It was another week and another loss for the New Orleans Saints, as they dropped a heartbreaker to the New York Giants 16-13. The team hasn’t won a game in September in nearly two years, as their last victory came on September 21, 2014 when they beat the Minnesota Vikings at home 20-9.
Here are five winners and five losers from Week 2’s loss.
Craig Robertson - For a second straight week, Robertson played exceptional in place of Dannell Ellerbe. With his opportunity, Robertson led the Saints defense with 13 total tackles, which included two tackles for loss. He played in all 79 snaps for Dennis Allen’s defense, and continues to be a great free agency find for the Saints.
Vonn Bell - The rookie benefitted from some 3-safety sets on the day, and ended up playing in 58 percent (46 total) of the team’s defensive snaps. Bell had nine total tackles on the day, including one tackle for loss. Bell was hovering around the line of scrimmage, and made several good stops on the day.
Kenny Vaccaro - Through two games, Kenny Vaccaro is clearly playing at a high level for the Saints defense. The exact term I used on Sunday was that he was ‘balling out’. There was a brief scare when he had left the field during the third quarter due to an ankle injury, but he confirmed that he was okay during post game action. He also had nine total tackles (one for loss) and a forced fumble.
Willie Snead - It was another consistent performance out of Willie Snead, who is quickly reminding us all of Lance Moore. Snead, who also overcame an injury, finished with five receptions of eight targets for 54 yards and a score. An honorable mention could go to Brandin Cooks (7 receptions for 68 yards), but Snead is growing up quickly for Drew Brees.
Thomas Morstead - Essentially, the punter has one job on most clubs and doesn’t command respect. That’s not the case for Thomas Morstead. The average starting field position for the Giants offense on Morstead’s seven punts was their 20-yard line. Morstead finished averaging 54.7 yards per punt with a 44.9 net average. He pinned the Giants inside the 20 three times.
Coby Fleener - If the first two games are any indication of what $36 million buys you for the next five years, then consider it a poor investment. Fleener was targeted eight times by Drew Brees, but only managed to come away with two receptions for 29 yards.
Stephone Anthony - Last year’s first-round pick just saw four defensive and seven special teams snaps on the day. Some of that wasn’t directly his fault, as Dennis Allen’s 3-safety sets defaulted to Craig Robertson and James Laurinaitis as the go-to-guys. It’s a bit disappointing that Anthony didn’t see the field much, but you can’t be displeased with how the defense played without him.
Ken Crawley - Unfortunately, it was another Crawley coverage that essentially ‘gave the game away’ when it mattered most. I thought Crawley played a good game, and he even had a good attitude afterwards by not being discouraged. He even graded out as one of the best Saints defenders on Pro Football Focus, but all anyone will recall is the pass to Victor Cruz.
Andrus Peat - Once again, a field goal ended up being a difference in a Saints win versus a Saints loss. Wil Lutz’s blocked attempt that led to a 10-point momentum swing was due to a breakdown in line coverage from Andrus Peat and Terron Armstead. The sad part is that Peat didn’t block anyone on later attempt that Lutz was able to make. Peat is certainly not winning many over these days.
Whoever called the plays - The Saints just went 3-for-13 (23 percent) on third down conversions on Sunday. They had a horrible time picking up blitzes that came their way, and it showed. Whether it was Sean Payton or Pete Carmichael, the Saints offense didn’t crack 150 yards of total offense until late in the third quarter.