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Saints Film Study: Michael Thomas’ routes on point against Seahawks

Michael Thomas and Drew Brees are playing together like they’ve been teammates for years, and it shows.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is certainly not playing like a rookie. With every game that passes, we keep seeing Thomas’ maturation elevate. In the past three games, the Ohio State product has caught 21-of-24 targets for 271 yards and a score. It gets even better for Thomas, who is consistently turning heads across the league, as he’s on pace for a franchise best season as a rookie receiver.

For starters, Marques Colston had 115 targets as a rookie in 2006. Thomas has 55 through the team’s first seven games, and is on pace to finish with 127 this season. As for receptions, Colston totaled 70 in his rookie season, and Thomas already has 42. If he continues the pace, he’ll wind up with nearly 100 receptions (96). Lastly, Colston had 1,038 yards receiving in his 14 games played. Thomas is at 500 yards thus far, and would finish out with 1,071 at his current trend.

“I know this, though; the guy loves to work, he loves to compete, he loves the game of football and he wants to be a great player,” Drew Brees told the media following the team’s win on Sunday. The two have praised each other consistently for months, and it’s clear that the chemistry continues to grow.

Here’s how Thomas bullied the Seattle Seahawks secondary en route to his 6-catch, 63-yard performance. Note: All video is courtesy of the NFL.

Catch One (7 yards) - Thomas is lined up one-on-one with Richard Sherman. This is a comeback route, and Drew Brees knew immediately where he wanted to go with it.

Catch Two (12 yards) - This is almost identical to the first play against Richard Sherman. It’s another comeback route. Watch how quickly Brees goes through his progression here.

Catch Three (9 yards) - The slant play to Thomas works well here, and because of his quick feet and awareness, it extends things for a bigger gain. Thomas’ move made Seahawks defenders collide, allowing the Saints offense to pick up a first down.

Catch Four (17 yards) - Thomas comes in motion and works the middle of the field. Originally, Sherman is on him, but he takes Cooks. What you might not have seen is Tim Hightower doing just enough to pick up the blitz to let Brees find Thomas for a big gain.

Catch Five (16 yards) - Thomas has a similar quick comeback route that was successful against Sherman, but this time it’s against DeShawn Shead. Thomas thens puts a stiff arm on Shead to go for a big gain.

Catch Six (2 yards) - It didn’t go for much, but Thomas made Shead miss on the first tackle. Thomas made a good adjustment on his route.