Safe assumption when you score a franchise record 62 points that there's going to be a lot of good grades. So many guys played so close to perfect in this game it really is a joy to watch the game film.
It's not often you see a performance with hardly a mistake. It really was a complete effort on offense, defense and special teams, and when that happens sometimes you get a 62-7 blowout. Too bad they couldn't save some of those points for another game.
The GPA's across the board are going to get a nice boost after this one. I gave out three A+'s for the first time ever, and the worst grade was a C+, also a record. Make the jump for the grades.Drew Brees: A+ (3.48) You probably watched the game so you know how to grade this one. Not much to say. He had more touchdowns (5) than he had incompletions (4). I almost don't think it would be physically or humanly possible for any quarterback pretty much ever to play a better game. He was 31-35 for 325 yards, 5 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Pretty much.
Mark Ingram: A- (2.67) This was by far his best game as a Saint. He ran hard, always fell forward, and took punishment like the tough inside runner that he is. He finished with 91 yards on 14 carries and a catch for 6 yards. I would have liked to see him score or at least get 100 yards for a solid A, but this was a good performance. He did benefit from a Colts' D that pretty much quit to gain some garbage yards at the end, but that's not his fault. He left the game with a heel injury that makes the possible activation of Chris Ivory to the 53 man roster more likely.
Pierre Thomas: A (2.91) Thomas, to me, still sets up his blockers and waits patiently for the play to develop better than any runner I've ever seen. I imagine the o-line adores him because he leaves his trust in them to set up the play for him before he runs his execution. From there, he's so powerful and agile he almost always turns the play into a big positive. It's the exact opposite of Reggie Bush, for example, who either hits the hole before his blocks are made or dances around in the backfield to compromise the blocking scheme plan. There's a lot of trust put in his lineman for him to perform, and that's what football is all about - a team working together. Thomas' assets were on full display and he gained 57 yards on 10 carries and 68 yards on 5 catches. His 57 yard screen reception was the longest gain of his career.
Darren Sproles: A (3.48) He and Brees are neck and neck in the GPA race. Both are dead even at 3.48 after this week. Whoever has the better grade against the Rams next week will get my midseason offensive MVP. Sproles finished with 88 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown, again with a good chunk of that yardage coming in the 4th quarter once the Colts had quit, and 6 catches for 19 yards and another touchdown. He also returned two kickoffs for a 28 yard average, and 4 punt returns for a 6.8 average. Sproles is so much better than I think any of us could have ever imagine. He fits through the smallest creases and makes devastating cuts. He continues to be the catalyst to this offense. I know he is loving the move from San Diego.
Jed Collins: A+ (3.05) He scored yet another touchdown, but this game was more about his blocking contributions. He laid devastating blocks one after another. He destroyed an oncoming Colt linebacker on several occasions. Chris Collinsworth made a comment about how the Saints signed Korey Hall to be their fullback but Collins was too good in preseason to pass up. I can see why. This guy is just getting better and better. I've never seen a lead blocker play like that. He looked like Mike Karney in his prime with speed. That's a terrifying concept. Just a textbook performance from him, top to bottom. Flawless.
Jimmy Graham: A- (3.43) He had 6 catches for 54 yards and 2 touchdowns. He showed off his red zone ability and great catching ability. He did have a ball knocked loose inside the 5 on a ball that fell incomplete. Graham was used very sparingly in blocking situation, instead only coming in to help in the passing game. I'm not sure if that's due to his injury, or due to the poor blocking in the previous game. Kudos to the Saints, though, for playing to his strengths.
John Gilmore: B+ (2.07) Gives his GPA a much needed boost with this performance. He blocked extremely well with increased duty in this game. His physicality off the edge was a much needed boost to the running game, and he helped in some pass blocking situations with the top flight pass rushing ends Indy showcases.
Marques Colston: A+ (3.00) 7 catches for 98 yards and 2 touchdown on 7 targets. An absolutely monster performance from Colston who was unstoppable. His grab on that first touchdown was out of this world. He looked strong, physical, fast, show oustanding hands, and looked like a premiere receiver out there. His injury is clearly a thing of the past.
Lance Moore: B- (2.78) Finished with 3 catches for 44 yards. Didn't do anything special but showed good hands and made a few plays out there.
Robert Meachem: B- (2.52) He caught the only two passes thrown his way for 27 yards. He also had a rush for -1 yards. Where he deserves most credit is for his blocking, though. As much as I complain about his lack of physicality after the catch, he's always a willing and able blocker and he made some really nice blocks downfield. That's probably what I love best about these Saints receivers. They do the little things that don't always show up on the stat sheet.
Devery Henderson: C+ (2.62) He's back to being an afterthought in the passing game, with his lone reception in the red zone for a 9 yard gain. He had a chance at a touchdown on a juggling reception off a tipped ball in the end zone. On that play he showed terrific concentration to keep his feet in bounds and come down with the ball, but he couldn't hang on as a defender stripped the ball away. That would have been an outstanding catch if he holds on, so hard to blame him, but his contribution would have been more special if he comes up with that. His blocking, on the other hand, was even better than Meachem's.
Jermon Bushrod: B+ (2.71) I noticed Dwight Freeney watched a good amount of this game form the sidelines, but the times Bushrod faced off against him he fared very well. He did give up a sack to Tyler Brayton, but that was a coverage sack where he gave Brees ample time to get rid of the ball, so I didn't dock his grade for that. Bushrod was a little slow on a few plays getting to the edge to really spring the running game and he did get a lot of help with chips to keep him from getting beat, but overall the Saints have to be pretty happy with his performance.
Carl Nicks: A (2.81) He was extremely physical in the running game and got incredible push every time he lined up. I don't think the Colts are going to want to face him for a long time if they can help it. A dominant performance by Nicks. It's been a little bit of a down year for him so it was nice to see him rebound like this.
Brian De La Puente: A- (2.34) The pull and lead block he threw on Pierre Thomas' big screen play was A++++ material. He played by far his best game as a Saint, and for the first time I really feel like this guy might have a future as the long term Saints' center. I was on board with starting him over Olin Kreutz more based on the fact that Kreutz was horrible than anything else. Yes, BDLP looked serviceable at times, but let's not confuse that with solid. Going in I viewed him as the lesser of two evils. In this game, he was solid. Very solid. He looked a little light in the pads and was pushed back on some short yardage running plays, so that was the only negative, but he looked more physical and quicker than Kreutz. Honestly, in the years I've graded Jonathan Goodwin there were very few that came out this high. An outstanding performance for the young journeyman center. I was really impressed by his ability to get to the sidelines and throw terrific blocks to spring plays.
Jahri Evans: A- (3.33) He was in line for an A performance if it wasn't for that holding call. He continues to play excellent and I think this is one of the better half seasons the Saints have gotten from him. Let's hope he can keep it up because right now he is absolutely justifying the investment the Saints made.
Charles Brown: B+ (2.50) He gave up a sack and needed a lot of help out there, but he held his own against tough defenders and showed some promise. He's still prone to lapses in concentration, but when he applies himself he has the tools and ability to be successful. An encouraging showing.
Pat McQuistan: B (3.00) He played a good deal as an extra blocker off the edge on running downs, giving the Saints a big wide body to help them in the trenches. It reminded me of Zach Strief in his "tight end" playing days and it was effective. I was impressed with McQuistan and his performance made me a believer he can come in and contribute as a regular blocker if he had to.
My Offensive Player of the Game: Drew Brees