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.
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.
Teddy Bridgewater with a nice touchdownpic.twitter.com/jkeUII2SC3— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 30, 2018
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?
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.
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:
When the Saints D saw Rankins go down on the first drive, they checked out like, "Naw, I'm good. Let's just stay healthy." Any possible motivation to go 100% was gone.— Christopher Dunnells (@dunnellz) December 30, 2018
And speaking of Rankins...
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.