This is the team we were expecting to see all season. If the offense can continue to play like this for the rest of the season, both at home and away, then I'll be more than happy to write off the first few losses as growing pains.
On to the Grades:
Drew Brees: A (4.0) Drew made 27 completions on 31 attempts. His NFL QB rating was 140.7 and his PFF rating was 138.4 Drew threw away 1 pass and had 1 pass dropped by Brandin Cooks. Drew also had 1 rush for 6 yards and a 1st down.
His plays as graded by PFF under pressure:
Passing under pressure
|Pressure||Drop-backs||Runs||Att.||Com.||Com. %||Yds||Yds / Att.||TD||INT||Sk||NFL QB Rating||Pff.com Rating|
|Plays under pressure||11||0||9||5||55.6||90||10.0||0||0||2||90.0||1.6|
|When not blitzed||25||1||22||20||90.9||279||12.7||3||0||2||158.3||5.0|
Brandin Cooks: A- (3.7) The only thing hurting Bradin's grade was a bad drop. Still he stretched the field, something we've been waiting to see from the 1st round draft pick. Brandin Cooks had 6 catches for 94 yards, with a long of 50 as well as a 4 yard run for a TD. His 50 yard catch also resulted in a TD.
Jimmy Graham: B (3.0) Jimmy started off the game slow, but stepped up in the 3rd quarter. He had 5 receptions for 59 yards, with a long of 22 that resulted in a TD. He even received a positive grade from PFF, abet just slightly above average, for blocking. I was great to see him improve during the game and seem to gain confidence coming back from his shoulder injury.
Kenny Stills: B- (2.7) Kenny only had 4 receptions, with 1 for 45 yards, but he helped stretch out the Green Bay defense and allowed the running game to take off.
Marques Colston: C- (1.7) Colston had a bad drop, and just hasn't been his normal dependable self this year. He did have 4 receptions for 49 yards, with a long of 20, and was not of any significance at blocking. I think the years and the hits are finally starting to catch up with Marques.
Travaris Cadet: B (3.0) Travaris was instrumental all night in moving the chains, and Pierre Thomas was not missed because of it. I'm grading him with the receivers, but he also had 1 run for 7 yards. He had 4 receptions for 40 yards with a long of 16. Since he was primarily featured as the 3rd down back, he had no blocking to augment his grade, and with no punt returns or kick returns, his overall grade is a solid B.
Josh Hill: C- (1.7) Really hard to grade Josh in this one. He only played 16 snaps, but he did have a 2 yard reception for a TD. He was in on both pass plays and run plays, but was graded slightly below normal for blocking by PFF.
Austin Johnson C- (1.7) Austin was only in for 4 snaps before leaving with a knee injury. He had 2 receptions for 2 yards as well as 1 rush for 2 yards. He graded slightly above average for pass blocking and average for run blocking.
I'm going to do Erik Lorig a favor and grade the FB with the O-line grades.
Mark Ingram: A+ (4.0) 100% Mark was the man of the night on offense. My personal MVP of the game. He had 24 rushes for 172 yards, a TD, and 1 reception for 3 yards. The man was a beast. He has the line and especially the afore mentioned Erik Lorig, to thank for a lot of those yards, but he was also responsible for breaking a lot of tackles and getting yards after contact.
Tim Lelito: A- (3.7) Tim was the star of the line in his starting debut. He was graded overall a 1.4 by PFF, with their grading system going from 2.0 to -2.0 and 0 as average. The only thing marring his grade was a QB hit he allowed on Drew Brees.
Jahri Evans: C+ (2.3) This was a good game for Evans. He has been suspect before, but his run blocking in this one was exceptional. He did allow 2 QB hurries which lowered his grade some. No penalties for Jahri either.
Benjamin Watson: C (2.0) The TE had no receptions, but was in for 40 snaps, and was best at protecting Drew. That was enough to get the C in this one. About average in run blocking as well.
Erik Lorig: C- (1.7) I don't know what game PFF saw on this one. they graded him poorly in blocking as well as other facets of his game, but I saw that he was instrumental in opening nice holes for Mark Ingram to jump through. A nice beginning for the FB who we have waited a long time to see. He had 1 reception for 5 yards, and 2 rushes for a net of 3 yards, due to a garbage time fumble. He had a long run of 4 yards. he only played 20 snaps and did allow 2 QB hurries.
Terron Armstead: C- (1.7) Don't get me wrong here. The LT was athletic, and largely efficient protecting Drew, but he did allow one sack. He also contributed in the run blocking.
Robert Meachem: C- (1.7) the WR had no receptions and I can't even remember if he was targeted. He was in for only 20 snaps, and graded strongly in run blocking. That seems to be Robert only true strength this season. I don't know if his blocking skills will warrant him a roster spot in the future.
Ben Grubbs: D (1.0) 1st I'd like to say, that Ben has been consistently one of the best linemen this year. That is except in this one. I really thought he was a liability last year, but with the experience with the team, as well as his understanding of the zone blocking scheme, he has largely been a pleasant surprise. he graded below average in all categories and allowed 2 QB hurries.
Zach Strief: D- (1.0) Not a good game for Zach. The normally stalwart RT was abused often. He graded slightly above average in run blocking but allowed 1 sack, and 4 QB hurries. We can't always have a good game, and I look for the experienced Rt to bounce back from this poor performance.
Honorable mention goes to Bryce Harris, who was thrown into the mix for 2 snaps, and largely held his own.