ReFo: Eagles @ Saints, Week 9
New Orleans – Three Performances of Note
But for his sloppy ball security that wasted a goal-to-go drive, Drew Brees was almost faultless on “Monday Night Football.” Whether the Eagles chose to blitz and get pressure or sat back and played coverage, they couldn’t come close to disrupting his rhythm. Brees fired off first down after first down, focusing principally on the short and intermediate passes, not even needing to stretch and exploit the Eagles’ vulnerable deep coverage.
As always, Brees spread the ball around to both receivers and coverage defenders. The Eagles’ inadequacy finding a defender capable of staying with Jimmy Graham was the one area Brees did pick upon consistently. Both David Sims and Mychal Kendricks were found wanting in their coverage of Graham and more than one third of Brees’ 25 targeted passes went to his athletic tight end. Brees has had some letdown games this season, but his performances in the last month have seen him rounding into form just in time for the visit of the undefeated Falcons.
Marking a career night
Entering this game Cameron Jordan had little to shout about as a pass rusher. Jordan had only graded above +1.0 as a pass rusher once in his career and recorded multiple pressures in only three of his seven games so far this season. After the Saints’ victory, he is now the youngest player to record three sacks in a game, perfectly timing a quality performance for the biggest possible audience.
To this point in the season Jordan has been more renowned as a run defender than a pass protector. And while he contributed another three run stops, extending his league lead to 20 among 4-3 defensive ends, it was his pass rushing that did all the talking. He got started early with a hit on the Eagles’ opening drive before completely derailing that drive with a sack that lost 22 yards a few plays later. He didn’t suffer much of a lull at any point, recording pressure in all four quarters. It was his sack that all but derailed the Eagles’ final drive, sending them back to the Saints’ 22-yard line for a third-and-goal play.
Jordan doesn’t get to face tackles like Demetress Bell every week, who was playing out of his comfort zone on an unfamiliar side of the line. Can Jordan maintain this sort of play against an established right tackle like Tyson Clabo next week? Or was this pass rushing performance merely a flash in the pan?
The Saints’ running game has long been the underappreciated part of their offense, which is hardly a surprise next to the high-flying passing game led by Drew Brees. But once again the Saints’ ground game was able to shine in spite of their limited exposure. The Saints’ three running backs combined for a running grade of +2.7 on their 25 carries with none of them needing a dozen or more carries to warm up. In spite of how reps are split in games, and consequently must be in practice, these running backs do not struggle with a lack of chemistry with their offensive line. They each run with confidence and composure that they know exactly when and where their offensive line will open the running lanes and how to exploit them to maximum effect.
This week it was Chris Ivory who walked away with the glory of the rushing touchdown but all three topped 4.5 yards per carry and Mark Ingram (earning his first start of the season) recorded a season-high four missed tackles. Most teams would be pleased to have one runner of this caliber. That the Saints have three speaks volumes for an offense that would still be very competitive if it were to morph dramatically into a run-heavy offense.
- The Saints continue to tip their play calling with Chris Ivory on the field. Ivory was on the field for 15 snaps and ran 10 times. Last season he ran the ball on 101 of 156 snaps.
- Of his nine pass plays in this game Jonathan Vilma blitzed on four of them, recording one QB hurry.
- The six missed tackles forced by LeSean McCoy were his most since the Eagles’ Week 2 victory over the Ravens. He still fell short of his first 20-carry game since Week 4.
PFF Game Ball
He will wish he could play against him every week but Cameron Jordan will just have to settle for the career day going against Demetress Bell in this game. Can Jordan sustain this form moving forward?
Re: ReFo: Eagles @ Saints, Week 9
We should all be happy with a victory. Even though it was against a poor team, it's a win! I am just hopefull that this can provide some confidence for the game against the dirty birds.
Re: ReFo: Eagles @ Saints, Week 9
It was progress if nothing else. I'll take it!
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