GOOD, BAD AND UGLY

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

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.

 

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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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