Found September 17, 2012 on The Saints Nation:

Give the Saints' offense credit, they at least cleaned up the two major things the plagued them a week ago. Those are staying committed to the run, which Pete Carmichael Jr. did even when it would have been easy to abandon it given the way the game was going, and limiting penalties (the Saints had two penalties all game, only one of which was offensive). Unfortunately for the Saints, the offense still got inefficient play from their quarterback at least partly due to poor pass protection. The Saints were able to move the ball fairly well in this game, but cost the team with a couple major mistakes. Make the jump for the grades!

Saints vs Panthers recap

Saints vs Panthers boxscore

Drew Brees: C- (1.84) Brees is off to a bad start this season as he's really struggled so far. You can blame pass protection all you want, but if I were to pick one play by the offense that ultimately killed the team's chances, it was Brees' pick 6 with the team still up 7-0. That play was reminiscent of the Aaron Brooks era and the especially bad turnovers affectionately known as "brooksies". That mistake was shockingly out of character for Brees who took a big risk on a play that was going nowhere, just not smart. Brees also had an intentional grounding penalty, and he threw a pick to end the game by staring down Graham the whole way. He was also running for his life much of the game. He finished 31 of 49 for 325 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. He also scored a mostly meaningless touchdown late in the game  "rushing" with his trademark "qb sneak dive", leaping and stretching his hands over the goal line. He wasn't clutch and he wasn't helped by dropped passes either.

Pierre Thomas: A+ (3.50) PT Cruiser receives the first A+ of the season for what was a truly memorable performance. For this to go to waste in a loss is a true injustice. Thomas' ability to absorb initial contact and dismiss it, continually, is like nothing I've seen. Thomas runs with the purpose and power of some of the game's very best. Perhaps lack of reps and injury history (to an extent) are what will hold him back from truly being a a great. The first tackler was never able to bring him down, and even when the outcome of the game was all but given, he was still out there giving more effort than anyone else on the field. He finished with 9 carries for 110 yards and 33 yards on 4 catches. That's right, 143 yards on 13 touches. For a running back. Unreal.

Darren Sproles: A- (3.34) Sproles was basically a slot receiver in this game. He took a real beating in game getting pummeled numerous times around the middle of the field and he kept getting up and helping the Saints' passing game immensely. Without him Brees would have been completely lost because the Saints' receivers couldn't get open. He finished with 13 catches for 128 yards. He showed very secure hands, blocked fairly well to help anemic protection, and stopped on a dime to make defenders miss with devastating cuts. The only negative if when a guy gets a finger on him, he's going down. He can make guys miss, but he can't break tackles. He also had a 16 yard punt return, a 14 yard punt return and a 38 yard kick return.

Mark Ingram: B- (2.50) His stats may not look great at just 3.3 yards per carry, but he got 53 tough yards on 16 carries. He may not have looked like Pierre Thomas, but he got tough yards in short yardage situations, including a goal line touchdown run. He was stopped near the line of scrimmage a couple of times, but he ran with good toughness and broke a handful of tackles.

Jed Collins: B (2.34) He was used more in the first half than the second, when the Saints used David Thomas and single back running formations more often. His run blocking overall was good, though, and my favorite play was a nice 8 yard run by Pierre Thomas inside the Panthers' 20 where Collins grabbed PT and shoved him forward for a few extra yards.

Jimmy Graham: C+ (2.83) If you look at his stats, 7 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown, you'd think he performed really well. But I thought Graham was a disappointment in this one. He wasn't much of a threat vertically and most of his action came under 10 yards. He dropped a possible touchdown pass and was careless bringing in at least a couple other balls. The guy has mad skills, no doubt, but does not always do the best job of focusing. For too long in this game he disappeared when the Saints seemed to need him most.

David Thomas: C (1.84) Did fine blocking and was of almost no use in the passing game.

Marques Colston: C (1.50) He was not a big help at all to a passing game that needed him badly. He didn't get any separation all day and whatever is wrong with him it's clearly affecting his performance. He finished with an all too quiet 3 catches for 49 yards. He was a non factor in the red zone and just looks shy playing out there. Known for his physicality, I felt he was pushed around along the line of scrimmage.

Lance Moore: D+ (2.50) He finished with with just 2 catches for 30 yards and was a complete non factor. He dropped what will go down as one of the easiest touchdown catches he'll ever see and it would force the Saints to eventually settle for a field goal. After an impressive performance last week, this was a major drop off.

Joe Morgan: D+ (0.67) Brees is not even interested in looking his way, for the most part, and with good reason. For being "hands down the best deep threat on the team" (Jeff Duncan, everyone) he never got free from coverage. Despite extended run he only had three targets. One was a horrendous throw by Brees, where Morgan, to his credit, outstretched his arms in a weird body position behind him to make a circus 5 yard reception.  As nice as that was, he also dropped a pass down the seam which was a much easier catch and would have been a big gainer. His blocking was largely horrible and he's yet to show he belongs in the NFL. So that's cool, the Panthers caught more passes from Brees than the #3 receiver on the day.

Courtney Roby: B (3.67) Roby blocked well and showed good effort in little reps. He had one catch for 9 yards and showed good effort after the catch. He was also his usual self on special teams, always down the field first as a gunner and downing one punt inside the 5.

Jermon Bushrod: C (1.50) He was excellent in run blocking situations but struggled blocking off the edge. Granted he was better than when he faced Ryan Kerrigan a week ago, but he was responsible for Brees getting hit, hurried and rushed his fair share of times. A mixed bag from the Towson product that hasn't look anything like his Pro Bowl label.

Ben Grubbs: C+ (2.33) I don't know what it is about Grubbs, but his blocking assignment always seems to be the guy batting passes. With Brees' height (or lack thereof) it may be a need for him to get his hands up at a higher pad level on the guy he is blocking. Grubbs faced a lot of heat with interior pressure and had mixed results like Bushrod. He's been a pleasant surprise so far in the run game but so far it seems to be a significant drop from Carl Nicks. He does pulled nicely on screens.

Brian de la Puente: D+ (1.17) To me, through two games, he's been by far the biggest liability on the line. His pass protection in particular is responsible for allowing pressure to come up the middle. As much as he was a pleasant surprise a year ago, he's been a problem so far this season. Is it too late to bring Matt Tennant back, or is it time to start thinking about trying Eric Olsen? Back to back poor performances.

Jahri Evans: B- (2.34) He was the guy they ran behind, with success, when they needed that tough yard. He got decent push and he seemed to be the more reliable when Brees went back to pass. It wasn't a clinic by any means and he was responsible for pressure coming as well, but of the linemen he seemed the most solid.

Zach Strief: C- (2.00) A rough day for Strief in pass protection off the edge. On the big 4th down play the Saints went for, he was beat and was responsible for the ball being stripped from Brees. He was moving backwards for most of the game and wasn't able to really impose his physical stature.

 

My Offensive Player of the Game: Pierre Thomas

[follow]
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Drew Brees Tops 300 Yards in Tough Loss To Carolina

New Orleans QB Drew Brees surpassed 300 yards passing for the second week in a row but he also chucked a pair of interceptions as the Saints fell to the Panthers 35-27 on Sunday.Fantasy Spin:Brees has now thrown four picks in his last two games and carries a completion percentage of 54.5 for the season. Clearly Sean Payton's absence is having an effect on the 12-year veteran.

Vilma subpoenas former Saints coaches Williams, Cerullo

Jonathan Vilma continues to deny he offered a $10,000 reward to teammates to knock Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship game and claims signed affidavits from former Saints coaches are false and motive-driven. Suspended defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo were served subpoenas by Vilma's representatives last week, ESPN.com...

Saints preach staying the course despite 0-2 start

Saints interim head coach Aaron Kromer and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo say they'll resist making major changes despite an 0-2 start. The Saints entered the season defiant in the face of bounty sanctions that included a season-long suspension of coach Sean Payton. After the sluggish start, expectations remain high following three straight playoff appearances. Kromer...

NFL Replacement Refs: NFL Pulls Replacement Referee From New Orleans Game For Being A Saints Fan

The NFL has had to endure this entire mess with the replacement referees for much longer than they had hoped. They have been unable to reach an agreement with the referees who have been on strike to start the season, and negotiations seem to be going nowhere. But this latest incident is beyond laughable. The NFL pulled one of the replacement officials assigned to the New Orleans...

Saints WR Henderson, RB Ivory inactive at Carolina

Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson is inactive against division rival Carolina after suffering a concussion in last week's loss to Washington. Other Saints inactives include running back Chris Ivory, cornerback Johnny Patrick, running back Travaris Cadet, defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker, tackle Bryce Harris and defensive end Turk McBride. Wide receiver Steve Smith and running...

NFL boots line judge Brian Stropolo from Saints game after this Facebook pic surfaces of him in...Saints gear

If you're replacement NFL line judge Brian Stropolo, scheduled to work today's New Orleans Saints / Carolina Panthers game, better to remove Facebook photos of yourself wearing a Saints sweatshirt... Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com

Affidavit: Vilma offered Favre bounty

The NFL presented Jonathan Vilma and his attorney with a sworn statement from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams saying the linebacker placed a $10,000 bounty on Brett Favre. Vilma met with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday in New York about his suspension, which has been temporarily lifted. Attorney Peter Ginsberg said they were given an affidavit at the meeting...

Former Saints Coordinator Gregg Williams signs affidavit saying Jonathon Vilma offered money for hits

  Looks like the New Orleans Saints “bountygate” is going to come down to He-said-he-said. Monday afternoon Jonathon Vilma met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell where he was presented with a signed affidavit from former Saint defensive coordinator Gregg Williams stating that Vilma offered $10,000 to any teammate who knocked Brett Favre out of the [...]

Week 2 Fantasy Football Recap: New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints - 27, Carolina Panthers - 35While it looks like it’s time for Saints fans to panic, not so for the fantasy owners of Drew Brees (325 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs).  Even when he struggles, Brees is still a pretty good lock for 300+ yards and at least one TD as we saw in this game.  We’d still like to see the Saints throttle someone, so luckily Brees and company get...

Week 2 NFL Preview: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

Another weekend, another chance for me to praise a franchise I could care less about if they were to remove one single player. That’s right, TSHQ, as you should know by now my Cam Newton love knows zero bounds. Since the first time I saw him dominate at Auburn I became a fan. Guy just does it all. After Week 1′s embarassing loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton is going to...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.