ReFo: Packers @ Saints, Week 8
Some home cooking had the desired effect for the New Orleans Saints as they continued their win one-lose one streak with a convincing victory over the Green Bay Packers. Keeping pace with the Panthers in the loss column the Saints will have the chance to jump into first place on Thursday night if they can collect their first road win in the regular season in nearly a year.
The Packers meanwhile slip a game behind the Lions in the NFC North after they failed to stay with the Saints when they pressed the gas pedal in the second half. After matching New Orleans score for score in the first half Green Bay traded turnovers for touchdowns in the second half with the game’s decisive scores coming from their giveaways.
Green Bay Packers – Performances of Note
Mike Daniels, DE: +2.9
Breakdown: In the first half it seemed like Daniels was almost playing on his own in run defense, coming up with the majority of the Packers’ stops against the run by himself. Saints’ left guard Ben Grubbs has been up and down in his run blocking this season and Daniels ensured this would another down week with another strong performance in run defense.
Signature Stat: Daniels tied a career high with five defensive stops and through eight weeks has 21, just two shy of his total from his breakout 2013 season.
Tramon Williams, CB: -2.3 & Davon House, CB: -1.8
Breakdown: Symptomatic of the Packers’ problems in run defense is the amount of work that their starting corners had to get through in run defense and the yards they surrendered as a result. Combining to miss five tackles, all of them in run defense, the Packers’ starting corners were simply outmatched physically and they struggled to bring Ingram down in space all night.
Signature Stat: The Packers’ starting secondary accounted for nine of their 13 missed tackles last night.
Eddie Lacy, RB: +2.9
Breakdown: Outshone as a runner in the battle of the Alabama backs, Lacy impressed instead as a receiver racking up 123 yards through the air to go with his 59 yards on the ground. A much needed safety valve with Rodgers unable to hook up with Jordy Nelson, Lacy racked up more receiving yards last night than he had in his previous 10 games combined.
Signature Stat: Unable to find running room to the right behind Lane Taylor, Lacy gained 43 of his 59 yards on six carries either side of Josh Sitton.
New Orleans Saints – Performances of Note
Drew Brees, QB: +5.1
Breakdown: In spite of the defeats Drew Brees has been earning higher grades on the road than at home this season, until last night. A stunning display of distribution and pinpoint accuracy was highlighted by his downfield passing (a staple of Brees and the Saints at their best) that saw him complete 6 of 8 for 180 yards and two scores.
Signature Play: Found Brandin Cooks with two sublime passes on deep posts at Q2 10:25 and Q3 5:43; the first Cooks dropped, the second he brought in for a 50 yard score.
Mark Ingram, RB: +3.5
Breakdown: Back at his power running best Ingram steamrolled the Green Bay run defense breaking ten tackles and racking up more than 100 yards after first contact, both career highs. Only twice has Ingram had a higher single game average for yards after contact and they came in games with three and seven carries respectively.
Signature Play: Ingram iced the Saints’ victory with his fourth rushing touchdown of the season with 3:24 left in the game; stiff arming Davon House to get to the left sideline and busting his way upfield to the pylon.
Cameron Jordan, DE: +3.1
Breakdown: A destructive pass rusher a year ago, Jordan has struggled in recent weeks but bounced back with a strong display last night. Working against Bryan Bulaga for much of the night in passing situations Jordan beat the former first rounder for much of the night. Jordan collected six of his seven pressures against Bulaga with a blend of speed to the outside and power straight through the Packers’ right tackle.
Signature Play: Set the Packers back on the opening play of the fourth quarter, fighting inside of Bulaga before lunging at Rodgers for the sack.
PFF Game Ball
Last night was a reminder that the best Saints’ offenses always had balance and more displays like this one from Mark Ingram will provide a balance that few defenses in the league can cope with.