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2 ups and 2 downs from yesterday’s loss against the Panthers

Two “Ups” and two “Downs” from the game.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL regular season didn’t end well for the Saints, but it was still a great overall season. Still, the game yesterday against the Carolina Panthers was a bit of a roller coast with a few ups and downs along the way, so let’s go over a few that stood out.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Up: Teddy Bridgewater

Filling in for the sitting Drew Brees, Teddy didn’t have a great game, but it was still great to see Teddy get his first NFL start since 2015. Under constant pressure from Julius Peppers and the rest of the Panthers defensive line, Teddy’s start was highlighted by a third quarter TD pass, a dart to Tre’Quan Smith.

Behind an offensive line missing four of its five starters, it’s no surprise to see Teddy miss some of his throws. If anything, the Saints are seeing Teddy in practice every day, but the rest of the NFL only saw his play on Sunday. Maybe this keeps his price down on the free agent market this offseason?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Up: Michael Thomas

It took longer than the Saints would have hoped, but Michael Thomas was finally able to break the New Orleans Saints single-season franchise record for receiving yards. It was well-known the Saints would target Michael Thomas early and often, and the Carolina Panthers did everything they could to stop it, but it was inevitable.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Down: Defense

Preface: the New Orleans Saints have every right to treat this game like a preseason game as its outcome was completely irrelevant for postseason seeding. Still, you don’t want to see a team playing most of its defensive starters get absolutely man-handled by the Carolina Panthers playing without Cam Newton. There will be plenty to correct in the next two weeks. But to be fair:

And speaking of Rankins...

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Down: Injuries

You hope it’s nothing serious, but the Saints saw Sheldon Rankins, Alex Okafor, Andrus Peat, and Marshon Lattimore all leave the game at various points due to injury. That is on top of players like Jermon Bushrod, Terron Armstead, Max Unger, and Ryan Ramczyk who are already battling injuries, and Alvin Kamara who has seen more snaps in 2018 than he has in any season of football in his career - college or pro.

This bye week couldn’t be more important than it is right now for the team.