Two big reasons you shouldn't count out the Saints just yet
The Saints became the latest team to heap misery on the season of the Indianapolis Colts this year, sending them to their fourth defeat of the year in a game in which two Saints players reinforced their excellent seasons to date.
Quarterback Drew Brees being back in the offense undoubtedly helps the Saints, but their offensive line dominated the Colts in the trenches this week, with Terron Armstead at left tackle having a practically flawless game. Armstead didn’t allow a single pressure of any kind in 51 pass-blocking snaps, and if anything was even better as a run blocker, crushing Colts defenders both on the line and at the second level.
Armstead has yet to allow a sack all season long, and has surrendered a total of just seven pressures in five games without being penalized once. He now sits third in the PFF tackle rankings, trailing only Joe Thomas and Tyron Smith, two of the blue-chip names at the position.
A third-round pick in 2013, Armstead saw game time towards the end of that season, and played in both of the Saints playoff games that year, grading well in the process. Last season saw a strong run-blocking performance while his pass protection was hit or miss, but this year he has taken a big step forward and has been one of the best players in the league at his position over the first stretch of the season.
Armstead and the rest of the Saints line were able to control their side of the line, but the Saints also won on the other side of the ball, with edge rusher Cameron Jordan in particular completely dominating. Jordan was a one-man wrecking crew, beasting his way through the entire Colts line in a performance that saw him line up line up in five different positions along the Saints defensive front and notch nine total pressures (two sacks, two hits and five hurries) as well as a pair of batted passes.
This was the highest-graded performance of the week for defensive linemen and puts Jordan out on his own atop the PFF rankings for edge defenders, some way clear of the chasing pack. To be clear, Jordan is grading better than players like Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Justin Houston and the rest of the marquee sack-artists.
Two players can’t make a team contenders, and if the Saints want to make anything of this season they need a lot of help elsewhere on the team, especially with neither Carolina nor Atlanta looking like dropping a run of games anytime soon, but we did see against the Colts that New Orleans has two of the league’s best-performing players of 2015.
Armstead and Jordan are playing lights out for the Saints, and were a huge reason for the victory in Indianapolis.