The New Orleans Saints improved to 2-3 after being able to close out the Carolina Panthers after losing their 21-point lead to start the game. Here’s a few things we learned from the team after Week 6’s bout.
Leads aren’t safe with Dennis Allen’s defense
Going up 21-0, let alone being up 24-10 at halftime was a false sense of security. There were certainly some bright moments, as the Saints were able to hit Cam Newton 13 times on the day, but there were some real soft coverages put out there. One could argue the Saints could have went for a ‘kill shot’ with their offense rolling, but Wil Lutz’ missed field goal opened the door for the Panthers to get back in it. Still, the defense had plenty of opportunity, especially in run defense.
One thing worth mentioning is the fact that Kenny Vaccaro turned down a day off because he wanted the defense to watch film. He told Nick Underhill of The Advocate, “I felt like we won the game but I don’t have a good taste in my mouth. I think there’s some things out there that I know that we didn’t do that we need to execute. Little things that are going to cost in the future.”
That’s leadership at its finest.
Drew Brees is very elite, and continues to quiet his doubters
Brees had a field day against an inexperienced Panthers secondary, totaling 465 yards on 34 passes (69.4 percent completion). Brees had four touchdowns, one interception, and finished out with a 118.2 quarterback rating (QBR). Brees found ten different receivers on the day, and had his 16th career 400-yard game of his career, which is an NFL record. Brees is fourth in the NFL with 1,734 passing yards with a 14:4 touchdown-interception ratio. The most impressive part of Brees’ season thus far is that he’s up there in one fewer game than the guys in front (Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Andy Dalton).
Pass interference calls are stupid, and should be reviewable
There’s no bias here, but there’s a great deal of inconsistency across the NFL with the officiating. Yes, the Saints were guilty of 10 penalties for 126 yards on the day, but the biggest moment came when safety Kenny Vaccaro was flagged for guarding against tight end Greg Olsen. Vaccaro turned his head, played the ball, and had minimal contact. Needless to say, it was a very
questionable bogus call, and led to another Panthers touchdown.
The Saints had three pass interference penalties for 82 yards. One of the frustrating aspects of this all is stacking it up to Richard Sherman’s no-call against Julio Jones. It was blatantly obvious.
Sterling Moore, B.W. Webb have been huge pickups
B.W. Webb was targeted the most on the day with 11 passes being thrown his way. He only allowed four catches for 41 yards, and had three pass breakups. He did have one of the pass interference penalties, but the fact remains that Webb has filled in adequately given the Saints are on ‘street corners’.
Sterling Moore, who exited the game in the fourth quarter, made a spectacular interception grab after being locked up with Devin Funchess. He also had a pass breakup. It’s hard to imagine a guy like this being available, but maybe it’s time to acknowledge that Aaron Glenn is doing some good things for the Saints’ secondary.
The only problem the Saints face now is whether or not Moore will be available, as he is reportedly undergoing an MRI on Monday for an undisclosed injury.
Getting under Cam Newton’s skin makes for interesting things
Compared to recent games, Newton didn’t have the typical takeover against the Saints that he’s been accustomed to recently. He went 27-for-47 for 322 yards, 2 touchdowns, an interception, and was sacked twice. His swing of emotions changed tune quickly after the loss, as he put up an immature display in a 90-second post-game press conference. If you haven’t seen it, then check it out.
ESPN First Take - Cam Newton Walks Out Of Press Conference https://t.co/JCuLJB9M8H— Espn First Take (@EFT_FULLSHOW) October 17, 2016
Newton carried himself like a pouty kid who didn’t get his way, and gave several ‘next question’ responses to reporters. When he did respond, it was very generic and short sentences. Clearly, there’s a lot more wrong in Carolina than we think, as they dropped their third straight NFC South contest.