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2 Ups and 2 Downs from yesterday’s win over the Panthers

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

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

Whew. My heart can’t take many more games like that.

It was a roller coast of a game, with plenty of “Ups” and “Downs” along the way, though. Here are a few that stood out:

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

Up: Michael Thomas

Another ho-hum day for Michael Thomas. 10 catches on 11 targets for 100 yards and a touchdown.

Michael Thomas is without question the MVP of the 2019 New Orleans Saints, and should absolutely be in the discussion for MVP of the 2019 NFL. He’s done his thing week in and week out with two different quarterbacks. He’s setting career records for most receptions and receiving yards in the first four years of his career, and is on pace to break the NFL’s single-season receptions record.

We’ve seen what this team looks like without Drew Brees. We’ve seen what they look like without Alvin Kamara. We don’t want to know what they would look like without Michael Thomas.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Down: Offensive Line

The offensive line was already without Andrus Peat, so they couldn’t afford another injury, especially to Terron Armstead on the left side. And what happened? Armstead suffered a high ankle sprain early in the game and is considered week-to-week.

The Saints were then without both of their starters on the left side of the offensive line for the second half, and the penalties - which were already mounting - continued to climb. Holdings, false starts, and other drive-killers hurt the Saints late in the game, and the absence of Armstead forced the Saints to abandon what was a solid running game with Latavius Murray.

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

Up: Jared Cook

Wil Lutz, Demario Davis, and even Marcus Davenport are all deserving of an “Up” this week, but I’m going to give the second “Up” to Jared Cook.

Cook finished the game with 99 yards and a touchdown, his best game as a member of the New Orleans Saints. Cook caught a touchdown in back-to-back games for the second time this year, totaling four touchdowns, all within the past five games.

Cook now is second on the team in receiving yards and is starting to show exactly why the Saints made it a priority to bring him into the fold this past offseason.

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

Down: Officiating

This might have been one of the worst officiated games I’ve seen in a while.

Forget the questionable hands-to-the-face penalties. Forget the missed call on the botched punt that forced Sean Payton to burn his last time. Even forget the pass interference call on Jared Cook that Payton challenged earlier in the game.

If you want to know why the officiating in this game was terrible, look no further than the pass interference reversal at the two-minute warning.

Technically, I have no problem with the reversal in a vacuum. The problem is that that is not how the league has been implementing the review system all year. Go back and watch the replace of the DeAndre Hopkins no-call that was upheld as no pass interference and them tell me how they could overturn the call on the Saints.

I’ll wait. I’m honestly looking for an answer.