Saints vs. Dolphins ESPN Monday Night Football 2013 Player Grades: Offense

Chris Graythen

Putting up 38 points with the way this defense is playing is more than enough to get a win every time out. The offense was firing on a lot of cylinders in this game as evidenced by Brees' masterful performance and the explosiveness of the passing game, but the running game remains a real struggle. Once again the offensive line couldn't put together a solid performance, but the pass protection held up enough to allow Brees to do his work. On to the grades...

Drew Brees: A+ for the game (3.17 for the season) What more could you have asked for from Brees? It was a completely flawless performance. Sure there was maybe one or two balls where the location of a throw could have been perfected, but what he did with poor offensive line play was purely astonishing. I am convinced we don't even realize the full extent of the O-line's issues because Brees is getting the ball out way too fast for us to even notice. By far his best game of the season. 30-39 for 413 yards, 4 touchdowns, no turnovers, and 2 yards rushing. Just another epic Drew Brees performance, on Monday night no less.

Khiry Robinson: C+ (2.83) When the Saints needed to burn some clock and turned to him exclusively he did a good job finishing runs, moving chains, and falling forward. His stats would have been better if it weren't for the couple times he got completely blown up in the backfield. He finished with 12 carries for 37 yards and ball security wasn't an issue. He also had a tackle on a kickoff inside the 20!

Darren Sproles: A (3.25) He just flat out owned the Dolphins. In fact, he would've gotten an A+ too if he didn't fumble inside the 5 late in the game. He had 7 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown, and it was already over 100 early in the 2nd quarter. The Dolphins had no chance covering him, and he made them look so bad it later opened things up for his teammates when he started to see safety coverage and double teams, which left linebackers on Graham and Colston. He also had 28 yards rushing on 4 carries and another touchdown. He also averaged a healthy 14.7 yards and three punt returns.

Pierre Thomas: C- (2.34) Not the best day for PT cruiser. Not that he had much of a chance running the ball but 4 carries for 1 yard is pretty bad. He did have 5 catches for 37 yards and a nice screen play, but he dropped another screen that could have been a huge gain. Not a great first quarter of the season for Thomas.

Jed Collins: C+ (2.09) I don't blame him at all for the poor running game. The times it's working he's throwing a devastating block. The Saints just aren't getting enough help inside. Collins caught a screen for a 6 yard gain, but could have picked up a first down if he bounced outside.

Marques Colston: B+ (3.00) He was incredibly quiet in the first half and barely did anything, before blowing up in the second to finish with 7 catches for 96 yards. He was close to catching a deep ball that went just off his fingertips and he also had a shot at a ball down the seam in the end zone but it would've been called back for holding anyway. As usual he was very sure of hands and physical after the catch. He seems to go down a little easy sometimes, though.

Kenny Stills: C+ (2.42) He finished with 4 catches for 38 yards and gave the offense a little action. To me he just seemed a little soft and scared of contact. He was also targeted on a 3rd down pass where he was owned by Nolan Carroll. His 18 yard reception on a 3rd down on the opening drive of the game was his big play. He slipped another 3rd down play which forced the Saints to punt.

Nick Toon: C (2.00) His big play was a 18 yard reception on a 3rd and 12. That was a big time play and a much needed conversion, though he did look a little awkward catching the ball. He also dropped a must catch ball inside the Dolphins' 5. He also was so-so blocking.

Robert Meachem: C- (2.00) The stats show he was targeted once but I wasn't able to find it. Anyway, he was going deep with double moves all gave to stretch the defense and did his job for the most part. He was one of the few receivers that felt like blocking. He made no real impact, though.

Jimmy Graham: A (3.59) The Dolphins paid close attention to him early at the expense of getting gashed by Sproles, but by game's end Graham did have 4 receptions for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Funny enough that qualifies as a "quiet" game for him lately. Defenses have no chance against him right now. He had one holding penalty late I'm willing to overlook.

Ben Watson: B+ (2.42) On his two receptions he looked very athletic and quick after the catch. Unfortunately only one got called back due to holding. But he was able to get in the end zone for the first time on a 4 yard touchdown reception where he did a terrific job getting to the pylon. More importantly he was tremendous help edge blocking in pass protection. He bought Brees more time when he was in the game to dissect the Dolphims.

Charles Brown: D+ (1.67) He's getting zero push on running plays and he's up and down in the passing game. He does get beat around the edge but often Brees feels it and move up in the pocket. He was flagged once for holding and got beat soundly by Olivier Vernon another time for an easy sack. He seems like the weak link on the line for sure.

Ben Grubbs: C (1.75) He negated the nice Watson reception with a holding penalty. On one running play in particular he was completely destroyed into the backfield which led to a huge loss on a running play. His pass protection was good at times, though, and he did a good job pulling on a couple of screen.

Brian de la Puente: C- (2.00) Like Grubbs he was absolutely blown up on a running play which resulted in a huge loss. His pass protection was ok but he got zero interior push when the Saints tried to run. He was as responsible as anyonefor the lack of a run game.

Jahri Evans: C+ (1.89) He was beaten badly on a sack by Jared Odrick and you could tell his movement is still not 100%. But the effort was there. He ran hard on pulls and finished his plays. He was one of the few players I'd see hustle to the edge or run to the end of a play and fall forward.

Zach Strief: B- (2.67) He had some help with doubles but to me he was once again the most solid of the great, which has largely been poor. Through four weeks his pass protection in particular has been quite good.

Bryce Harris: C (2.00) He had to join the party despite limited reps on the flag front with a false start. Still, he did an effective job as the jumbo tight end and helped the run game late when Khiry actually had a couple decent runs.

***

My Offensive Player of the Game: Drew Brees

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