The Saints picked up a big divisional win over the Panthers on Sunday, but it came down to the final minutes of the game. The Saints offense was crisp without Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and the defense responded and made the stops when it mattered most. They only allowed 103 yards in the second half, and clearly made some big adjustments to help get a win. While it wasn't perfect, it can't go unnoticed. Here's a look at the Week 7 snap counts and some observations.
- Andrus Peat, Ryan Ramczyk, Cesar Ruiz, Erik McCoy - 70 (100%)
For the most part, the Saints offensive line was great against the Panthers. In particular, Peat had a pretty good game. His best play was knocking a defender to the ground, and the lone strip/sack on Drew Brees wasn't on him.
- Drew Brees - 69 (99%)
Brees was excellent on the day, throwing for 287 yards on 29 completions (36 attempts), adding two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. He had sack/fumble play that was caused from James Hurst's blocking, but overall was solid.
- James Hurst - 59 (84%)
If Terron Armstead is going to miss time with his injury, then Hurst has to play better. He had some good moments, but the pressure given up on the Brees sack/fumble can't happen.
- Tre'Quan Smith - 57 (81%)
Smith caught all 4 of his targets for 54 yards, which included a long reception of 23 yards.
- Alvin Kamara, Marquez Callaway - 51 (73%)
- Callaway stepped up in a big way for the Saints offense with Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders being out, catching 8 balls for 75 yards on 10 targets. He should have a had a touchdown, but a questionable Tre'Quan Smith offensive pass interference penalty wiped that out. Callaway had an injury scare, having to hobble to the locker room, but said he was 'all good' in his post game press conference. The Saints keep finding these undrafted gems.
Kamara was excellent on the day, as expected. He had 14 carries for 83 yards, and caught all 8 of his targets for 65 yards. While he didn't find the end zone on the day, he was key in moving the chains. The way he picked up a first down on 3rd and 14 was exactly what Kamara does for the Saints offense and makes him unique. Like Michael Thomas last year, Kamara looks like a huge bargain right now.
- Jared Cook - 34 (49%)
Cook caught 3 balls for 32 yards and a score on 4 targets, and his touchdown grab was a great display of his concentration and ball skills.
- Josh Hill - 30 (43%)
- Adam Trautman - 28 (40%)
- Latavius Murray - 23 (33%)
Murray maximized his snaps, carrying the ball 11 times for 47 yards while adding a reception for 9 yards. He had a long run of 25.
- Deonte Harris - 20 (29%)
Harris found some success on the day, especially times working against Eli Apple. He finished with 4 receptions for 46 yards on 5 targets, and caught a big touchdown to take the lead right before halftime.
- Juwan Johnson, Terron Armstead, Austin Carr - 13 (19%)
Johnson's debut didn't register anything on the snap sheet, but he didn't do anything wrong either from first glance. Armstead left the game early with an arm injury. He was evaluated in the medical tent, came back in shortly, and then was kept out of the rest of the game. Carr had a single catch for 6 yards on one target.
- Michael Burton - 12 (17%)
- Taysom Hill - 10 (14%)
Hill had a big first down play and completed a pass to Josh Hill for no gain. He was targeted just once in the passing game.
- Will Clapp - 7 (10%)
- Malcolm Jenkins, Janoris Jenkins, Demario Davis, Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams - 46 (100%)
The communication breakdown on the big 74-yard touchdown to D.J. Moore is what we'll remember from the defensive side on Sunday. It was clear that someone missed the assignment, and it appeared to have been Williams. He and Lattimore led the Saints with 6 total tackles each. Getting Janoris Jenkins back was a help, but there's still a lot to figure out from the secondary.
- Alex Anzalone, Cam Jordan - 38 (83%)
Anzalone was off the field for several plays in favor of Craig Robertson. Wasn't sure what that was about, and some of those plays maybe could have been better with Anzalone in there. Jordan only had 2 tackles, and failed to register any kind of QB pressure or hit. Teddy Bridgewater did a good job getting the ball out quickly, but the Saints defensive line had some chances to wrap him up.
- C.J. Gardner-Johnson - 33 (72%)
Ceedy Duce had 5 solo stops and a pass defense, and had a mixed performance on the day. He took a real bad penalty after a 26-yard connection to Robby Anderson. He seemed to be a favored target for the Panthers while in slot duties.
- Malcom Brown - 25 (54%)
- David Onyemata - 24 (52%)
- Trey Hendrickson, Marcus Davenport - 23 (50%)
Davenport had the lone sack for the Saints, and it couldn't have come at a bigger point in the game. The Panthers were facing a 3rd and 11, and Davenport got to Bridgewater to force a 4th and 19, which saw Joey Slye barely miss a 65-yard field goal. Hopefully, things can only go up for Davenport.
- Sheldon Rankins - 22 (48%)
- Shy Tuttle - 15 (33%)
- Zack Baun - 13 (28%)
- Carl Granderson, Craig Robertson - 8 (17%)
- P.J. Williams - 6 (13%)
Special Teams (Top Reps)
- Carl Granderson, Craig Robertson, Justin Hardee Sr. - 17
- Patrick Robinson - 16
- Zack Baun, J.T. Gray, Kaden Elliss, Dwayne Washington - 12