Originally written on The Saints Nation  |  Last updated 11/18/12
Just like that, the Saints are back to .500. After starting the season 0-4, it's hard to believe the Saints are now 5-5 and right in the thick of the wild card race, but a convincing win in Oakland did just that. The Raiders look like a lost team in complete disarray, sure, but the way the Saints were able to come in and thrash them is a very encouraging sign. The defense played well, getting good pressure and creating turnovers, and while they were still gashed for yards I'm starting to buy into the idea that they are getting better. The Saints are peaking, my friends, and that should be a very scary sign for all NFL teams. They are closer to a complete team in all phases now and that makes them incredibly dangerous to anyone. Below are my bullets on the game. The red zone defense may be Steve Spagnuolo's saving grace this season. Another outstanding effort, which featured an interception in the end zone by Roman Harper. Yes, you read that correctly. Malcolm Jenkins showed terrific anticipation and ballhawking skills, yes you also read that correctly, so jump in front of a Carson Palmer pass and take it to the house for a pick six. Those are the kind of big plays the Saints' defense has been missing all season. Nickel back Elbert Mack played very well, so well in fact it surprised me that he hasn't really seen the field over Patrick Robinson and Corey White yet this season. Hopefully he's ok because I definitely want to see him back out there over some other guys. In fact, as soon as he left the game he was replaced by Johnny Patrick who proceeded to get repeatedly torched. Patrick Robinson had an up and down game, decent overall, but the first touchdown pass by Palmer was a major mistake where the Saints had the Raiders competely bottled up and P-Rob just stopped paying attention. Very poor on that play. After a massive 2nd half kickoff return by Travaris Cadet, the Saints went to dump truck mode. Ingram would run a beautiful touchdown run on the very next play. The Saints ran the ball pretty well over all. When Sproles comes back, presumably next week, what are the Saints going to do with these five backs? They're all SO good. I usually tend to agree that there's no such thing as having "too many good backs", but the Saints might have that problem. Garrett Hartley nailed a 47 yarder, which was important for his confidence, but it wasn't a pretty make. Marcel Reese had 193 yards from scrimmage. Not a typo. But the Saints held the Raiders to 17 points so I won't ream them too hard for that. Roman Harper had a couple mistakes, but this was his best game of the season. He played aggressive and was all over the field. The Saints' tackling was poor, in fact that's the one thing I wish Harper had done better. Vilma in particular tackled quite poorly. The Saints' pressure seems to be coming back. They finished with 3 sacks and were consistently in Palmer's face. Charles Brown went down with an injury and was replaced at right tackle by undrafted rookie Bryce Harris. Harris was largely a disaster, but the Saints did a good job of covering for him. We've got to hope that either Brown is ok, or that Zach Strief can get back in a hurry. Not good. Akiem Hicks is an absolute beast on the interior. I get a little more excited every day about his potential. Lance Moore had only 2 catches, but he made them count. He got behind the Raiders twice and came up with big time scores.  The Saints now come back home to face the team that eliminated them last year, the San Francisco 49ers, for a shot at 6-5. Bring it on!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Redskins ownership won't let coaches bail on RG3

D'Angelo Russell: 'There's a lot of spoiled Lakers fans'

Terry Collins didn't challenge double out of fear of HR

Has Tim Lincecum thrown his last pitch for the Giants?

Report: Three NFL head coaches were interested in Michigan job

Odell Beckham Jr. is not intimidated of Darrelle Revis

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chargers say Seahawks DE took cheap shot at Philip Rivers

Rex Ryan jabs Jets for passing on Martavis Bryant?

Jay Gruden backing down from support of RG3 as starter

Ukwuachu rape victim hires firm that prosecuted Winston

Leo Santa Cruz tops Abner Mares in slugfest

WATCH: Beckham makes great grab over Revis

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

D'Angelo Russell zings Lakers fans

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker