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NFL Game Recaps: Week 9





Saints 28, Panthers 10

  • This was an extremely ugly game early on. Both teams made horrible mistakes, and there weren't any points scored until there were three minutes remaining in the second quarter. It was extremely frustrating to watch. Boring too, as the Panthers' owner showed us when he took a nice nap:



    The Saints ultimately got their act together and played better for a stretch, while the Panthers continued to screw up. Carolina, in fact, mimicked the errors that New Orleans was guilty of early. The Saints began by driving down the field and having a deflected pass in the red zone pop into the hands of a Panther player. Drew Brees lost a fumble at midfield on the next drive. The Panthers duplicated those give-aways; Cam Newton had a pick off a deflection and then was guilty of a more-costly fumble, as his turnover occurred inside his own 5-yard line, leading to the first score of the game. The Saints never looked back, maintaining that advantage for the rest of the evening.

  • Brees finished 24-of-34 for 297 yards, two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) and the aforementioned interception and lost fumble. He had some issues with pass protection - right tackle Zach Strief was knocked out of the game - but otherwise played extremely well for the second week in a row. There were some concerns with Brees a few weeks ago, but he has quelled those.

  • Jimmy Graham doesn't have any problems anymore either. Looking very healthy, Graham reeled in all seven targets thrown his way for 83 yards and Brees' sole aerial touchdown. Meanwhile, both Brandin Cooks (3-38) and Marques Colston (3-36) disappointed their fantasy owners.

  • It's really helping Brees that the Saints have been able to run the ball so effectively the past two weeks. Granted, they've battled two soft ground defenses (Packers, Panthers), but Mark Ingram looks great. He gained an even 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. Ingram became just the first New Orleans running back to put together consecutive 100-yard rushing performances since Deuce McAllister in 2006.

  • It also has to be mentioned that New Orleans' defense did a great job in this contest. After limiting the Packers in the red zone last week - even before Aaron Rodgers' injury - the Saints put the clamps on the Panthers just four days later, limiting their offense to just 4.2 yards per play, which is an excellent figure. Cornerback Keenan Lewis, who shut down Jordy Nelson last year, practically erased Kelvin Benjamin.

    New Orleans had a top-10 defense last year, and if it can even come close to that range, it'll be a definite Super Bowl contender. The Saints have three consecutive home games coming up, so they could easily be 7-4 before their next road game, which is on Nov. 30.

  • The Panthers, meanwhile, looked like a bottom-10 football team. They were very mistake-prone; they couldn't pass protect whatsoever; and their quarterback was making mental mistakes all evening. Cam Newton did a good job of running around and picking up chunks of rushing yardage - 43 yards and a touchdown on the ground - but he struggled immensely as a passer.

    Newton's aerial numbers were ugly - 10-of-28, 151 yards, interception - and they were very indicative of how poorly he played. He took four sacks, which is a high number for a player with his mobility, and when he had time in the pocket, he displayed poor mechanics, throwing off his back foot and passing high as a consequence. He nearly heaved a pick into triple coverage, and he missed Benjamin in the end zone.

  • I mentioned earlier that Lewis stymied Benjamin. The rookie wideout was targeted a whopping 10 times, but caught just two passes for 18 yards. Lewis knocked away some of the passes thrown to him, but Benjamin dropped a touchdown in the second half.

  • Carolina's leading receiver was actually Jerricho Cotchery (2-59), who did most of his damage on one play, a 47-yarder. Cotchery was the only Panther with more than 30 receiving yards. Greg Olsen (3-30) was a disappointment.

  • DeAngelo Williams returned to the field for the first time in a month. Both he and Jonathan Stewart received eight carries each, with Stewart outgaining Williams, 46-20.





    Bengals XX, Jaguars XX




  • Browns XX, Buccaneers XX




  • Cowboys XX, Cardinals XX









  • Eagles XX, Texans XX




  • Chiefs xx, Jets XX




  • Chargers XX, Dolphins XX







  • Vikings XX, Redskins XX




  • 49ers XX, Rams XX






  • Broncos XX, Patriots XX




  • Seahawks XX, Raiders XX







  • Ravens XX, Steelers XX




  • Giants XX, Colts XX




  • For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.



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    2007: NFL Draft: Day 1 Review Blog - April 28
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