ATL-NO Grades: Don’t write off Brees yet

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Saints 31-21 victory over the Falcons.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

ATL-NO Grades: Don’t write off Brees yet

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded performances from the New Orleans Saints 31-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta Falcons

– If you want an example of the flawed nature of “quarterback wins” as a statistic, turn on the tape and watch how Matt Ryan (+2.0) played as Atlanta beat Washington, and then watch how much better he was as they lost to the Saints. There was no fourth quarter magic, and the lack of a deep passing attack is becoming a concern, but Ryan was money for most of the game. On his 42 aimed passes, he was on target on 35 of them.

– While Falcons fans wait to see Vic Beasley break (+0.7) out, it was actually O’Brien Schofield (+2.8) who delivered more pressure in this one. His one hit and four hurries led the team, with his ability to really drive inside on stunts a constant source of problems for the Saints.

– Defeats are always hard to take, but Atlanta will probably take this one a little harder knowing that a series of fumbles and a blocked punt gave them too much work to do. You decide what was a bigger moment, as the team fumbled twice in the red zone with rookie Tevin Coleman (-1.7) and backup center James Stone (+2.1) responsible. Stone will be frustrated because he really showed up in the run game (+3.6), and was making a case that he could be more than a fill-in for Mike Person. But a fumble that takes away points? That makes it a hard sell now.

Top performances

DE O’Brien Schofield (+2.8)

C James Stone (+2.1)

QB Matt Ryan (+2.0)

TE Levine Toilolo (+1.9)

LT Jake Matthews (+1.9)


New Orleans

– It hasn’t been a good season so far for Drew Brees (+4.1), and you had to go all the way back to the first game of the 2013 season to when he graded above +1.0 against the Falcons. But just when you’re ready to write him off, he turns in a nearly flawless effort. Coping with the Falcons pass rush seamlessly (he was pressured on 13 dropbacks, but turned that into a 133.3 QB rating) he moved the chains over and over again.

– If Brees was the star of the offense, then Cameron Jordan (+4.1) was the star on defense. Slightly fortunate to get away with a horse collar late in the third quarter, there was no luck to his 11-quarterback disruption day (though it should be noted four of those came unblocked). His ability to push on tackles and blow past guards make him one of the most dangerous defensive players in the league.

– How about Delvin Breaux (+2.7)? After earning two negative grades in his first two games, he’s now put up four grades of at least +1.3, and is showing the kind of tight coverage skills that can allow the Saints’ to ignore the struggles of Brandon Browner (0.0). Breaux was thrown at six times, allowing just two completions while breaking up two more.

Top performances

DE Cameron Jordan +4.1

QB Drew Brees +4.1

TE Ben Watson +2.9

CB Delvin Breaux +2.7

RT Zach Strief +2.1



  • Dimitric Viverette

    How about Hau’oli Kikaha? I’ve been looking for his stats but they must be unreal for a rookie right now.

    • Malachi

      he’s a stud

      • Felton51

        The one thing he needs to learn is how to shed big OTs from engulfing him – I’m optimistic about this

  • Johnny

    I’m confused. Schofield was given a lower pass rush grade (51.6), for this game on your 0-100 scale, than Vic beasley (76.3). Yet you write that Schofield delivered more pressure.

  • Brandon Clement

    90% of the time your grades reflect what I see on the field. Occasionally there is a player that’s graded higher or lower than what I think but it’s typically within a scale of reason. When looking at Dannelle Ellerbe’s grade last night it made zero sense. The guy was a machine, all over the field. He was effective pass rushing, he had 14 tackles, 13 solo, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on only 53 snaps. I understand tackles can be quite misleading but considering the atrocious defensive tackle play in front of him I thought he was outstanding. I would love if you guys could elaborate.

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