Raiders @ Saints: Making the Grade

 

Quarterback A+


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Passing Rushing
Comp Att Pct Yds TD Rush Yds Avg TD
Drew Brees 26 30 86.7 320 3 1 7 7.0 0

Do I really even have to discuss this. Drew is incapable of getting a grade below a B. Today, I had to give him an A+ because I don't know how he could possibly have performed any better. 86.7% completion percentage!? That's not human. Lance Moore dropped one so really he it ought to be higher. To be fair to everyone else though, Drew's performance was a team effort on the part of not only Brees but the receivers and the offensive line. Just amazing.

 

Running Back B


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Rushing Receiving
Rush Yards Avg TD Rec Yards Avg TD
Reggie Bush 14 27 1.9 1 3 40 13.3 1


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Rushing Receiving
Rush Yards Avg TD Rec Yards Avg TD
Deuce McAllister 13 65 5.0 0 2 7 3.5 0

Regardless of his running touchdown, Reggie had a pretty bad day on the ground. 1.9 yards per carry is not impressive for a running back. Fortunately, Payton realized the importance of Deuce and gave him a significant amount of carries. The decision to make Deuce the number one back who takes the bulk of the carries needs to be made. For a guy with two bad knees it sure is hard to tell. Slow and steady wins the race appears to be Payton's policy.

 

Wide Receiver B


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Lance Moore 7 97 13.9 0


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Devery Henderson 2 68 34.0 0

Dancin' Lance Moore had another great day catching balls. He is a ball catching machine. It's obvious how much trust Drew has in Lance out there and the Brees-Henderson connection seems to be catching fire ala 2006. When Drew has as good a day as he did yesterday you know that the guys on the other end of those passes played pretty well too. I know these guys have even more so I had to only give them a B.

 

Offensive Line B

A pretty good job at the line for this unit yesterday. They only gave up one sack and cut down on a lot of the stupid penalties from last week. Also, these guys have to get some of the credit for Drew's lights out performance by giving him lots of time to make the perfect decision.

 

Defensive Line A


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Bobby McCray 2 0 2 2 18 0 0 0


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Kendrick Clancy 3 1 4 0 0 0 0 0

Bobby McCray defines the term specialist. Get this...he has 3 tackles and all of them are sacks. When this guy decides to get in the game, he really gets in there. Clancy had a solid game as did Grant and Smith. Clancy, Grant and Smith all combined for a total of 11 tackles. These guys got a lot of credit after the game and deservedly so.

 

 

Linebackers B


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Jonathan Vilma 7 4 11 0 0 0 0 0

Listen up and listen good. Jonathan Vilma is to this defense what Drew Brees is to the offense. That green dot on their helmets means they are just plain awesome. In all seriousness, just as you can pencil Drew Brees in for 300 yards before any game, you can do the same with Vilma and about 10 tackles. They are both two peas in a pod and have found new life and new careers here in New Orleans. Vilma is now second in the league in total tackles with 56, behind only Dhani Jones. Even better, he is above Patrick Willis. Unfortunately, there are 2 other linebackers out there who didn't play as incredibly well as Vilma so I had to give this unit as a whole a B.

 

Secondary B


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Randall Gay 4 0 4 0 0 0 0 0


vs OAK / 10.12.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Jason David 2 0 2 0 0 1 18 0

The secondary started off a little slow giving up a few third downs that could have gotten them off the field but they tightened up when it counted. We can sit here and legitimately gripe about the missed interception opportunities. In a closer game, those might be much more crucial and because of that I had to give them a B. But let's look at the big picture. The Raiders only scored 3 points!! That means no touchdowns. That means no big scoring plays. And all without Tracy Porter. Admit it, this defense and more importantly, this secondary, is greatly improved. No doubt about it. My heart races a little less often when opposing quarterbacks throw the long ball. Give credit where credit is due. Mission accomplished for this team in the offseason.

 

 

Special Teams C

For a first game Mehlhaff did pretty well. 2/3  and an out of bounds kickoff is not anything spectacular but nerves were definitely a factor. He wound up getting them in check and even kicked one into the endzone. Hopefully he will continue to get better and prove himself able to handle the kicks during clutch moments. I know we're spoiled now but no punt return touchdowns for Reggie and Weatherford had to make a tackle on a speeding returner so I give this unit a C. Definitely a little more room for improvement.

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