NO-IND Grades: Saints run wild against Colts

The top takeaways and the highest graded players from the Saints’ 27-21 win over the Colts.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NO-IND Grades: Saints run wild against Colts

Here are the top takeaways and the highest graded players from the Saints’ 27-21 win over the Colts.

New Orleans Saints

– It wasn’t a memorable performance from Drew Brees (+1.8) by any means, but there were two throws down the stretch that were vintage Brees. The first one came with 8:54 in the fourth quarter facing a 3rd-and-8. Brees was throwing out of his own end zone and dropped a dime on a go route to Brandin Cooks. The second throw was the one that sealed the victory. Just before the two minute warning on a 3rd and 4, Brees saw Marques Colston’s outside leverage on Darius Butler who was in great position. The Saints quarterback put it in a spot where no cornerback could have defended it, and after three kneel downs, the game was won.

– Get ready to pencil in left tackle Terron Armstead (+6.8) on some Pro Bowl ballots this year. The third-year tackle is playing at a level that few others in the game today are even capable. On Sunday he was ferocious as a run blocker, mauling Colts defenders with multiple pancakes. My favorite block came with 14:47 left in the 2nd quarter when he hooked outside linebacker Erik Walden and when he knew that block was in hand moved on to Colt Anderson and planted him in the turf.

– How can you not talk about cornerback Delvin Breaux (0.0) after what he went through Sunday? Everyone remembers the two huge touchdown passes, and it was reflected in his grading just how big those blemishes were. But the assignments he drew on each, playing man coverage against one of the best receivers in the league for 3.5+ seconds on each, were extremely difficult. Projecting forward, I’d be happier about the eight other targets than those two mishaps. On those eight targets he allowed two catches for 17 yards.

Top performers:

DE Cameron Jordan (+10.2)
LT Terron Armstead (+6.8)
C Max Unger (+4.8)
LG Tim Lelito (+4.4)
CB Kyle Wilson (+3.1) 

Indianapolis Colts

– What is going on with Andrew Luck (-2.5)? It’s now the fifth game this season that Luck has earned a negative passing grade. Much of the 19 pressured dropbacks Luck saw came from him holding the ball too long. His 2.92 second average time to attempt was the highest in the NFL yesterday. Luck made bad decisions downfield, tried to force the ball into tight windows and plain missed throws. He’d always been able to offset mistakes with beautiful throws in the past, but those seem to be getting fewer and far between.

– The rookie duo from Stanford that has anchored the Colts front all season completely disappeared on Sunday. Nose tackle David Parry (-6.6) and defensive end Henry Anderson (-2.2) simply could not stand up to double teams and were liabilities in the run game. Parry’s performance was especially concerning as there is no quicker way to wreck a run defense than to have the nose tackle three yards downfield.

– If there was any silver lining for the Colts, it was the play of inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (+3.9). The inside linebacker struggled so much against the run a year ago that one wonders if he was healthy, but that turned around Sunday and his six stops paced the Colts. He was routinely fighting through a sea of defenders getting moved for the most part and if it wasn’t for his work their run defense would have been a complete disaster. Freeman was the only front seven player with a positive run defense grade.

Top Performers:

ILB Jerrell Freeman (+3.9)
RT Joe Reitz (+2.9)
WR T.Y. Hilton (+1.5)
C Jonotthan Harrison (+1.2)
CB Vontae Davis (+1.2)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Nick Cortez

    +10? GEEZ. I was at the game and saw him beating the colts pretty handily, but I didn’t think his grade would come back that high. Does this put him at the top of defensive players for overall score in the NFL for the year?

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  • crashby89

    For real though what is wrong with Andrew Luck? He just looks hesitant which is never good, and also not what is usually seen from Luck. I have to wonder if the front office turmoil is affecting not only Luck but the players as a whole. I was at the game and the body language was just terrible as was the energy from the players, Pat McAfee aside.

  • Backinmd

    It seems that Luck looks hesitant and pressing on too many plays ..Like he’s thinking too much before he throws the ball.. I could see this if Luck was a sophomore and “hit” the sophomore wall ..He was so good his 1st two years .. Turmoil in the front office ? .. If they let anybody go it should be their GM, Grigson, not head coach Chuck Pagano ..All ya have to do is look at the Colt’s draft choices the past few years.. Seems like it all started when the Colts traded for Trent Richardson and the draft, free agents signed after that .When your team is losing you always get the dissension in the locker room and the finger pointing that goes with it …

    • Jim Winslow

      Yeah he struggles when a lot of players are dropped back into coverage

  • Kirk Vollmer

    It could easily be the front office turmoil. Chuck Pagano essentially entered this year knowing (and the players knew) that unless he does something amazing that this will be his last year in Indianapolis.

    A similar thing happened with Jim Harbaugh . . . his team was winning and dominate for years. He goes into the season and there are rumblings of letting him go because his GM and owner don’t like him and his team limps to 8 – 8.

    I can’t put my finger on what it is, but I’m certain that knowing that your coaching staff is on it’s way out after this year (especially if you start the year off knowing that) hurts a team quite a bit.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Lots of speculation on your part but from a player’s perspective all the rumor talk shouldn’t matter. As a professional athlete your paid well to perform to the best of your abilities no matter who is coaching. By doing otherwise you only cheat the fans, your team mates and yourself.

      • Malachi


  • Joe Willie

    The Colts are doing to Luck what the Pats did to Jim Plunkett 40 yrs ago–Luck needs to find a new team

    • crosseyedlemon

      Even if Luck found a new team it’s unlikely he could find someone like Al Davis who had the magic touch with castoffs, rejects and misfits.

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    After years of enduring the completely nonsensical “Good Andy/Bad Andy” narrative, when will “Andrew Suck” be born?

  • This dude

    I love Luck (Saints fan here) but his situation is starting to sound like Alex Smith as a 49er. Every year there was some sort of reason why he didn’t play well. For Smith it was lack of weapons, new OC, no defense, Oline and so. They need to fix it quick.

  • Jim Winslow

    Fun fact of the day terron armstead ran a 4.7 40 at the combine and weighs over 300 pounds

    • Justin Blalock

      Sounds to me like that man needs to be in a zone-heavy scheme, then. To really maximize his capability.

      • Jim Winslow

        true, but having that speed suggest that his legs are quite powerful.

    • crosseyedlemon

      They probably clocked him while he was sprinting to the dinner table.