Overall Team Grades
My Player of the Game
Despite the win, this game was only a decent performance for the New Orleans Saints. This team started the game in disarray when they failed to give RBs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray any rushing room. Furthermore, Drew Brees' inaccuracy issues crept up in the first half, especially the farther he went down the field. Fortunately for Brees and this offense, the RBs and wideouts were stellar. Still, Brees' passing woes coupled with subpar run blocking is an issue for the Saints O.
On the defensive side of the ball, this team was led by DE Cameron Jordan. During this game, Jordan made his impact clear in the run and pass defense games. As a result, Justin Herbert spent much of the day running away from Jordan and the rest of the Saints' front seven. However, the Saints must address their poor pass coverage play.
Alvin Kamara (41)
Despite excellent run defense from the Chargers, Kamara was a versatile threat. He was able to fight for every inch on the ground and pick up 74 receiving yards.
Andrus Peat (75)
Peat was a beast in the run game.
Cameron Jordan (94)
Cameron Jordan was outstanding in this game and was the MVP. Throughout this game, Jordan had eight total pressures, 7 tackles, and six run stops. Jordan along with the rest of the Saints front seven bullied the Chargers' OL and brought LA back into the game.
Cesar Ruiz (51)
failed as a run/pass protector
Chauncey Gardner (22)
Demario Davis (56)
Demario Davis had a field day as a pass rusher with three QB hits. He was also able to finish the game with 7.5 tackles but got burned in coverage badly.
Drew Brees (9)
While Brees came through in the second half, his first-half accuracy was incredibly troubling. More specifically, Brees was completely inaccurate when asked to throw down the field or beat tight coverage. Nevertheless, he came back in the second half and ended the game with some nice intermediate passes to Emmanuel Sanders.
Jared Cook (87)
The savvy veteran beat Chargers LB Kenneth Murray for a 41-yard TD.
Latavius Murray (28)
Murray was able to squeeze past defenders and pick up yardage on the ground. His efficiency kept New Orleans in the game early in the first half.
Malcom Brown (90)
Brown was a solid run defender this game with four run-stops
Marcus Davenport (92)
Marcus Williams (43)
Throughout most of the game, Williams had sufficient coverage. However, his one blunder in coverage let Mike Wiliams haul in a deep bomb for 64 yards.
Marshon Lattimore (23)
The only reason why Lattimore's grade is this high is due to his game-saving tackle. Throughout this game, the Chargers offense had their way targeting Marshon Lattimore. In fact, Jalen Guyton, Mike Williams, and Keenan Allen all had opportunities to torch Lattimore this whole game. While he could stay step for step with most of his competition, he lacked the ball skills to prevent big plays this whole game.
Michael Thomas (13)
Patrick Robinson (21)
Patrick Robinson was a good tackler but a liability in coverage.
Ryan Ramczyk (71)
great run blocking but gave up numerous pressures
Sheldon Rankins (98)
Sheldon Rankins was a relentless pass rusher who was repeatedly in the backfield. As a result, he was able to harass Justin Herbert multiple times. However, he needs to work on finishing the sack because he had some missed opportunities.
Shy Tuttle (99)
Excelled in limited play.
Taysom Hill (7)
Taysom Hill's one errant pass is enough proof that he is still far from a pocket passer. Still, he is an effective rusher who barreled through the Chargers defense for a TD. Similar to Jalen Hurts, Hill is a nice gadget player to energize the offense.
Terron Armstead (72)
porous run and pass blocking
Thomas Morstead (6)
Morstead had a busy night in which he kicked four punts inside the 20.
Tre'Quan Smith (10)
Smith struggled to get open the entire game.
Trey Hendrickson (91)
Aside from two missed tackles, Hendrickson was a phenomenal pass rusher who finished with six pressures and two sacks.
Will Lutz (3)
Perfect day for Will Lutz who went 3/3 from XP and FGs.
Advanced Team Grades
Passing Offense (Overall)
Game Notes on Offense
Overall, the Saints offense is a well-disciplined team that executed their assignments well against the Chargers. This discipline is best illustrated by the Saints' route running, where the WRs knew when exactly to break on their routes to anticipate a catch. TE, Jared Cook, was also able to shake rookie LB Kenneth Murray for a deep TD as well.
However, New Orleans' OL got neutralized, especially during the first half of this game. As a result, the Chargers' front seven made life difficult for Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. As a result, the Saints will need to address their run, blocking more in practice. Fortunately, Kamara and Murray have enough elusiveness to dodge defenders in the backfield.
While Brees came through in the second half, his first-half accuracy was incredibly troubling. More specifically, Brees was completely inaccurate when asked to throw down the field or beat tight coverage. Nevertheless, he returned in the second half and ended the game with some nice intermediate passes to Emmanuel Sanders.
Speaking of Sanders, he was a reliable wideout who consistently got open throughout the game. In fact, Sanders' ability to get separation helped Brees bounce back from his passing slump. Similarly, Jared Cook, Alvin Kamara, and Marquez Callaway were also great safety valves who got open early for Brees. Considering that this unit was without Michael Thomas, Brees will have lots of weapons to utilize once Thomas returns.
Last Sunday, the Saints running backs were spectacular. Despite excellent run defense from the Chargers, Kamara was a versatile threat. He was able to fight for every inch on the ground and pick up 74 receiving yards. Likewise, Murray squeezed past defenders to pick up yardage on the ground. His efficiency kept New Orleans in the game early in the first half.
However, the Achilles heel for this offense is the offensive line. More specifically, this unit struggled profusely at run blocking against a Chargers defense. Considering that the Chargers were without Melvin Ingram, the Saints should have been way better at giving their RBs rushing room.
Controlling the Line of Scrimmage
Game Notes on Defense
This teams front seven was the strength of their defense. Led by Cameron Jordan, the Saints defense successfully harassed Justin Herbert and the rest of the Chargers backfield last Monday. Consequently, the Saints were able to manhandle the Chargers' offensive line and hinder the Chargers run production. However, this team needs to improve at coverage because they made multiple bad decisions that led to big plays and Chargers TDs.
First and foremost, the New Orleans Saints have a front seven stacked with talent. Pass rushers Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis, and Trey Hendrickson had a successful day getting into the backfield last week. Likewise, DL Sheldon Rankins and Malcolm Brown complemented each other as a pass rusher and run stopper, respectively.
The Saints secondary is a different story. While this secondary has some nice players like Malcolm Jenkins, the Saints' defensive backs could not contain the Chargers weapons. Even their star cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, got torched by multiple Saints receivers. Given that the Saints division is stocked with receiving talent, this unit needs to improve drastically.
Play of the Game
Marshon Lattimore game-saving tackle against Chargers WR Mike Williams to end the game.
Comments on Coaching
Sean Payton called a really phenomenal game last Monday. Throughout the game, balanced his play-calling kept the Saints in the game despite a poor performance in the first half. Additionally, Payton was able to make some quality half time adjustments to keep the offense afloat. For instance, he found ways to get his star RB Alvin Kamara opportunities in the receiving game. As a result, he was able to calm down Drew Brees while still moving the chains successfully.
Payton also energized his team with the presence of Taysom Hill. While Hill is far from an accurate passer, his mobility and physicality make him a tremendous wild cat option. As a result, he created a big play for a score in the red zone to boost his team. This type of creativity is what makes Payton truly special in big moments.