I'm not going to spend much time writing an intro here. For lack of a more polite term, this was a complete &%#$ show. If I could point to one reason for the epic failure of the offense, it would be horrendous play by the offensive line. The interior wasn't physical on passing plays and the exterior pass blocked as bad as I've ever seen them do it. Chris Long practically stopped the Saints' highly potent offense all on his own. Brees played poorly, but I think that can also be traced back to the lack of protection he was getting.Drew Brees: C- (3.21) He finished 30-44 for 269 yards, 1 meaningless touchdown with 6 seconds left in the game to extend his streak, and 2 interceptions. The first interception he threw just before halftime was a horrible pass downfield into coverage that was a terrible decision. He forced the ball in a classic attempt to try to make up a 17 point deficit on one play. I expect more out of a elite veteran quarterback than a mistake like that. While his second pick was also terrible, it's hard to blame him at that point as the Saints turned completely one dimensional. The accuracy on his throws were off and with coverage clearly focused on Sproles and Graham Brees looked rattled. In the end, Brees running for his life most of the game was a major reason for such poor play.
Chris Ivory: C- (1.67) His first game of the season wasn't an impressive one at all. He did a poor job of breaking tackles and made bad plays worse by trying to bounce outside. He had 18 yards on 6 carries. He did convert on one 3rd and short which was maybe the lone shining point of the game for him.
Darren Sproles: C (3.29) For lack of a more descriptive view of his performance, his output was very Reggie Bush - esque. Ironic when you consider Bush had 100 yards rushing for the second time in his career this weekend. Sproles was much less decisive in his cuts for some reason this weekend. He ran with a lot less conviction and looked confused out there. He also made a poor decision taking out a number of kickoffs that resulted in horrible field position. He had 6 carries for just 16 yards, going down very easily on contact, and he had 6 catches for 60 yards. He also averaged 24.2 yards per kickoff return which sounds way better than it was, and 6.3 yards per punt return.
Pierre Thomas: C+ (2.83) Can someone explain to me why PT gets 7 carries in a game where the Saints were without Mark Ingram against the worst run defense in the NFL? PT didn't do much, but he did have a touchdown run. That's about it. He had just 23 yards on 7 carries and 11 yards on 4 carries. 34 yards on 11 touches isn't going to cut it.
Jed Collins: B- (3.00) He had 3 receptions for 15 yards and showed really good hands in the flat and good after the catch toughness. His lead blocking could have been better but he wasn't the reason for the poor showing.
Marques Colston: C+ (2.89) He had just 3 catches for 50 yards despite being targeted numerous times. He had a hard time getting separating and he wasn't able to use his frame to box out defenders. The Rams did an excellent job covering him for the most part.
Lance Moore: B+ (2.86) By far the best Saint on the day, but he left some receptions out there. Without him the score could have been much much worse. Espn says he had 7 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown, and I've seen 8 catches for 82 elsewhere... so I'm really not sure. Either way, he benefited from all the attention Colston/Sproles/Graham got and contributed.
Devery Henderson: D (2.42) He had 1 catch for 8 yards despite being targeted 4 times. He's really useless right now, and he did a poor job on Brees' first interception of playing defense on a jumpball.
Robert Meachem: C- (2.42) He had 2 catches for 12 yards, which excludes a catch he could have made in traffic but didn't. He did show good hands on a high ball by Brees, but he had zero impact on the game.
Jimmy Graham: C+ (3.29) He had 4 catches for 39 yards on 8 targets. The Rams knew he was a threat and they did a great job double covering him down the seam. Brees tried to force the issue into Graham a few times and he was lucky no interceptions happened as a result. Graham's blocking was poor and he wasn't able to make an impact in the game like we've counted on him to do lately. Through 8 games, Graham is tied for the best GPA on offense. They will share my mid-season offensive MVP award.
John Gilmore: C- (2.00) Another pretty poor blocking performance by a "blocking specialist". Yawn. The depth at tight end this year has been atrocious for the Saints.
Jermon Bushrod: D+ (2.54) I've been praising him a lot lately, and right on queue he turns in by far his worst performance of the year. Robert Quinn beat him off the edge repeatedly and he did an incredibly poor job of pass blocking. His run blocking was slightly better, but honestly it was a lackluster performance all around. He only allowed one sack somehow, but he was close to allowing about 3 more if it wasn't for Brees' quick release. He almost got Brees killed.
Carl Nicks: C- (2.67) I am floored to see Nicks getting pushed around in the trenches. Very seldom do you just see him get knocked off the ball and pushed back. It was a shockingly poor performance against the run. His pass blocking was solid considering what a mess things were around him. He apparently almost got in a fight with the offensive line coach as well. Fail.
Brian De La Puente: C+ (2.39) In my estimation he was the most solid Saints' lineman on the day. That's really not saying much. His average performance was lost in the mix of the horrid showing by everyone else, though.
Jahri Evans: C- (3.13) Very mediocre performance by a player that's been so reliable until this game. I wasn't sure how whether to dock his grade or boost it have he punted the ball into the stands and got a 15 yard penalty following the pick 6. At least he was showing he cares, but that shows how lost the Saints' poise was in this game. He was fine pass blocking and poor in run block.
Charles Brown: F (2.14) This was reminiscent of Bushrod's performance against the Cowboys and DeMarcus Ware back in the day. Brown was beaten three ways from Sunday and looked like a ragdoll blocking Godzilla. He had no business out there and was completely manhandled by Chris Long. An absolutely embarrassing performance made worse by his loss of cool. The false start following a sack given up made it clear he was mentally shot, and the injury he sustained was actually welcome because he meant he'd leave the game.
Pat McQuistan: D- (1.67) He was passable off the edge though he missed a crucial block on 3rd and short. Then, after Brown left with an injury, he somehow managed to look even worse. Chris Long had a blast with him as his job got even easier. Zach Strief can't return to the lineup soon enough. The fact that I'm this excited about Zach Strief coming back should speak volumes about how right tackle has been going since he got hurt.
My Offensive Player of the Game: Lance Moore