This team really is unpredictable, a week after a horrendous loss against the Bengals we come out and beat a Superbowl contender and favourite. It really is remarkable how after being tipped to be the worst team in the league this year, we haven't had a losing record once this year. If you would have offered me 5-4 at the bye at the start of the season, I would have taken it all day long. Considering on paper the 2nd half of our schedule looks a lot more manageable. Although with this team, no game is a foregone conclusion.
So lets dive straight into the honourable mentions and there may well be a few of these. First of all I'm going to start with Nick Folk, another perfect day and he is the most locked in kicker in football at the minute. Last year I would fear any kick over 40 yards, this year I don't sweat it. In fact for one of his kicks, I popped to the fridge to get a drink as I was that confident it was going through, alas.....it did!
Sheldon Richardson definitely caught my eye again, he is having a very solid rookie season. As the commentators put it "The Saints are trying to get their run game going, running at #91 Sheldon Richardson probably isn't the best idea if they want success". He shows a great deal of athleticism on the outside to really close the lanes and ensure that anyone stretching it out to the sideline has to really get to the sideline to turn it into a gain.
This could take some time, so I'm just going to rattle off some players quickly, if you want more detailed explanations as to why, just ask in the comments. Atonio Allen made some plays, as did Dee Milliner and Cromartie. Not perfect games but worthy of a mention. Damon Harrison was steady and Harris had more speed and fluidity about his play. Salas did some nice things, Cribbs too. Sudfeld looked decent and made one noticeable big play on the TD drive.
Kyle Wilson looked good and Landry was making some nice plays across the field. Calvin Pace had a nice game and he was getting to the QB and applying a lot of pressure. Always good to see from the Vet. Geno Smith managed the game well, not asked to do too much with a depleted receiving core, but he made a nice cut on the TD and the important part, no turnovers.
So now it is time for the stars:
Third Star: Muhammad Wilkerson, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, 2 QB hits, 1 tackle
Do you know how people say that statistics can be deceiving, well here is an example right here. That's not a bad line, but one total tackle, you look at that in a nutshell and you don't think much of it. However look at it from a scheme angle and watch the tape and you will see #96 all over the offensive line. He was living in the backfield of the Saints and he was getting doubled on a lot of plays.
He had a sack, which is becoming a weekly habit (that's 8 on the year now). His tackle for a loss came at a good spot, he had two hits on Drew Brees and he was constantly in his face making it difficult. You know that Brees was looking for #96 pre-snap and ensuring his lineman knew exactly where he was. However with Mo, that simply doesn't help. He was using some swim moves, some spin moves and he was just a nightmare.
He really has developed this year and right now he is one of the premier DE's in the NFL, hands down. If he doesn't get the recognition he deserves this year, he probably never will.
Second Star: Quinton Coples, 2 tackles, 3 QB hits, 1 pass defensed, 1 tackle for a loss
Coples is really starting to come on at his new OLB position. We knew it was going to take some time, and the injuries he suffered earlier in the year didn't help but #98 was everywhere yesterday. I didn't keep track of his stats during the game, however when I checked the box score this morning, I thought he would have a lot more tackles.
It seemed as though he was in Drew Brees face all day, he was getting his hands in to disrupt the play. If it hadn't been for Brees ability to shovel pass with his left hand, Coples would have had one or even two sacks to his name. He made a massive stop on a 4th down play that he just blew up from the snap.
He even looked good running, I think I saw him drop into coverage once yesterday (sure he did it more, I just only saw the one) and he looked pretty fluid for a big guy. When we can generate the pressure we do from the three man line, having someone like Coples coming as a 4th man is a luxury that few teams will ever experience.
I really think he deserves a little recognition for his performance yesterday.
First Star: Chris Ivory, 18 rushes, 139 yards, 7.7 yards average, 1 TD
Let me first say that Chris Ivory was phenomenal, he really was. However the Saints are not a great run defense team, saying that...if he runs with as much conviction the rest of the season, he'll have plenty of 100+ rushing games to put to his name before the year is out.
This is the back that we all thought we were getting. He was powerful, he had some moves, he mowed through arm tackles and showed that extra gear. I was also really impressed with his vision and ability to cut back inside to pick up valuable yards.
He had some major runs, and none more important than the long one when we were backed up at our goal line. It was a great lead block by Bohanon and a great pull block by Winters but his explosion through the hole was fantastic and I loved seeing him streak away from linebackers. Vaccaro is an outstanding safety, and if it hadn't been for him, Chris would have taken it the distance.
Overall he was fantastic though and we can't have any complaints. With a Rookie QB, we are going to need him to have more and more games like this. I wouldn't count him out.
I seem to have run out of room on my table, so I'll be doing it in two now
|Week||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5||Week 6||Week 7||Week 8|
|First Star||Nick Folk||Demario Davis||Muhammad Wilkerson||Bilal Powell||Geno Smith||David Harris||Antonio Allen||Nick Folk|
|Second Star||Sheldon Richardon||Damon Harrison||Santonio Holmes||Demario Davis||Muhammad Wilkerson||Bilal Powell||Jeremy Kerley||David Nelson|
|Third Star||Geno Smith||Chris Ivory||Bilal Powell||Kellen Winslow||Sheldon Richardson||Jeff Cumberland||Chris Ivory||Muhammad Wilkerson|
|Honourable Star||Kellen Winslow||Darrin Walls||Demario Davis||Nick Folk||Nick Folk||Stephen Hill||Geno Smith||None|
|Other Honourable||Harrison, Wilkerson||Powell, Holmes||Hill, Smith||Landry, Bohanon||Cumberland, Harris||Goodson, Richardson||Harrison, Wilkerson||None
|First Star||Chris Ivory|
|Second Star||Quinton Coples|
|Third Star||Muhammad Wilkerson|
|Honorable Star||David Harris|
|Other Notable||Richardson, Landry, Allen|