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ReFo: Panthers @ Saints, Week 14

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints Ė Three Performances of Note Brilliant Brees It was rarely spectacular, but the ruthless efficiency of Drew Brees (+7.1) was ultimately what set the two teams apart. Afforded excellent protection (pressure on just 11-of-45 drop-backs) he did what his ...

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Old 12-10-2013, 07:35 AM   #1
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Saints Ė Three Performances of Note

Brilliant Brees

It was rarely spectacular, but the ruthless efficiency of Drew Brees (+7.1) was ultimately what set the two teams apart. Afforded excellent protection (pressure on just 11-of-45 drop-backs) he did what his counterpart couldnít, working quickly through his reads to find his open man and move the chains. All over the field he was incredibly accurate, going 12-of-17 on passes aimed over 10 yards in the air as he picked apart the Panthers when they were didnít blitz (8.8 yards per attempt when not blitzed compared to 5.2 in the 17 occasions he was). As mentioned it was less about the quality of the throws as opposed to sheer quantity of consistently well placed balls, but the highlight had to be the second touchdown pass to Marques Colston that saw him fit the ball in a perfect spot between three defenders while also protecting his receiver from the kind of hit that could have jarred the ball loose. As bad as last week was, the performance of Brees this week is why everyone has to take the Saints seriously.

Hunting in Pairs

While the 12 combined quarterback disruptions Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette got may have flattered them slightly, thereís no denying that these two weapons make this defense tick. Utilizing a hybrid front and not scared of dropping to a nickel package against base packages, both men are put in positions to take advantage of their skillset, whether it be the speed of Galette or the explosive power of Jordan. Each man was able to take advantage of Cam Newtonís desire to escape outside the pocket with sacks, but they also added positive plays in the run game that has been a big part of this defense transforming itself. A combined +7.1 grade for the two leaves them at +43.2 for the year.

Secondary Stands Up

At times the aggressive defensive scheme can leave the Saints secondary a little exposed, but this wasnít one of those occasions as throughout the group they delivered exactly as their coaches would have hoped. On the outside it starts with Keenan Lewis (+1.8) who was often tasked with shutting down Steve Smith, and though he surrendered a late touchdown it would take a foolish man to say he didnít win this encounter.

Perhaps more important against a Panthers team that is better at attacking you up the gut, was the play of the safeties. Itís been a rookie year where Kenny Vaccaro (+1.6) has flashed some serious playmaking while making the kind of mistakes you associate with a first year player. This however was one of his more complete displays and represents his fifth grade in the green in his last six outings, showing heís really turning a corner with his consistency. Again itís his work in coverage that really impresses, especially his closing speed on receivers that really limits yards after the catch. With just three missed tackles all year, thatís a big part of it.

Game Notes

- Drew Brees had a 147.6 QB rating when throwing to Marques Colston

- Despite attempting five passes over 20 yards in the air, the Panthers completed just one.

- The Panthers starting defensive ends picked up just three quarterback disruptions between them (as well as one flag for offensive holding).

Profootball Focus

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