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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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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