New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Winners and Losers in Week 9
The New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football have been money, no matter what extenuating circumstances are hanging around the area.
This might have been the best game that the Saints have played this season. It wasn't the most complete game, but it was their best one, by far.
For a while there, there were no losers to be found in the performance by New Orleans but then came a rough patch in the second half before things tightened back up after. The winners were pretty obvious, though.
Let's take a look at these players in the winners' and losers' brackets.
Winners: The Saints Pass Rush
This unit sure did need that awful Philadelphia offensive line to come to town and fix their pass-rushing woes.
And they delivered to the tune of seven sacks. Seven sacks!
The entire defense came into the game with 13 total over seven games.
That was amazing, and it was also a signature game in a breakout season for Cameron Jordan, who racked up three sacks on Michael Vick and numerous other pressures on him. Also, don't forget about Will Smith who has seemed to find the fountain of youth in this game by adding two sacks of his own.
The other sacks were contributed to Brodrick Bunkley and Martez Wilson, who should've had two but lost one to a bogus personal foul call.
If this unit plays at least half as good as this for the rest of the season, watch out!
Loser: Garrett Hartley
It seems like another week passes, and another kick is missed by Mr. Hartley.
John Kasay raised the bar with an impressive year last season, and Hartley has had his play decline since his clutch season of 2009.
His accuracy has gotten worse since hitting those field goals during the Super Bowl run, and those are starting to look like an aberration rather than the norm. It just doesn't seem like he's as confident as he's been in years past.
Winner: Saints Running Game
Darren Sproles might have been injured, but this Saints team epitomizes the term "running-back-by-committee."
And that was no more evident by the appearance of Chris Ivory, the never-used, leading rusher from last season, who was actually given touches on Monday night.
And his play seemed to step the play up off his peers, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram.
As a unit, they had 23 carries for 134 yards. That's an impressive 5.8 yards per carry.
This is a performance that this group needs to build on. Add in Travaris Cadet, who had a long run negated by a penalty, and Sproles and this could be the main group that leads this team out from under .500.
Losers: The Saints Rush Defense and Tackling
This was a very sore subject of a very impressive win.
This was also the second straight week that the Saints have given up over 200 yards on the ground.
This needs to stop.
Oh, yea. The tackling needs to step up as well. There were countless plays that could have brought this yardage total way down if players just wrapped up and made tackles.
There is no more blaming Steve Spagnuolo for his scheme. He is putting the players in the right spots. It's time for those players to step up and make plays, or they can warm the bench. Simple as that.
Winner: The Saints "Giant" Duo
When this duo is on, the scoring machine usually doesn't stop for NOLA, and that was the case tonight with each of them having a great game.
That duo would be those tall trees in the receiving game, Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston.
They combined for 12 catches and 118 yards, and oh yea, they added two touchdowns to boot.
They are both healthy and should be the first Saints receiving duo to make it to a Pro Bowl together with the way they have continued their strong play from last year.
When these guys are on, it opens up the underneath routes to Lance Moore and the long ones to Devery Henderson or Joe Morgan.
Loser: Saints Backup Offensive Lineman
The two biggest "glitches" on the offensive side of the ball were the two fumbles by Drew Brees on the only sacks he took on the night.
The culprits who gave up those sacks? Eric Olsen and Charles Brown.
Those two were in for Jahri Evans and Zach Strief, respectively, and proceeded to give up strip sacks in their limited action.
This lack of depth could hurt Drew Brees and this offense if these starters on the offensive line have to miss any kind of significant time. And it could look as ugly as Philly's line looked on Monday night.