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Falcons 25 @ Saints 29: Making the Grade

Quarterback

A

vs ATL / 12.7.08 Passing Rushing
COMP ATT PCT YDS TD RUSH YDS AVG TD
Drew Brees 18 32 56.2 230 2 2 0 0.0 0

Drew just quietly did what he needed to do and let his running backs do the rest. Really no reason why he doesn't deserve an A for this performance.

NFL Scores, Schedule and Blog Posts - SB Nation

Running Back

A+

vs ATL / 12.7.08 Rushing Receiving
RUSH YARDS AVG TD REC YARDS AVG TD
Pierre Thomas 16 102 6.4 1 1 7 7.0 1
vs ATL / 12.7.08 Rushing Receiving
RUSH YARDS AVG TD REC YARDS AVG TD
Reggie Bush 10 80 8.0 0 3 26 8.7 1

I think we have all been waiting a long time to finally see numbers like this from Pierre and Reggie. We all knew they had it in them, we just had to convince the one person who needed convincing. I had to give them an A+ just out of pure happiness. To be fair, credit is also due to the offensive line who seemed to do a better job opening up some holes. And since I always get down on the running backs because of Payton's poor play calling, this week I also give Payton's dedication to the run and offensive balance an A+ as well.

Receiving

B

vs ATL / 12.7.08 Receiving
REC YARDS AVG TD
Devery Henderson 3 72 24.0 0
vs ATL / 12.7.08 Receiving
REC YARDS AVG TD
Jeremy Shockey 5 64 12.8 0

Not a great day from the Saints usual go-to-guy's Colston and Moore but Devery Henderson broke off a long catch and run to put himself at the top of the Saints receiving stats. Jeremy Shockey also made some big catches on some big plays. He still hasn't gotten into the end zone but it looks like Drew is definitely starting to utilize Shockey better. I like where this is going.

Offensive Line

A-

A good performance from the running backs should also mean a good day for the guys in the trenches. The O-line never let Atlanta get to Brees. We also saw a much better job by Jammal Brown and by the coaching staff who double teamed Abraham and kept him in check for 60 minutes. They drop a grade though thanks to yet another Jammal Brown holding call. Only acceptable if Drew was about to eat dirt. Carl Nicks also had a good game.

Defensive Line

C

vs ATL / 12.7.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
SOLO AST TOTAL SACKS YDS INT YDS INTTD
Will Smith 4 2 6 0 0 0 0 0

The lack of pressure from the Saints defensive line continues to disappoint. Matt Ryan had all day to make his passes and the Saints never put Matty Ice on the ground. Will Smith was actually a factor out there. Still, just not what we all expected heading into this season.

Linebackers

B

vs ATL / 12.7.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
SOLO AST TOTAL SACKS YDS INT YDS INTTD
Scott Shanle 7 2 9 0 0 0 0 0
vs ATL / 12.7.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
SOLO AST TOTAL SACKS YDS INT YDS INTTD
Jonathan Vilma 6 4 10 0 0 0 0 0

Vilma and Shanle were flying around out there. Fujita also made his presence known a little bit. These guys did a nice job keeping Turner from doing too much damage on the ground.

Secondary

C

vs ATL / 12.7.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
SOLO AST TOTAL SACKS YDS INT YDS INTTD
Roman Harper 7 0 7 0 0 0 0 0
vs ATL / 12.7.08 Tackles Sacks Interceptions
SOLO AST TOTAL SACKS YDS INT YDS INTTD
Usama Young 7 0 7 0 0 0 0 0

These guys gave up way too many big pass plays and a frustrating amount of 3rd down conversions. Granted they didn't get any help from the Saints pass rush. Josh Bullocks is also a handicap. Jason David is actually the bright spot of this unit. Did I just say that?

Special Teams

A+

Honestly I think this unit was great from top to bottom. Hartley is still perfect and putting kickoffs in the end zone. Pakulak kicked the hell out of the ball. The coverage units were on the punt returners, quickly making tackles. And Pierre's kickoff return put the Saints in position to win. Doesn't get much better than that.