Lets start this weeks Grind Factor simply with this:

Mauti Blocked punt

What a moment, talk about blowing the roof off the Dome. I am so glad that Steve Gleason was in the building to witness this and then his statement afterwards that the Falcons should never punt against the Saints was priceless.

If you are a Saints fan this game had everything in it, offensive firepower, special teams score, the defense getting big time pressure, Delvin Breaux and old stars showing out (Brees, Watson) What a night!

It was a great win but I am in no way delusional about what this team is, they still have a long way to go but for now I’m just going to enjoy putting a little salt in the Falcons hopes – they are good but far from the juggernaut they thought they were. I would go so far as to say the Saints exposed their weaknesses that they have been hiding. Okay lets get started with Ben Watson…

The Saints have the ball 1st & 10 at their 31 yard line with 12:14 to go in the 3rd quarter

It seems this play or variations of it have become a staple in the Saints offense this year – a three tight end run heavy jumbo look that creates isolations in the passing game. TE Michael Hoomanawanui is actually lined up as a fullback in this play and has a key block on defensive end Kroy Biermann to give Drew Brees the time he needs to deliver this pin point pass to Ben Watson, below is a pre-snap look and the routes ran. (notice Atlanta has eight in the box with a cover one safety over the top)

Watson 1Brandin Cooks is going to run a clear out the go route taking the safety with him and the isolation is going to be Watson on linebacker Paul Worrilow. These next two screen shots are right when Brees releases the ball, Worrilow has his back to Brees and the perfectly placed ball to Watson, the result is a 22 yard gain. (Also notice the excellent protection)

Watson 2Watson 3

The Falcons have the ball 3rd & 3  from their 27 yard line with 3:20 left in the 1st quarter

This was a huge defensive play in this game, not only because it was a sack on 3rd down but it also pinned Atlanta deep in their territory and we all know what happened next (the blocked punt)

All kinds of things happen on this play, first Matt Ryan wants to go to Julio Jones who has a one on one with Delvin Breaux who is playing press coverage. On the other side of the field Roddy White runs a crossing pattern and Keenan Lewis gets picked – White is wide open as seen in the two screen shots below.

Edebali 1Edebali 2

Up front the Saints are going to run a stunt with Tyeler Davison crashing down on the center and Kasim Edebali going behind him but the key to this play working was the bull rush that Cam Jordan provided flushing Ryan out of the pocket. By this time Edebali with his quickness is all over Ryan as seen in the screen shots below. Huge play at just the right time, Rob Ryan keeps saying this defense is close, plays like this make me want to believe him.

Edebali 3Edebali 4Edebali 5

The Falcons have the ball 1st & 10 from their 20 yard line with 8:02 left in the game

Atlanta loves to take a shot down the field with Julio Jones and here is a play they where they see an advantage.  Delvin Breaux isolated one on one with him. Before the ball is snapped Breaux is showing press coverage but correctly reads Jones is going to run a go route and backs off right before the ball is snapped, below is a pre-snap view of the routes ran.

Breaux 1As soon as the ball is snapped Breaux is eyeing Matt Ryan the whole time as seen below.

Breaux 2In the screen shots that follow you will see perfect technique against arguably the best receiver in football. Breaux has position as he has Jones pinned to the outside and has his head turned to the ball the entire time, this is textbook defense of the long ball.

Breaux 3Breaux 4Breaux 5

I couldn’t wrap up this Grind Factor without showing a little love to Cam Jordan, what a way to finally kick it in gear – against the Falcons.

The Falcons have the ball 2nd & 10 from their 20 with 7:56 left in the game

This is the play that followed the Breaux deep pass break up (the play after this Hau’oli Kikaha would also get a sack)

The Saints are in a 4-2-5 defense dropping seven into coverage with a soft zone below is a pre-snap look.

Jordan 1This play is really self explanatory, it’s a pure effort play by Jordan as he over powers Falcons right guard Chris Chester with a simple bull rush.

Jordan 2Jordan 3

We’ll that’s a wrap for this week, this probably was one of my more enjoyable Grind Factor breakdowns in a couple of years. Walking into the Dome Thursday evening I wasn’t very confident the Saints could stop the Falcons, I mean after all the defense only had four days rest after being on the field for 84 snaps against the Eagles.

The Saints now get 10 days rest before strapping it up against the Indianapolis Colts, this is a Colts team with just as many warts as our Saints team. The only difference is that they are sitting atop their horrible division at 3-3 while the Saints are at the bottom of the NFC South looking up. The defense must show up again for the Saints to have a chance in this one, hopefully what we seen last Thursday is a stepping stone to what is to come.

Usually I would end the Grind Factor right here but since we have a few extra days I decided for the first time on the Grind to provide a scouting report on the upcoming opponent….this is what I found:

Colts blunderSee y’all next week and as always….WHO DAT!