Welcome back to another entry in the Top Performances of 2019 series. Going into this list, I wanted to give a shoutout to players whose big performances might not appear on the traditional stat sheet. Those that didn’t get the recognition they deserved (and then my first piece was about Teddy Bridgewater but just go with it).
That being said, there’s no way this list was going to happen without at least one of Michael Thomas’s ten 100-yard games.
It was hard to narrow down to just one of the ten games, so the easiest is Thomas’s dominant performance against the Tennessee Titans. This is also the game in which he added his 144th catch of the season, breaking Marvin Harrison’s 17-year long single-season NFL receptions record. Thomas finished the game with 12 catches on 17 targets for 136 yards and one touchdown in the Saints’ eventually unsuccessful Week 16 bid to get a first-round bye. So, let’s take a look at Thomas’s top plays from the game.
2:24 Q1, 2nd and 15: 19-yard reception
The Titans deserve this for putting a linebacker on Michael Thomas. With the Saints down 14-0 late in the 1st quarter, Thomas gets on the wrong side of Javon Brown and Brees laces a pass right to the Saints’ eventual record-setter to get across midfield on a drive that led to the Saints’ first points on the game.
11:47 Q2, 2nd and 10: 15-yard reception
Thomas cuts so hard on this out route that 4th-year corner LeShaun Sims can barely stay on his feet. Brees finds Thomas on the sideline for another first down on Thomas’s fourth catch of the game.
10:25 Q3, 3rd and 14: 26-yard reception
Slant Gawd™ Michael Thomas catches a 26-yard, downfield back-shoulder slant route against Kevin Byard. Michael Thomas only runs slants, I guess we all just have to accept it.
3:14 Q4, 2nd and 9: Thomas sets the record with a 13-yard not-a-touchdown
First of all, I don’t care what any of you say. This is a touchdown. I don’t care that the replay was overturned, I don’t care that it’s not in the gamebook as a touchdown and I certainly don’t care that his knee was definitely down before the ball was over the goal line. Thomas worked for this touchdown. The reception itself was fairly unspectacular, just a simple whip-out route that Thomas caught at the line of scrimmage after turning his cover man into a pretzel before fighting his way down to the 1-yard line.
Thomas did catch the inevitable touchdown two plays later to put the Saints up 38-28, the final score of the contest.
Check back in next week for the next installment in the 2019 Top Performances series.
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