Article Opinions

Saints and Sinners: Week 7 at Bears

Good morning, friends. We are meeting here today to talk about the fifth straight win for your New Orleans Saints. It was another dominant performance from the defense, while Teddy Bridgewater and the offense had the ground game rolling in a tough environment. We are still unsure whether or not this was Bridewater’s last game under center with Drew Brees nearing his return, but if it was, he deserves a tip of the cap and a gigantic thank you from anyone associated with the black and gold. The wins keep coming, so let’s jump right in to the good in bad that led to a 36-25 victory and the Saints improving to 6-1.

Saints

Teddy Bridgewater

5 and 0. Five and oh. Cinco y cero. No matter how you say it, the fact that Bridgewater stepped in for Drew Brees and won five straight games is up there for most impressive things we have seen in the Sean Payton era. Sunday’s performance was the cherry on top, as he led the Saints in to a hostile environment against one of the best defenses in the NFL and flat out dominated. Sure, it wasn’t Teddy’s best game when it came to accuracy or statistics, but he made plenty of plays that were crucial in moving the ball and, most importantly, he did not make mistakes. His completions to Michael Thomas down field prevented the Bears from being able to stack the box, which allowed Latavius Murray to have a big day. The thing I have been most impressed with through these five games has been the level of confidence within the team around Bridgewater. Not once did we ever see any signs of Saints players feeling sorry for themselves that they were missing their Hall-of-Fame quarterback. Even in the Week 2 game following Brees’ injury, the team fought tooth and nail all the way in to the fourth quarter until they just ran out of gas and got overwhelmed. While Sean Payton and the coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for the collective confidence, so does Teddy. What that tells me is that the team sees him as a true professional and his leadership and work ethic had been noticed since he arrived in New Orleans last preseason. That is the reason that I believe he will be someone’s starting quarterback next year. Hats off to you, Teddy. Not many backup QBs could do what you’ve done this year.

Latavius Murray

Speaking of stepping up in the absence of a star. What a game from Murray in his first game as the featured back in black and gold. With Alvin Kamara nursing ankle and knee injuries, it was Tay’s time to shine. He did just that, too. Murray finished with 119 yards on 27 carries, averaging 4.4 yards per carry and punching in two touchdowns. He has always been one of those running backs that gets stronger throughout the game with more carries and that was the case on Sunday. He flat out wore the Bears defense out. Kamara may return this week, but there is no doubt that Murray earned Sean Payton’s trust and will continue to see more work. His ability to catch passes out of the backfield makes the two interchangeable. Also, being able to keep Kamara fresh and not having to run up a large number of touches that could catch up to him later in the year is huge.

Ryan Ramczyk

This guy is just unbelievable. I am going list some names.

  • JJ Watt
  • Jadaveon Clowney
  • Demarcus Lawrence
  • Shaquil Barrett
  • Khalil Mack

If you just happened to see that list without any context, you would likely assume that those are the All-Pro or Pro-Bowl defensive ends. Nope. That’s the players that Ramczyk has completely shut down. On Sunday, it was Mack that he erased from the pass rush. It is beyond impressive what he is doing this year. Those are all guys that can and have single handily disrupted offensive game plans and here Ramczyk is making it seem like they are not even on the field. Shout out to Brandin Cooks for getting himself traded to New England for their #32 pick in 2017 that landed the best right tackle in the NFL.

Vonn Bell

It was just another day at the office for Bell. Usually a regular day won’t be enough to land someone on the “Saints” list, but his normal days at the office go something like this: 8 tackles/1 tackle for a loss/1 pass breakup/1 forced fumble/1 fumble recovery. Bell has quickly turned in to one of the most impressive young safeties in the NFL. It is only a matter of time before he starts getting attention from the National media.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

Speaking of impressive young players, CJGJ got his first start at the nickel cornerback position with PJ Williams serving the first of his two game suspension. Gardner-Johnson made it clear that he doesn’t want to give that position back to Williams when he returns. CJGJ was EVERYWHERE on Sunday. Despite playing 91% of the defensive snaps, he was still making plays on special teams, too. He led the team with 3 tackles for a loss and almost came up with his first career interception, but his receiver had to play defense and knock the ball away. My favorite thing about what we saw from him on Sunday in his extended time on the field with the starting defense was his attitude. He plays with a big mood and I am all in for it. We spent a lot of time years ago watching Saints cornerbacks sit back and let ball carriers come to them, then attempt to make arm tackles. Not anymore and CJGJ is a prime example of how to attack the ball and punish the man with the ball. He is flat out fun to watch and I cannot wait to see more and more of him in this defense.

Cam Jordan

Like Vonn Bell, it was just another day at the office that included two sacks. He gave Bobby Massie fits all day. You can pretty much just chalk it up as a Saints win when Jordan gets at least two sacks. That happens fairly often, so get things cranked up in the Dub Club.

Sean Payton

I have to take a minute to stop and give some credit to who all of this success starts with. Payton is coaching the best season of his career, turning what could have been a lost season in to another potential Super Bowl run. His masterful job of game planning was on full display on Sunday, as he scripted a plan that made the Bears defense look like a Big-12 school. That is not easy to do, but Payton did it, anyway. His play-calling kept Chicago off balance and made it obvious that they had no clue what was coming. The peak of his masterfully coached game was on a key 3rd and 1 in the second half when he called a fullback option. Bridgewater handed the ball off to Zach Line, who then ran the option with Taysom Hill. Line pitched the ball to Hill, who then picked up 23 yards to extend the drive. This team has found so many different ways to win in Brees’ absence, which has to have Payton confident in their ability to win games in crunch time.

Sinners

Ted Ginn Jr

This is one of those games where finding people to put on the “Sinners” can get a bit nitpicky. Things went really well on Sunday, but Ginn did not have his best game. He dropped two passes that were right in his hands, one of which would have been a long touchdown. He made up for it later with a 45 yard reception, but the drops simply can’t show up down the stretch.

Wil Lutz

Another nitpicking selection here, but Lutz didn’t have a great day. He did make field goals of 39 and 30 yards, but he also missed from 42 and 52 yards. Soldier Field is far from the easiest place to kick, but I’m sure Lutz would say that he expects himself to make both of the ones he missed. Thankfully, he is one of, if not the best kicker in the NFL, so I have no doubt that the struggles in this game were an anomaly.

Conclusion

That will do it for this edition, folks. Stay tuned here at ASC as we get you ready for Sunday’s matchup vs the Arizona Cardinals. The game is at home in the Superdome for 12 pm central. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter to know when I do my live broadcasts, where I turn on the camera and answer any and every question or comment that you may have. My handle is listed below! Thank you guys for stopping by!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @DCBilliotJr for daily Saints talk and live tweeting of each and every game!