Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints: Live Grades and Analysis for New Orleans

James ErmilioCorrespondent IIIOctober 27, 2013

Drew Brees and the Saints are looking forward to their return from the bye.
Drew Brees and the Saints are looking forward to their return from the bye.

It's over in the Superdome. The Saints dismantled the Bills to advance to 6-1.

Final Score

Buffalo Bills 17

New Orleans Saints 35

Check below for postgame grades and analysis.

New Orleans Saints Game Grades
Positional UnitHalftime GradesPostgame Grades
Pass OffenseAA
Run OffenseB-B
Pass DefenseA-A
Run DefenseCC+
Special TeamsDC
Bleacher Report

Postgame Analysis

Pass Offense: Drew Brees had a phenomenal game, and it's impossible to give him anything less than the highest grade.  He completed 74 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and a 146.1 quarterback rating. Kenny Stills had just three catches but two of them were big-play touchdowns, including a 69-yard bomb.  

Brees hit 10 different receivers on his way to 332 total yards.  It was a phenomenal offensive effort marred only by four sacks allowed by the offensive line.

Run Offense:  Pierre Thomas was solid again, with 4.6 yards per carry and 65 total yards.  The Saints ran 17 times in the second half and threw just 14 passes.  It's encouraging to see the Saints put a team away with the run game late after establishing a first-half lead.  That's the mark of a good team.

Pass Defense: The Saints held Thad Lewis to just 56 percent passing at 6.0 yards per attempt. Keenan Lewis registered a pick and the defense registered four sacks and three forced fumbles from the Bills' QB. 

Run Defense:  The run defense was hardly tested in the second half, but they were impressive in ensuring Fred Jackson wouldn't be able to put the game away.  Buffalo finished with a paltry 3.5 yards per carry, which is a big step forward for the Saints defense.

Special Teams: Garrett Hartley missed two first-half field goals, but Darren Sproles busted free for a 32-yard kickoff return and Thomas Morstead pinned the Bills back within the 20-yard line twice. 

Coaching: There was little  to complain about from a coaching perspective.  The Saints played their trademark big-strike style behind Payton, and they protected the football well in dominating the turnover battle.  The only mark against the coaching staff is for discipline—the Saints registered eight penalties in the game.  Still, Sean Payton's game plan was impressive, once again.  

/Getty Images


Halftime Analysis

Pass Offense: Despite a fairly underwhelming performance for the majority of the first half, Brees and the passing offense came alive late for two big touchdowns.  Stills was wide open on a pitch-and-catch for a 69-yard bomb, and Jimmy Graham hauled in a touchdown in traffic with 30 seconds left in the half.

Brees' overall body of work for the half was phenomenal—he finished with an 80 percent completion rate, 10.3 yards per attempt and three touchdowns.  This was a team effort from the offense, as eight different receivers caught passes and the line kept Mario Williams (10 sacks on the season) off of Brees. 

Run Offense:  Pierre Thomas was impressive in limited carries, with 5.2 yards per carry.  But the Saints ran just nine times compared to 20 passes. Ignoring the run game is Payton's modus operandi, and it has worked for them so far this year.  

Pass Defense:  The Saints forced three Thad Lewis fumbles and held the Bills to 108 passing yards at a 58 percent completion rate for one lone touchdown.  It has been another very impressive half from a surprising Saints' defense, which also sacked Lewis three times.

Run Defense: The strength of the Bills offense is their run game, and even without C.J. Spiller the Bills did have some success on the ground.  Fred Jackson and Tashard Choice combined for 69 yards on 14 carries, which helped the Bills win the time of possession battle.  Still, they weren't able to control the game or ride roughshod over a Saints team that is vulnerable to power rushers.  

Special Teams: Garrett Hartley missed two field goals in his worst performance of the season.  

Coaching: Big plays are the hallmark of a Sean Payton offense, and the Saints made some huge ones late in the second.  Most importantly, they stayed turnover free, though Payton's team got a bit sloppy with five penalties in the half.