After Further Review: Saints vs. Chargers tape breakdown - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

After Further Review: Saints vs. Chargers tape breakdown

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The Saints did what they do.

When the prime time lights came on, they stepped up. Their effort earned them their first win of the season.

At 1-4, they still have miles to go. But it's a whole lot better than being winless heading into the bye week.

Let's break it all down.

 

The Final 17:57

At the 2:57 mark of the third quarter things looked bad for the Saints. They were on their heels, deep in their own territory and trailed 24-14.

0-5 looked like a real possibility.

The series prior the boo-birds came calling when the Saints committed back-to-back false start penalties. Anxiety was an all-time high inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

On 2nd&10 Drew Brees badly overthrew a pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. But on the play Melvin Ingram burst through the Jermon Bushrod block to get to Brees but hit Brees with the top of his helmet. He was correctly flagged for a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. Instead of falling behind 31-14, the Saints kept the ball.

And they never looked back.

In the final 17:57, the Saints completely dominated. Brees connected on his first nine passes while the Saints outscored the Chargers, 17-0 and out-gained them 207-79 in total yards.

The Record-Breaker

The significance of Drew Brees passing Johnny Unitas consecutive games with a touchdown pass streak didn't truly hit me until I put it all in perspective.

For starters, it shows just how great of a quarterback Unitas was. He played in a totally different era where twenty passes a game was considered a lot. The game has evolved so much more in favor of quarterbacks since that time. And yet it still took 52 years to break it.

I thought of all the ALL-TIME GREATS, not just very good quarterbacks to come after him: Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Brett Favre Troy Aikman, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

That's just off the top of my head and none of them even came close.

As for play it was vintage Brees.

He read the pre-snap coverage and pressure. Took the snap, climbed the pocket, knew exactly when his receiver would pop wide open and fired a ball downfield to Devery Henderson with pinpoint accuracy.

Brees, as usual, made it look easy.

Breaking that record was anything but.

 

Other Observations

-         The Chargers were not afraid to blitz Brees. In fact, I'm not sure that Brees has blitzed that much all season. In all, San Diego blitzed 21 times. Brees was not perfect but he was effective. On those plays Brees was 12-21, 204 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, one sack and one fumble that was fortunately recovered by Mark Ingram.

-         Speaking of Ingram, I suggested last week the Saints play-action game may be most effective with Ingram in the game. On Sunday, the Saints ran three pass plays where they faked the handoff to Ingram. The first resulted in a minimal gain. The others resulted in a 40-yard connection to Marques Colston and a 44- yard completion to Devery Henderson. Although his final stats may not show it, teams clearly respect Ingram when he's in the game. And he gives the Saints one of the few opportunities to use play-action effectively.

-         Roman Harper played one of his best all-around games of his career Sunday. His interception was a game sealer. As soon as he picked the ball off, you just got the feeling the win was theirs. He also had two pass break-ups, one prevented a touchdown and the other prevented a first down. He also had a critical tackle-for-loss on Ryan Matthews right when the team desperately needed it in the third quarter down ten. He finished things off on the final drive of the game when he blitzed and forced Phillip Rivers to throw the ball away.

-         I wish I could say the same for Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins did not play well against San Diego. He had a chance to pick off the first touchdown pass to Robert Meachem but seemed to be a second late in getting there. On Meachem's second touchdown, it appeared Jenkins crashed up towards the line of scrimmage on the snap. This left Meachem one-on-one with Corey White with no inside or deep help. I can't imagine at that point in the game (under a minute left in 2nd quarter) the Saints would want to leave a rookie cornerback one-on-one with a deep ball threat. Meachem could've had a third touchdown on Jenkins early in the second quarter but Rivers badly underthrew him in the end zone. He was also beat by Malcolm Floyd for a 20-yard gain on the Chargers final drive of the game. Tough night for Jenkins. I'm not ruling his effort a complete bust because he forced the Harper interception when he tipped the ball up that landed in Harper's hands.

-         Way to step up, Greg Camarillo. With Lance Moore out, Camarillo stepped up big.  He finished with four catches for 44 yards. Of those catches, three went for first down with two coming on third down.

-         Now that's the Marques Colston I boldly predicted before training camp would make his first Pro Bowl! Colston put forth a Herculean effort Sunday night: nine catches, 131 yards and three touchdowns. Four of those catches came on third down.

-         Add another historical moment in Louisiana sports history for Devery Henderson. Henderson was on the other end of the Bluegrass Miracle, a member of LSU's 2003 BCS Championship team, scored a touchdown on the re-opening of the Dome vs. Atlanta back in 2006, caught a touchdown in the NFC Championship, earned a Super Bowl ring and now can say he caught the record-breaking pass from Brees. Henderson has truly lived every Louisiana kid's dream.

Up Next

This is one bye week the Saints will enjoy. Take a rest, get recharged and hopefully come back refreshed for Tampa Bay next Sunday.

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