The old saying goes a win is a win, but damn this wheel has a broken spoke. Put the bike in the shop for two weeks and hopefully it steers straight when it comes out or at the very least gets you where you need to go. I hammered the Saints pretty hard last week with the disaster in Dallas and rightfully so but I’m going to lay off them during these next two weeks because after all they did come from eleven points down in the 4th quarter to win the game and they did it running the football. I’m going to let you in on a little secret….winning games in the NFL is hard, it’s a tough high stakes business where the slightest mistake is the difference in winning and losing.
Tampa Bay made those mistakes.
It wasn’t pretty by any means but you know what? so what, they won and I’m moving on. After doing the Grind Factor with the debacle in Dallas (with all the negativity) I’m going to focus on the positives in this article. I’m hoping this gut checking win will bring back that swagger that has been missing most of this season and the way they closed it out by punching the Bucs in the mouth, maybe that attitude will carry over.
The game balls should go to Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson, they both played outstanding. The value that Thomas brings to this team can never be overstated, when he brings his A – game like he did last Sunday it fires the whole sideline up. Robinson on the other hand ran with vision and no hesitation, that’s one thing I always liked about him, he very seldom hesitates. So for this week’s Grind Factor: Tampa Bay at New Orleans I’m going to look at three plays by both players that changed the game. First up is in what has become a Pierre Thomas trademark….the screen pass, he so good at it that it just makes it that much more enjoyable watching the film, sometimes you just have to tip your hat.
The Saints have the ball at the Bucs 15 yard line, 3rd and 12 with 10:23 remaining in the 2nd quarter
In the screen shot below is some of the pre-snap personnel groupings and wide receiver blocking assignments, notice Tampa Bay is going to drop WLB Lavonte David into coverage from the other side of the field to cover Marques Colston. In my opinion David is one of the top 3 linebackers in football, he is a true sideline to sideline player and as you can see they ask him to do a lot.
Next up is the trio of offensive linemen pulling out front of Pierre Thomas, from top to bottom is Jahri Evans, Jonathan Goodwin and Ben Grubbs. When Thomas gets in these type situations, 9 out of 10 times over the years he is going to hit pay dirt.
Two key blocks spring this play, first Brandin Cooks come up with a huge block on SS Major Wright and Ben Grubbs (with some help from Colston) takes out WLB Lavonte David. Jonathan Goodwin makes a bee line for SS Mark Barron and Jahri Evans gets a little pay back on DT Gerald McCoy who really had his way with Evans in this game.
By the time CB Alterraun Verner gets a hit on Thomas it’s all over and he barrels over him for the score. That’s Goodwin on the ground, this was the play he got hurt on, it really was a non contact injury and didn’t look too bad as it happened but like Goodwin said in the post game locker room, he couldn’t push-off and would have hurt the team if he stayed in.
The Saints have the ball at the Bucs 27 yard line, 2nd and 10 with 9:36 left in the game
This 4th quarter Pierre Thomas touchdown run is a thing of beauty, everybody gets their blocks and Thomas always a patient runner uses every one of them. Below is the pre-snap look with the four key assignments that sprung this play. First you have Benjamin Watson getting a huge block on LDE William Gholston while Marques Colston takes out WLB Lavonte David. Zach Strief pulls and absolutely destroys CB Alterraun Verner while Jahri Evans gets to the second level to take out SS Mark Barron.
Ben Grubbs also gets to the second level with another key block, this time on SS Brad McDougald. Thomas then cuts behind him while the defense over pursues and finds a clean lane to the end zone, there is only one other player to beat.
And Thomas does this to him (CB Leon Johnson) This is how it’s drawn up folks, great execution and great vision and use of his block by Thomas.
The Saints have the ball at the Bucs 18 yard line, 2nd and 8 with 9:55 left in overtime
Again great execution with the blocking on this one, below is the pre-snap look, the key here is Josh Hill getting a crushing block on RDE Micheal Johnson with Terron Armstead pulling plus the two guards Grubbs and Evans getting to the second level also making key block. Bejamin Watson does just enough at the end to help spring Khiry Robinson for the score.
You can’t draw it up better than this, look at the hole the offensive line has sealed off with Ben Grubbs taking out MLB Dane Fletcher, Terron Armstead taking out CB Jonathan Banks, Austin Johnson taking out SLB Danny Lansanah and Jahri Evans taking out WLB Lavonte David.
Now it’s really just two defenders in Khiry Robinson’s way to the end zone, SS Brad McDougald and SS Mark Barron. As you can see below Robinson is eying Barron down ready to deliver the blow and right as McDougald arrives Watson gives him just enough of a shove where Robinson plows over both players.
This is how you deliver the goods on a game winning touchdown.
Well that’s it for this weeks Grind Factor, with no game scheduled this week my mind and body will be at Octoberfest doing a complete breakdown of all the German beer I will be consuming.
This game had a ton of mistakes in it but I also seen a lot of good in it too but the Saints must regain that killer instinct and bury teams when they have the chance. The offensive line must pass protect better, the defensive line must get more pressure and Drew Brees needs to quit trying to make something happen when it’s not there, it’s costing the team. This bye week couldn’t come at a better time, they should get Mark Ingram back and hopefully Jimmy Graham‘s injury isn’t that serious, also Jonathan Goodwin needs some rest to heal all of his injuries.
So with no Saints football this week go do something constructive like weed the garden or paint the garage….nah put the games back on and watch Carolina and Atlanta get destroyed and to that I say as always….WHO DAT!