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Panthers 33 @ Saints 31: Making the Grade

Quarterback

A-

vs CAR / 12.28.08 Passing Rushing
Comp Att Pct Yds TD Rush Yds Avg TD
Drew Brees 30 49 61.2 386 4

Here I am again trying to find more words to adequately express Drew Brees' greatness and here I am again, coming up short. You all voted him as the games MVP so he deservedly receives an A. But I have to drop it down a bit because of the interception. All in all though, this guy is the New Orleans Saints.

NFL Scores, Schedule and Blog Posts - SB Nation

Running Back

C

vs CAR / 12.28.08 Rushing Receiving
Rush Yards Avg TD Rec Yards Avg TD
Deuce McAllister 8 40 5.0 0 5 41 8.2 0

Deuce actually ran the ball well on the rare occasions he actually got the chance. I still haven't forgotten about that dropped pass though. But Payton was pretty much in pass-mode with Brees and never really got a ground game established. Certainly not enough to be a threat to the Panthers on Sunday so I can only give the running game a C here.

Receiving

B+

vs CAR / 12.28.08 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Marques Colston 7 123 17.6 1

vs CAR / 12.28.08 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Lance Moore 8 91 11.4 2

We have rarely seen big games from both of these guys on the same day but that's exactly what we got this weekend from Colston and Moore. It's also interesting to note that Brees spread the ball around to eight different receivers as is customary. Jake Delhomme, by comparison, only used three. I'm a tough critic and still think the drops are too prevalant so I only gave them a B+.

Offensive Line

C

Even though the line did a pretty good job holding off Julius Peppers and not letting him dominate, Brees get sacked twice and was hurried often - more than usual for this unit. Zach Strief came in often for support. Mediocre. Congrats to these guys though for breaking the franchise record for sacks allowed.


Defensive Line

D

vs CAR / 12.28.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Will Smith 1 3 4 0 0 0 0 0


vs CAR / 12.28.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Jeff Charleston 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 0

Pure crap. They got no pressure on Delhomme and left him an "inordinate amount of time" says Payton. The only sack of the day came from Scott Shanle...a linebacker. I know they are battling injury but these guys have to be better.

Linebackers

B+

vs CAR / 12.28.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Jonathan Vilma 12 1 13 0 0 0 0 0

vs CAR / 12.28.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Scott Fujita 4 2 6 0 0 0 0 0

As they have been all season, the Saints linebacking corp was the best and most consistent aspect of this defense. Vilma had an awesome game running all over the field. Scott Shanle made the Saints only sack of the game but it came at a great time.

Secondary

D


vs CAR / 12.28.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Roman Harper 10 0 10 0 0 0 0 0

vs CAR / 12.28.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
Randall Gay 8 0 8 0 0 0 0 0

Like the defensive line, these guys played like crap. Don't let the above stats fool you. The only reason Harper and Gay racked up so many tackles was because the Panther running backs got to the second level so often.

Special Teams

D

Sean Payton said himself in his press conference that Hartley didn't look great on kickoffs this Sunday. But it's Skyler Green's untimely fumble that really screwed the pooch for the special teams unit this week. That's why these guys get such a bad grade.