Many fans of the New Orleans Saints are still soaking in Sunday’s thrilling 25-20 over the Seattle Seahawks, and rightfully so. Sean Payton’s squad had previously lost three straight to Pete Carroll and company, but was finally able to get the best of them.
Let’s start with top five on each side of the ball from Pro Football Focus’ grades.
Offense: Andrus Peat (81.0), Willie Snead (79.5), Drew Brees (79.4), Terron Armstead (78.9), Michael Thomas (76.9)
Defense: Cameron Jordan (83.8), Craig Robertson (76.6), B.W. Webb (73.9), Kenny Vaccaro (73.6), Vonn Bell (71.1)
The Good Stuff (from Pro Football Focus)
- Andrus Peat played all 76 snaps back at left guard and graded well at 80.7 overall. He graded positively as a run blocker for the third-straight game, while in the passing game Peat allowed only one pressure in 41 pass blocking snaps.
- Just three of QB Drew Brees' 27 completions came on passes thrown more than 10 yards downfield, while he was 1-for-3 on deep shots.
- The Saints continue to avoid pressure better than any other team, in part due to a quick release; Brees was pressured on only 13.5 percent of his dropbacks against Seattle, below his league-low average of 20 percent. Through eight weeks Brees averages a league-low 2.27 seconds in the pocket.
- Max Unger (75.7) had a solid game against his former team. He graded slightly below-average in the run game for the fourth-straight game, but made up for it with another perfect game in pass protection. Through eight weeks, he's allowed the fewest pressures (1) of any center in the NFL.
- The Saints defense averaged pressure on 28 percent of opponent's dropbacks through the first seven weeks, but got to Wilson slightly more often - 30% of his 40 dropbacks - but only one of those plays resulted in a sack. For the season only three defenses have a lower sack rate.
- After just an average game against the Chiefs, DE Cam Jordan bounced back with a team-high 83.5 overall grade. He collected seven pressures and a batted pass on 39 rushes.
- Safety Kenny Vaccaro graded well once again at 78.2 overall. He's been more solid than spectacular, but has consistently graded above-average overall. Against Seattle finished with two defensive stops and surrendered only 18 yards in coverage (three targets). On the season Vaccaro has the eighth-best overall grade at the position.
- DT John Jenkins has seen his two lowest snap counts of the season over the last two weeks. He played 11 snaps against Seattle, with no pressures and a negative run defense grade in that span.
- Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe managed 18 snaps in his first action of the regular season, but didn't stand out much either way in that time. He went even in run defense, while in coverage he allowed two catches for eight yards, getting a stop on one of those plays.
- Drew Brees extended his NFL-record touchdown pass streak at home to 58 consecutive games after connecting with Brandin Cooks.
- The Saints offense went 9-of-15 (60 percent) on 3rd Down conversions, and dominated the time of possession 36:12-23:48. Oh by the way, they balance was there for the team. They finished with 35 runs and 35 passes.
- Payton’s squad had 2 penalties for 10 yards on the day, and rushed for 123 yards as a team.
- Michael Thomas caught all six targets for 63 yards, and nine different Saints receivers caught passes from Brees. Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham’s return to face against his former squad saw just three receptions for 34 yards on five targets.