The Saints finally played a game where the outcome was never in doubt, well I guess you could say the Atlanta game but I have a bad case of traumatic amnesia from that one and conveniently can’t remember a thing about it.

The Saints offense dominated all afternoon long and the defense while at times will makes you pull out your hair got crucial turnovers when needed and righted the ship in the second half. The Saints were clearly the better team and if there was a hangover from the Seattle win it didn’t show.

And then there was the case of the angry Ingram….

I know the 49ers defense is horrible but kudos should be given to Ingram, Tim Hightower and most of all, the offensive line but Ingram completely caught me off guard with his speed on that 75 yard touchdown run. When and where did he find those jets? Lets hope the fire is still lit when one of the best defenses in the NFL makes their way to the Superdome this up coming Sunday.

A few weeks back I wrote for everybody to sit back and enjoy a superstar’s climb to greatness in Michael Thomas. Of course this past Sunday he would outdo himself with a crazy off the helmet improbable falling on the ground touchdown catch – spectacular is one word that comes to mind.

As far as the defense goes what you see is what you get. But honestly I can’t be upset with a group that had 4 turnovers and held the 49ers to 3 second half points. They are get better though, baby step by baby step. This week the Saints get the putrid Trevor Siemian lets hope they don’t make him look like the second coming of Joe Montana and capitalize on his blunders.

Anyways enough rambling from me so lets get started on the Grind Factor….

The Saints have the ball 3 and 4 at their 29 yard line with :47 seconds left in the 3rd quarter

In a game filled with big plays this one to me flew under the radar. The game at this point was still tight with the Saints hanging onto an eight point lead 31 to 23. The drive before this ended by a missed 55 yard Wil Lutz field goal and a Saints three and out here would have been a huge swing of momentum in the 49ers favor. Below is a pre-snap look with the routes ran.

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As the play gets underway San Francisco plays a single high safety (Jaquiski Tartt) and sends FS Eric Reid on a blitz that tight end Josh Hill picks up before going on his route – also notice the protection Drew Brees has.

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You have to remember this is 3rd and short so the underneath coverage is there for Willie Snead who is running a short crossing pattern. But the mistake is made by SS Tartt who is reading Brees’ eyes and he bites on Snead leaving one on one coverage (Kieth Reaser) on Brandin Cooks. If you look at the top of the screen shot, Michael Thomas is also open.

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This is almost unfair as Reaser is protecting the deep ball and Brees lays a perfect pass to Brandin Cooks, I guess you could call it a back shoulder pass but he put it in a great spot and all Cooks had to do was turn around and it was right there in the bread basket.

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The Saints have the ball 2nd and 4 from their 21 yard line with 9:00 left in the 3rd quarter

The Saints catch the 49ers when they blitz the inside linebacker (Nick Bellore) on this Mark Ingram 19 yard off tackle run. This is just great up front blocking with a key blocks from wide out Brandon Coleman and Jahri Evans. Below is a pre-snap look with blocking assignments – notice Tim lelito as the extra lineman.

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As the play gets under way with Bellore blitzing the other inside linebacker Gerald Hodges reads the run and tries to hit the gap but Jahri Evans takes him out on the second level. Meanwhile strong safety Antoine Bethea also reads the gap but is unaware that Coleman is making a bee line on him to take him out as seen below.

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After these two key blocks on the second level are made Ingram isn’t touched until 15 yards down the field. It must be noted the front line blocking of Max Unger, Tim Lelito and Josh Hill. Especially Hill – it’s not easy pushing Ahmad Brooks five yards backwards. That’s Coleman with the arrow on his block.

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This is a game the Saints should have won and they did, it’s also a west coast road win which is hard to do I don’t care who the opponent is.

Up next the Saints play two games in five days and I have a feeling this is either going to make or break the Saints playoff chances. Win them both and they have a good shot of getting in. Split the games and there’s work to do. Lose both, while not impossible to sneak in, it is highly unlikely.

This Sunday taking care of the ball is a must, Denver is an opportunistic defense with 16 takeaways. Of course the Saints must also try to contain Von Miller because as Sean Payton and others have stated he is the best pass rusher in the NFL (9.5 sacks) The best way to do this is to keep Denver’s defense on the sideline by establishing a solid run game against a very suspect run defense.

So in short the keys are – don’t do anything stupid with turnovers, try to keep Von Miller in check and run the ball a lot.

If the Saints do this they will win and that 0-3 disappointing start will be nothing more than a distant memory and to that I think we can raise our glass and let out a hearty WHO DAT!