The Saints win streak had to end eventually. In what was another roller-coaster of a game with plenty of ups and downs along the way, here are a couple that stood out.
Down: Kenny Vaccaro
Don’t get me wrong: it was nice to have Kenny Vaccaro return this week against the Rams after missing last week’s game versus the Redskins. I’m not sure if it was rust or just poor play/decision-making, but Vaccaro didn’t have a strong game against the Rams’ Wide Receivers.
Asked to line up in the slot, Vaccaro struggled in man coverage, both on quick slants and on long routes down the sidelines. At one point, Vaccaro seemingly lost the ball in the sun as it was thrown to his receiver, but instead of just playing his receiver, he pulled up on the route, allowing an easy completion.
Down: Drew Brees
For as great as Drew Brees looked in the final two drives against Washington last week, he looked equally as poor this week. Drew simply looked off against the Rams. He held onto the ball too long, resulting in sacks. He under-threw passes instead of leading his receiver along the route. He missed open receivers down the field. He threw ill-advised passes into double coverage. He’s fortunate he didn’t finish the game with multiple interceptions as Rams defenders simply dropped passes that hit their hands. If the Saints want to make a run in the postseason, they’ll need Drew to clean up his play.
Up: Alvin Kamara
In a day where the offense as a whole struggled, Alvin Kamara still got his. He scored both of the Saints touchdowns (one on the ground and one on the air), finishing as both the Saints leading rusher (87 yards and 1 TD) and leading receiver (101 yards and 1 TD).
Dalvin Cook of the Vikings went down for the season with a torn ACL. Kareem Hunt of the Chiefs has all but disappeared after Week 3. Leonard Fournette of the Jaguars has missed multiple games due to injury and disciplinary reasons. Can we just go ahead and give the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award to Kamara now?
Down: De’Vante Harris
Here’s the simplest way to say this: De’Vante Harris does not belong in a starting secondary. He might be more than capable as a contributor on special teams, but he has no business guarding opposing Wide Receivers.
When Sterling Moore came into the game, he immediately starting making plays. When the Saints lost CB Delvin Breaux before the season started, they decided to give De’Vante Harris more playing time. Once Harris was removed from rotational play, the Saints winning streak took off. It’s no coincidence that Harris being forced into the starting lineup after the injuries to Crawley and Marshon Lattimore led to the winning streak coming to an end.