er fans the rest of the season. This is what happens when you drop games you should've won.

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