Saints 33, Seahawks 27

Saints vs Seahawks: Good, bad and ugly

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The Saints went up to Seattle and came out with an impressive victory in Teddy Bridgewater's first start since the Drew Brees thumb injury. Here's what I observed in the 33-27 win over the Seahawks:

The Good

-Sean Payton's faith in Deonte Harris paid off when Harris returned a punt 53 yards for a touchdown after the defense forced a three and out. Payton is on record as saying he thinks the 5'6 170lb dynamo can one day become the league's best return guy. (This was the first punt return for touchdown in the league this year.)

-The refs let a potential fumble return for a touchdown play out this week! Eli Apple punched the ball free from Chris Carson, Vonn Bell picked it up and ran it in. The refs held their whistle, let it play out, and confirmed the call after a short review. Game changer because either the Seahawks worked their way up to 31 yard line after a punt was downed on the 4, or the Saints take a lead in a 7-7 game on the road mid way through the 2nd quarter.

-Alvin Kamara is arguably the best weapon Payton has ever had outside of Brees. He can do anything on the offensive side of the ball except pass. He rates as a plus runner, reciever, blocker, and return guy. 152 total yards and two touchdowns against on of the better defenses in the league is a testament to his abilities.

The Bad

-Noise and not focusing on details cost the Saints a 3rd down conversion in the 1st quarter. That led to a missed 3rd&13, a punt, a short field for the Seahawks and their first touchdown. 11 penalties for 70 yards is a good way to lose a road game.

-Michael Thomas got his first target at the 1:54 mark in the 2nd quarter, just after the two minute warning. Thats a long time to go before even getting a target for one of the best recievers in the league. One would think he'd get targeted just as much with Bridgewater instead of Brees.

-The Saints had a -21 yards rushing differential this game. Rushing yards differential is a good way to determine who normally wins/loses a game. You can't rely on the other team to make mistakes or lean too heavily on the pass and think you're going to win very many games, much less contend for a Super Bowl.

The Ugly

-The 1st quarter ended with more penalties (4) than 1st downs (1). This has been a constant struggle for the Saints so far this season. Penalties are drive killers on offense, and drive extenders on defense. Either way, it has to stop because the team is already fighting uphill for the next few weeks at least.

-The defense again ngave up over 400 yards of offense (515 to be exact). With Brees out, the defense will have to step up even more. This unit has the talent, yet they end up looking less than stellar again. Something has to be done. Dennis Allen's seat neds to be warming up if this doesn't get fixed.

-The Seattle rain was unrelenting. Players slipped and slided throughout the game. No one was surefooted. Carson lost a fumble and Bridgewater couldn't gain a handle on the ball on a 3rd&Goal from the about two feet out. Harris even muffed a punt that the Seahawks recovered. May have also played a factor in Lutz missing an extra point and field goal (even though the missed field goal was null and void due to a Seahawk penalty).

I was not expecting this type of win. Honestly, I wasn't expecting a win at all. Special shout out to punter Thomas Morestead who regularly put the Seahawks in less than favorable field position. Bridgewater completed 70% of his passes in a Brees-like performance. He still holds onto the ball too long and often appears unsure of what to do, but he looked more comfortable this week. Next week, they face the 3-0 Dallas Cowboys in what will be a real challenge for both teams. The Cowboys have faced cream puffs to start their season and the Saints will have a hard time containing the Cowboy's explosive offense. Sunday Night Football will be rocking in the Superdome!

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Houston gets the best of the Dodgers

Astros behind McCullers Jr. get shutout win in hostile Dodger Stadium

Yordan Alvarez added some big insurance runs against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Having dropped two of three in San Francisco against the league record-leading Giants over the weekend, the Astros exited an off day on Monday and entered a hostile environment at Dodger Stadium in the first of a two-game series on Tuesday night. With some timely hits and an excellent start from their starter, Houston would grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

Astros' Record: 65-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-2)

Losing Pitcher: Walker Buehler (11-2)

Houston scores first as McCullers Jr. out-duels Buehler

After nearly turning the game's very first pitch around for a home run but instead going foul, Jose Altuve still started the game with a single in the top of the first. A double play would erase him, though, as the game remained scoreless into the top of the third. Martin Maldonado led that inning off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch by Walker Buehler, then scored on an RBI double by Michael Brantley, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

Houston threatened again in the top of the fourth, getting two on with two outs, bringing up Martin Maldonado with an empty base, which the Dodgers would use by intentionally walking him to get to Lance McCullers Jr., who grounded out to strand all three runners. He made up for it on the mound, though, out-dueling Buehler, who finished six innings while allowing a run by getting into the seventh scoreless. He would get two outs into that frame while giving up a single and a walk, leaving two on base for Blake Taylor, who came in to get the third out. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 110 P.

Alvarez adds insurance as Astros take the opener in LA

Clinging to the one-run lead in the top of the eighth, Carlos Correa worked a one-out walk to bring Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who demolished a 415-foot two-run homer to add two big insurance runs, extending the lead to 3-0. Kendall Graveman took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth and, despite allowing a leadoff single and hitting a batter, was able to finish a scoreless inning.

With Ryan Pressly on the paternity list, Houston handed the ball to Ryne Stanek to close things out in the bottom of the ninth. He would get the job done, earning the save by retiring the Dodgers in order, giving the Astros the win at the dismay of the fans in Los Angeles.

Up Next: This short series's second and final game will begin thirty minutes earlier on Wednesday at 8:40 PM Central. For the Dodgers, they will get the debut of Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA), while Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros.

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