What’s good, Who Dats!? It’s Tee Word, and I’m back with the New Orleans Saints Player of the Week for Weeks 15-17! That’s right, I am playing catch-up and I did not want to miss an opportunity to highlight the players who closed out the season with strong performances. In addition, I’ll be following up tomorrow with a playoff edition highlighting not one, but 3 players (one for each phase). But for now, let’s catch up!
Journey with me through time back to week 15, when there was a high level of uncertainty in Who Dat Nation. Our beloved Saints were not looking like the team that stormed through the heart of the season. No, this team looked different, at least on offense anyway. Heading into Carolina in a critical divisional game. On a night when Drew Brees and the offense could not get going, the defense held the Carolina Panthers to a single score on a trick play. Later, after Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore took an inside hand-off through the heart of the Saints defense, Vonn Bell chased him down and punched the football out. Former Panther linebacker A.J. Klein would recover the loose ball. Bell set himself apart from his teammates by making another key play in the fourth quarter. Bell came up with a sack to set the Panthers back on a late drive to force a punt. Give the 3rd year safety credit for making two important plays down the stretch.
Our visit to week 16 finds our beloved Saints with their second consecutive division title secured and looking to wrap-up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. On the day, wide receiver Michael Thomas went shot for shot with Steelers receiving duo Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, finishing the day with 11 catches, 109 yards and a touchdown catch. The safety net that Thomas provides to Brees has helped him to extend drives and push #cantguardmike into the upper echelon of WRs in the NFL. It should also be noted that Tedd Ginn Jr. made a key catch on a third and long late in the ball game. Though lacking a true number 2 receiver in the game, Thomas was plenty for the Steelers to handle and continued his ‘No record is safe’ tour.
Umm...I think the Saints were scheduled to play in week 17, but no one showed up...except running back Dwayne Washington and Michael Thomas. Behind a patchwork offensive line and less than hearty effort from his teammates, Washington made the most of his moment and rushed for 108 yards on 11 carries. Averaging 9.8 yard per carry on the day, Washington flashed speed and some power, sometimes creating his own space to gain yardage. Having a player with his ability waiting in the wings is very comforting and I am excited to see where his career goes. In a meaningless game, it was refreshing to see a player take advantage of a chance to see extended action. Imagine his success running behind the starting offensive line.
As everyone knows, the Saints wrapped up the regular season at 13-3, the number 1 seed in the NFC and heading into a bye week to prepare for their divisional opponent. Making one last stop in our time travel machine, tomorrow I will reveal my offensive, defensive, and special teams players of the week for the Saints divisional playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
As always, Thanks for reading, Be Cool Who Dats!