Marques Colston had another rough game filled with drops, along with a shoulder injury. Image by Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If football games lasted only one quarter, the New Orleans Saints would have been set. Unfortunately, that was not the case and their hot start ended up being just a minor bump in the road as the Philadelphia Eagles cruised to a blowout victory. Both teams entered with a 1-3 record and looking at this game as pretty much a must win game, but it was the Eagles that improved to 2-3, while the Saints fell to a lowly 1-4. New Orleans held the lead for a little while before giving up a late field goal that put Philadelphia up 10-7 at half time. The second half was all Eagles, though, as they outscored the Saints 29-10 to finish off what turned out to be a pretty easy victory, winning 39-17.


The game got off to a slow start for both teams, who failed to do much on their first drives. The Eagles turned the ball over on downs after starting with great field position following the opening kickoff, but the Saints also could not capitalize on great field position and punted the ball right back. Sam Bradford and his offense put together a solid drive to get down to the New Orleans 12 yard line, but he was picked off by Brandon Browner in the end zone, giving the Saints their first interception of the season and the ball at the 20 yard line.

Drew Brees and his offense took advantage of the takeaway, marching 80 yards in 8 plays, capped off with 6 yard touchdown pass from Brees to Ben Watson to take the early 7-0 lead. Philadelphia again had no trouble marching right back down the field, quickly threatening to answer Watson’s touchdown, but Bradford made his second mistake of the day as he was once again picked off in the end zone to end the drive. This time it was Delvin Breaux, who made a fantastic diving catch in front of his receiver to not only prevent a touchdown, but also come up with his first NFL interception.

This is where the offensive struggles for New Orleans began as they quickly went three and out, punting the ball right back to Philadelphia and failing to take advantage of the second of back to back takeaways. It only took the Eagles four plays to go 81 yards and finally get in to the end zone, as Bradford hit Josh Huff, who was sprung open by two Saints defenders colliding in to each other, as he went untouched for a 41 yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 7-7.

Neither team could get anything going on the following four drives, but the Saints had a chance with 1:28 on the clock to try and get down field and get some last second points before halftime. On the second play of the drive, Brees was sacked by Fletcher Cox, who also knocked the ball out of the quarterback’s hand, allowing for an Eagles recovery at the Saints 31 yard line. The New Orleans defense held strong and kept Philadelphia out of the end zone, forcing a 39 yard field goal with just second left in the first half, giving the Eagles the 10-7 halftime lead.

The Saints opened the second half with an impressive drive, but stalled at the Eagles 3 yard line and had to settle for a short 21 yard Zach Hocker field goal to tie things up at 10-10. From that point on, it was all Philadelphia. The Eagles took the ensuing drive 80 yards in 9 plays, as Ryan Mathews powered his way in to the end zone for a 2 yard touchdown run, giving his team the lead for good.

On New Orleans’ first play following the touchdown, Brees was again sacked and stripped by Cox, giving the ball to Philadelphia at the 13 yard line. It only took one play for Bradford to capitalize, as he found a wide open Brent Celek for the touchdown. Caleb Sturgis missed the extra point, so the score stayed 23-10. The Eagles scored 13 points in less than 20 seconds during that sequence, which simply opened the flood gates from there on out.

The Saints could only gain one first down on each of their next two drives, with both ending up in punts. The Eagles cashed in with a couple of field goals off of those punts, extending their lead to 29-10 thanks to 29 and 26 yard field goals from Sturgis.

With just under 10 minutes left in the game, New Orleans seemed to have a bit of a pulse as Brees hit Willie Snead for a 59 yard completion to quickly get the ball down to the Philadelphia 12 yard line. Unfortunately, Michael Hoomanawanui fumbled after making a short reception on the next play, effectively ending any hopes of a comeback. Sturgis and the Eagles converted their third field goal of the second half, this one from 41 yards out, as Philadelphia went up 32-10.

Things just continued to get ugly from there, as Brees was picked off by Walter Thurmond III on the second play of the ensuing drive, as Thurmond was stopped just short of returning the interception for a touchdown at the Saints 4 yard line. One play later, DeMarco Murray walked in to the end zone as the Eagles continued to pour it on the Saints, making the score 39-10.

New Orleans took over with 3:42 left in the game and went 80 yards in 14 plays, as Brees hit Brandin Cooks for a 14 yard touchdown as time expired. Hocker’s extra point was the final play of the game, as he booted it through to end the game with the Eagles on top by the score of 39-17.


  • Although the defense struggled badly, the offense didn’t do them many favors. They struggled to move the ball and hold time of possession, which put the defense on to the field more and more and they got worn down before the end of the third quarter.
  • Sean Payton called quite a few plays for Drew Brees to throw deep. Before the final two drives of last week’s game, Brees’ passes averaged 3.4 yards of air time, meaning everything was short throws. Though we don’t have the numbers from Pro Football Focus on yesterday’s game just yet, it will most certainly be at least doubled.
  • Where is C.J. Spiller? He seemed to see most of his snaps in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand. There were multiple third and longs in the first half where I noticed that Mark Ingram was on the field, which still confuses me. Ingram has been fantastic as a pass catcher this year, but Spiller needs more opportunities. I thought for sure that he earned that right after what he did last week, but for some reason, Payton can not seem to fit him in to the game plan.
  • Marques Colston continued to struggle, even prior to his injury. Hopefully he is not hurt too badly, because this team is already thin at receiver, but the guy just can not seem to hold on to the ball. He dropped a huge third down conversion before getting hurt, which led to a punt and the Eagles first touchdown. I am not sure what Brandon Coleman did to get that deep in Payton’s doghouse, but it has become evident that Colston just can’t perform the way he used to anymore.
  • Willie Snead is without a doubt Brees’ go to guy. He hit him on multiple third and long conversions and seems to constantly be looking his way when they need a big play.
  • With a few key linemen banged up, this won’t come as any surprise, but the pass protection was even worse. Brees was sacked five times, three of which were by Fletcher Cox alone. He was under duress for a good bit of the game and I’m honestly surprised he didn’t get re-injured.
  • The entire defense looked confused quite a number of times. Not knowing where to lineup and not knowing who to cover resulted in multiple big plays for the Eagles. On Josh Huff’s long touchdown, Keenan Lewis was spinning in circles trying to figure out where to go when he ran in to Huff’s defender, springing him free for the touchdown. On Brent Celek’s touchdown to go up 23-10, two defenders ignored Celek and tried to cover the same man in the flat. Players must be held accountable to a certain point, but that type of stuff all starts with coaching. If that many players do not know what they are supposed to be done, Rob Ryan is doing something wrong.
  • The front four pass rush did not come close to putting pressure on Sam Bradford. Ryan chose to stick with it for majority of the day and Bradford had all day to throw, making the Saints pay.
  • Following up my previous point, I am still confused at the lack of blitzing. I discussed it in the preview, but heading in to yesterday’s game, Bradford had only converted one first down when being blitzed. Naturally, you would think that a defensive coordinator would see that and send an extra man or two in passing situations, but….NOPE. Ryan continued to drop seven or eight men in to coverage on passing downs and Bradford ate them up. Even if he did not want to blitz right from the start of the game and see what the front four could do, a good coach can recognize when something is not working and make an adjustment, but Ryan did not do that. It is pretty clear that he is just not cutting it as the Saints defensive coordinator and it would not shock me if he is gone before the season ends, barring a miraculous turnaround.
  • Delvin Breaux has teased everyone with just how good he can be in the first few games with being in great position and getting his hands on the football a few times. Yesterday, he proved it even more with his interception. Making a diving interception in front of his receiver, Breaux showed even after just five NFL games, he is extremely talented.

Game Stats


  • Drew Brees – 26-43 / 335 yards / 2 TDs / 1 INT / 60.5% completions / 90.7 QB rating / 2 fumbles lost / 5 times sacked
  • Mark Ingram – 12 carries / 57 yards / 4.8 yards per carry / 2 receptions / 17 yards
  • Khiry Robinson – 5 carries / 30 yards / 6.0 yards per carry
  • C.J. Spiller – 3 carries / 10 yards / 3 receptions / -8 receiving yards
  • Willie Snead – 6 receptions / 141 yards
  • Brandin Cooks – 5 receptions / 107 yards / 1 TD
  • Ben Watson – 3 receptions / 36 yards / 1 TD
  • Marques Colston – 3 receptions / 36 yards
  • Kenny Vaccaro – 11 tackles / 1 tackle for loss
  • Stephone Anthony – 9 tackles / 1 tackle for loss
  • Brandon Browner –7 tackles / 1 INT / 1 pass defended
  • Delvin Breaux – 5 tackles / 1 tackle for loss / 1 INT / 1 pass defended
  • Zach Hocker – 1/1 FG (21)


  • Sam Bradford – 32-45 / 333 yards / 2 TDs / 2 INTs / 71.1% completions / 88.5 QB rating / 0 times sacked
  • DeMarco Murray – 20 carries / 83 yards / 1 TD / 4.2 yards per carry / 7 receptions / 37 yards
  • Ryan Mathews – 8 carries / 73 yards / 1 TD / 9.1 yards per carry / 3 receptions / 23 yards
  • Josh Huff – 4 receptions / 78 yards / 1 TD
  • Zach Ertz – 5 receptions / 60 yards
  • Brent Celek – 3 receptions / 44 yards / 1 TD
  • Jordan Matthews – 5 receptions / 44 yards
  • Fletcher Cox –  6 tackles / 1 tackle for loss / 3 sacks / 2 forced fumbles / 1 fumble recovery
  • Malcolm Jenkins – 6 tackles / 2 tackles for loss
  • Bennie Logan – 5 tackles / 3 tackles for loss / 1 sack
  • Walter Thurmond III – 4 tackles / 1 INT / 2 passes defended
  • Caleb Sturgis – 4/4 FGs (39, 29, 26, 41)

Team Stats

  • Total yards: Saints-388, Eagles-519
  • Pass yards: Saints-292, Eagles-333
  • Rush yards: Saints-96, Eagles-186
  • 1st downs: Saints-19, Eagles-34
  • 3rd down conversions: Saints-8/16 (50%), Eagles-4-11 (36%)
  • Red zone TD conversions: Saints-2/4, Eagles-3/7
  • Turnovers: Saints-4, Eagles-2
  • Points off turnovers: Saints-7, Eagles-20
  • Penalties: Saints-7/78, Eagles-4/35
  • Possession: Saints-25:58, Eagles-34:02

Week 6

The now 1-4 Saints will return to New Orleans to welcome the 5-0 Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football. The Falcons beat the Washington Redskins in overtime 25-19 yesterday and will come to the Superdome as one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Atlanta swept the series with New Orleans last season, so for the first time in the Sean Payton era, they have a chance to get on a decent winning streak. For the Saints, it would take an improbable run from here on out to salvage any playoff hopes, so getting a win over a divisional opponent would certainly be necessary. I’ll have more coverage of that matchup within the next few days as we prepare for the short week. Grading the Saints and Sinners will be up tomorrow.