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Saints 30 @ Panthers 27: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

  • Once again the Saints seemed to have made it through another game relatively unscathed in the injury department. The only thing I really saw was Marques Colston take a huge hit over the middle and gingerly walk off the field. But he aggressively shrugged off trainer Scottie Patton, who wanted to take a look at Colston, on the sideline and was back in the game shortly thereafter. 
  • Speaking of Colston, it's great to have him back. Jimmy Graham is clearly Drew's favorite new target but having Marques available to make plays, especially on important third downs, is always welcome. If he's simply a second option now, well, so be it.
  • The Saints were fantastic on 3rd down yesterday, converting 12/17 for 71%. We'll get into more detail about this later today in a separate post. 
  • John Kasay nailed all three of his field goal attempts, which is great because the Saints needed every single one of them. This was a nice rebound after missing two long kicks last week and a good showing in front of his former team.
  • Patrick Robinson is really beginning to elevate his game. His interception on the first play and blocked PAT a little later were crucial and possibly enough to earn him the nod as defensive MVP this game.   
  • Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. Need I say more?
  • The Saints got lucky when the Panthers were forced to call timeout with just a few seconds remaining in the first half because they had 12 men on the field. That timeout allowed the Saints a chance to kick a field goal they probably otherwise wouldn't have have made or even attempted. It's those lucky breaks that remind me of the 2009 championship season and give me reason to think the football gods are looking down on the Saints this year.
  • We got to see classic Drew Brees on that final, game-winning scoring drive. It was quite a thing of beauty, reminiscent of their final game-winning drive against the Eagles in Week 6 of 2006. Was there ever a doubt the Saints were going to get the touchdown for the win with Brees in the driver's seat?
  • The Falcons and Buccaneers both lost their games yesterday as well, making the Saints the only winner in the division this weekend and in sole possession of first place. 


The Bad

  • Dick Stockton was a little off his announcing game yesterday. It took him until about halfway through the first quarter before he stopped mispronouncing Thomas Morstead's name as 'Moorehead.' 
  • The Panthers almost won and Cam Newton looks like the real deal, which doesn't bode well for the future. I'd say it's safe to assume the Saints are in for lots of tough matchups against Carolina  year in and year out for the foreseeable future.
  • Sean Payton and the Saints have been making great use of Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham. But how long can they keep it up before injury and/or opponent game planning put an end to it?  
  • Despite yet another 30+ point effort by the offense, they still had a little trouble in the red zone, converting three out of five trips or 60%. 
  • Brees was a little bit off the mark with his passing, more so than usual. He overthrew an open Lance Moore by a mile on one play in particular. I think it was the wind.
  • I'm still waiting to see some serious pressure from the defensive front seven. Any day now. 


The Ugly

  • It is truly amazing that for yet another week in a row I have something negative to say about the officiating. The roughing the passer penalty called on Turk McBride on third down in the third quarter was complete horse manure. The automatic first down awarded to the Panthers after that penalty allowed their drive to continue, allowed their offense a chance to score a touchdown and completely changed the momentum of the game. When will it end?   
  • That being said, the Saints were still guilty of many of their 9 penalties for 82 yards. Worse still, some of those penalties were just stupid, like Roman Harper's late hit call and Mark Ingram's post-touchdown taunting penalty. They need to play with more discipline.
  • Jeremy Shockey reportedly made obscene gestures to Saints fans from the sidelines and ran straight off the field after the game, not shaking hands with any of his former teammates. Not cool, dude. Not cool.