The New Orleans Saints dismantled another opponent on national television. This time they victimized the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, taking them apart in a game that was over well before the 4th quarter, and putting Philadelphia's playoff hopes in serious jeopardy. The Saints outgained the Eagles, 321-109 in total yardage in the first half while taking a 24-7 lead into the break. Touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half put an exclamation point on this one, as New Orleans piled up 546 yards of total offense, while holding Philadelphia to only 196. Several Saints players had terrific games in this pummeling of Philadelphia, but here are a few of the biggest performances.
Smith, a rookie 3rd round pick from Central Florida, has looked more comfortable in the New Orleans offense since a breakout performance against Washington last month. Smith exploded for 10 receptions, 157 yards and a touchdown in the best performance of his short career. He made several spectacular catches, showing sharp route running skills and precise ability to adjust for the ball against coverage. Smith has the skillset to be a dangerous weapon for this offense down the stretch, and with the emergence of Keith Kirkwood and the newly signed Brandon Marshall may make this the most well-rounded New Orleans offense ever.
In his 200th game as Saints quarterback, Brees was as great as ever. He torched the beat up Eagle secondary for 360 yards and 4 touchdowns in just a tad over three quarters of action. He now has 25 touchdown passes, against just one interception for the season. Brees fired a scoring strike through coverage to Austin Carr for the Saints first touchdown, then two perfectly placed touchdown passes to Tre'quan Smith and Michael Thomas later that demoralized the Eagles defense. The fact that Brees has gotten passed up for league M.V.P. is unfathomable, but with ongoing performances like he's had this year, he may leave voters little choice but to award him a long overdue honor.
ALVIN KAMARA/MARK INGRAM
Much to the horror of the rest of the NFL, the most dynamic tandem of running backs in the league are back in full force. The two Pro Bowl backs combined for 174 rushing yards, 201 yards from scrimmage, and 3 touchdowns. Mark Ingram would get the ball rolling on the first drive with a 38-yd. burst to set up a field goal, then later bounced a run outside for a second quarter touchdown, one of two on the day. He finished with 103 rushing yards on just 16 carries, his second straight 100+ yard performance, and is creeping closer to overtaking Deuce McAllister as the Saints all-time rushing leader.
Alvin Kamara had 71 rushing yards of his own, and added a 37-yd. touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter on a spectacularly run pattern past former Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins. It was the only time either back was targeted in the passing game all afternoon, but showed the explosive versatility that either back possesses, making them feared by defensive coordinators.
Lattimore's first quarter interception on the Eagles' second drive helped set up a touchdown drive to give them a 17-0 lead and put momentum squarely on the Saints side. Lattimore, who had four tackles to go along with his interception, led the way in a shutdown performance by the entire New Orleans secondary. Dangerous Philadelphia receivers Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, and Golden Tate were held to a combined 11 catches for just 96 yards, and Nelson Agholor was shut out. Lattimore, along with Eli Apple and P.J. Williams, are beginning to round into a solid trio of corners capable of containing a talented receiving corps.
Jordan had only one tackle for the game, and none of his team's three sacks on Carson Wentz in another strong outing from the Saints front seven. Jordan however did cave in the right side of the Philadelphia line all afternoon, and hurried Wentz on several occasions. He nailed wideout Golden Tate in the Eagles backfield for a big loss that halted a drive, and continues to be a major reason for the Saints defensive success.
Brees was once again not sacked in another outstanding performance by the Saints offensive line. Michael Thomas caught 4 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first New Orleans receiver to go over 1,000 yards receiving in his first three seasons. Alex Anzalone and Demario Davis led another powerful effort by the Saints linebackers, while Sheldon Rankins and Alex Okafor disrupted the Eagles backfield all evening. This was another dominant all-around team effort by New Orleans, who now set their sites on a Thanksgiving feast of Dirty Bird next. Let Falcons Hate Week begin!
Who had the best performance in the Saints pounding of Philadelphia?
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