New Orleans Saints' Offensive Player Grades @ Miami Dolphins

See below for the grades of the Saints' offensive players. We saw lots of mistakes and lots of pressure on Drew Brees, but they still managed to amass yards, put up points, and most importantly, get the win. Remember the letter grade represents the performance in the Miami game and the GPA behind it represents the cumulative performance on the season.

Saints vs Dolphins coverage

Saints vs Dolphins recap

Saints vs Dolphins boxscore

Drew Brees: B- (3.17) I struggled with this grade. Part of me wanted to give him a worse grade because he turned the ball over 4 times, including 3 interceptions. While the first interception was a terrible throw and a bad mistake, the other two were defensible. The other part of me saw Brees showing grit when he scored on 2 touchdown runs, and he should be applauded for talking Sean Payton into going for the touchdown before halftime. From what I remember Brees has NEVER led the Saints to a 4th quarter come from behind win. Check that stat off his list. He made the plays when the game was on the line and finished 22 of 38 for 298 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles (1 lost), and 2 rushing touchdowns. It was a mix bag, but pressure was in his face constantly. His stature limitation was also evident, leading to a few batted passes at the line of scrimmage. Give him props for a great block on Bush's touchdown run.

Reggie Bush: C (2.22) I struggled with this grade, too. Bush was honestly in line for a D- until he made one of the most athletic and incredible plays I've seen this season. His touchdown leap was an absolute thing of beauty, and it single handedly saves his grade. He also converted a HUGE 3rd down play by shedding a tackle late and tip toeing the sidelines before turning upfield. Those plays came with the game in the balance, so give him credit. His punt returning was once again an atrocity, and his stats were forgettable: 3 carries, 10 yards, 3 catches for 16 yards. He had a touchdown and he also fell down for a loss with no defender in sight earlier in the game. He also had a terrible block on a blitz pickup that allowed Brees to get sacked.

Mike Bell: A- (3.42) Bell didn't play in the 1st half, but ripped a monstrous 35 yard gasher on his first carry in the 2nd half. He ran with brutal authority, and continues to have that violence about him that always get extra yards at the end of his carries. He did everything the Saints asked of him and finished with 12 carries for 80 yards. Give him credit for milking some clock as the Saints had the lead late. The only regret was him not scoring on a couple goal line carries inside the 5, but Heath Evans was banged up so he didn't have a true lead blocker.

Pierre Thomas: C+ (3.17) Not Thomas' best game, as he ended with 8 carries for 30 yards. Bell's second half emergence kept Thomas benched for the latter parts of the game. Thomas turned a 3rd and 16 play early into a 14 yard screen pass, just shy of a 1st down. The only reproach I really have was a play he tried to bounce outside that turned into a loss - it was very reminiscent of Bush's trademark screw ups.

Heath Evans: B- (3.11) Evans was blown up for a 5 yard loss on one screen pass and he made a nice first down play on another 8 yard screen. He had 1 carry for 2 yards to give the Saints breathing room outside of their own end zone. The running game was mediocre early, so hard to give Evans a better grade. Give him credit for Bell's emergence. He left the game with what looked like a sprained ankle. Knowing the kind of guy he is I'm sure he'll be ready to go next week.

Marques Colston: B- (3.06) If you look at his stats you'd think he played pretty well. Colston was the most targeted player ending with 5 catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Colston did have a couple drops, though, and he should have hauled in a pass that was stolen away from him at the goal line for an interception. Colston did make some impressive plays downfield, though.

Lance Moore: C- (2.78) Very quiet day for Lance Moore. Almost too quiet. 2 catches for 18 yards.

Devery Henderson: B+ (3.11) Devery was his usual self making plays for the Saints in the passing game. He ended with 4 catches for 71 yards, none bigger than a 37 yarder downfield as the Saints were mounting their improbable comeback. He also showed off his terrific speed taking an end around for 13 yards.

Jeremy Shockey: A- (3.39) Shockey was very quiet for a long stretch in this game, but he made some of the biggest plays when it counted. His most memorable was a 66 yard reception where he broke a tackle, then stiffed armed his way down to about the 10 yard line setting up a touchdown. Brees looked for Shockey often in the 2nd half, and Shockey ended with 4 catches for 105 yards. As always he showed terrific and reliable hands.

David Thomas: D+ (1.92) Poor blocking and poor catching day for the Wendy's founder namesake. A bad game overall for the Saints' backup tight end. The one pass he did haul in was a screen that went for a yard loss.

Jermon Bushrod: C- (2.74) Bushrod gave Brees some time late and did an effective job run blocking; otherwise, he almost got Brees killed. He gave up 2 sacks to Jason Taylor, allowed Joey Porter to knock Brees down a couple times and overall just didn't pass protect the way he had to this point in the season. The Saints really missed Jammal Brown in this game. He also had a bad false start inside the Saints' 5. He needs to improve if the Saints want to win the ultimate prize. He also missed assignments on blitz pickups.

Zach Strief: C- (2.67) Didn't make a difference run blocking like he normally does.

Carl Nicks: C+ (3.17) Pass blocking was overall pretty suspect for Nicks against Miami. When Brees would step up in the pocket his man would typically get some contact on the Saints' quarterback. He failed to help Bushrod on a couple plays and he wasn't his usual dominant self run blocking.

Jonathan Goodwin: C (3.06) He's typically terrific at pulling on screen passes and springing them free, but he missed his assignment on screens to both David Thomas and Heath Evans that resulted in lost yardage. A very average performance from the Saints' center.

Jahri Evans: B (3.45) Evans was by far the most solid Saints' offensive lineman on the day. Given how much Brees was hit all day it's hard to give anyone on the line better than a B, but Evans handled his man throughout the game and sprung some nice runs on his side. Bell's longest run was set up by a terrific seal job on Evans' part, and many of the hard nose medium running gains the Saints had were behind big Jahri.

Jon Stinchcomb: B- (2.83) Stinchcomb had at least one penalty that I can remember, and was quite frankly playing a miserable game getting beat on the edge and doing a poor job of run blocking. Then a weird thing happened. He seemed to go down with an injury, but he returned on the next drive and was lights out for the rest of the game. His run blocking was effective, and I never saw pressure again come from his side. He finished out the game very nicely.

My Offensive Player of the Game: Jeremy Shockey and Mike Bell (tie)

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