What’s good, Who Dats!? It’s Tee Word, and I’m back with the New Orleans Saints Player of the Week for the 2018 NFC Divisional Round! Getting back into the swing of things, we find our boys in Black & Gold heading to the NFC Championship game after a stressful win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome. Despite a rocky start, the Saints pulled off a 20-14 victory to advance to their biggest game of the season. New Orleans put together a team effort so it is necessary that I acknowledge a player from each unit.
Starting things off, the most impressive Saint from Sunday was wide receiver Michael Thomas. Though Drew Brees was Classic Brees, throwing for 301 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one interception, he wasn’t the standout on offense in my humble opinion. The spotlight belonged to Thomas who caught 12 passes for 171 yards and 1 TD. Most impressive was Thomas’ ability to find soft spots in the Eagles defense, make the routine catches, then turn around and go over the middle to make the tough catches. The value of #cantguardmike at this phase of Brees’ career cannot be under-valued. The hands down best wide receiver of the the Payton-Brees era has come up big in big games and continues to treat national audiences to a clinic on pass catching. He’s my offensive POTW.
The defense did their thing as a unit and after a very shaky start, the unit kept the Eagles out of prime real estate for almost 45 minutes of football. Trailing 14-0, the Saints defense dug in its heels and found the formula to stop the Eagles offense cold. Last year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, Marshon Lattimore, awoke from his slumber and made a momentum-shifting interception of quarterback Nick Foles. His pick was just the spark the team needed and the Saints would get their first score of the game. Late in the 4th quarter, with the game still hanging in the balance, Lattimore came up big and was Johnny-on-the-spot. Driving into Saints territory, Foles targeted wide receiver Alshon Jeffery who let the pass slip through his mitts, into the awaiting paws of Lattimore. But Lattimore wasn’t just good for forcing two turnovers, he also provided quality coverage on Jeffery to render him less effective in the 2nd half. Nice day at the office for #shonrp!
In such an important team win, we have to acknowledge the special teams. Just to slide this in, the combo of Taysom Hill and Justin Hardee on kick coverage has been a huge bright spot for the Saints. But here, Taysom gets some more shine. Similar to the important division game in Tampa bay about a month ago, Hill was in on a momentum swinging play. After Lattimore’s INT gave the Saints fresh legs, the offense still remained sluggish and lined up to punt. However, in true Sean Payton fashioned, he rolled the dice and went with the fake punt on 4th and short. Hill converted the play and the Saints got on the board for the first time, en route to 20 unanswered points.
Having taken care of business, the Saints have more work ahead of them. Hosting the NFC Championship Game for the second time, the Saints will look to stop the Los Angeles Rams from avenging a previous loss to the Saints in the Dome earlier this season. Both teams will have the services of players who missed the high-scoring affair, including Ted Ginn Jr. and Aqub Talib. This should be an amazing game!
As always, Thanks for reading, Be Cool Who Dats!