Skip to content

Sunday night wrap-up: Saints have their moment

San Diego Chargers v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

For a night, the Saints got to enjoy themselves.

Drew Brees got the NFL’s consecutive games with a touchdown pass record with his 48th in a row, beating his old team the Chargers 31-24 in the process.

They got the goose-egg off their record, improving to 1-4, a half-game out of second in the NFC South.

But this is a temporary reprieve, at best.

The Chargers have shown signs of being a good team, but were swept up in the moment Sunday. (Watch highlights here.)

But until the Saints run the ball with any degree of consistency, or until they play better defense, they won’t get much better.

This Saints defense doesn’t have nearly the talent coordinator Steve Spagnuolo had at his disposal when he built a reputation with the New York Giants. That’s a given. But they just don’t fit what he wants to run. There’s little evidence they can consistently rush the passer with any of their linemen, and there’s not an impact player in the back seven either (despite Roman Harper running under a gift-wrapped one in the fourth quarter). They have some solid parts, but until they add some personnel, this defense is going to struggle regardless who’s coaching.

Gregg Williams could trick it up and blitz and try to cover up the shortcomings, and it worked for a bit. But it wasn’t going to beat the clock, as Spagnuolo is finding out.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. Maybe not being the champions of March, April and June will help the Chargers come January.

This offseason has been different for San Diego, without the weight of Super Bowl expectations that have been standard as they’ve underperformed for years.

Many thought the Chargers were lost at sea when Vincent Jackson was allowed to leave in free agency. But by replacing him with cheaper players such as Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem, the Chargers may have made themselves harder to defend in the long run.

Even the dog-housing of running back Ryan Mathews has an ulterior motive. When you put a guy you traded up in the draft to acquire in the first round on the bench, there’s a message of accountability.

And while it might be temporary, the 3-2 Chargers appear more willing to work for the praise that was given so freely before it was earned.

2. Of course, the Chargers need to get some people well, specifically left tackle Jared Gaither.

He battled back problems all summer, and gave up game-deciding pressure late in the game. Whether that flared up or he was just beaten, it was clear in the final moments of the game he wasn’t right, and it cost them a chance to tie.

3. It’s hard to call a guy with a five-year, $36.3 million contract underrated.

But you know what, Saints wide receiver Marques Colston is kind of underrated.

It’s almost amazing that he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl yet, and if not for some injuries he probably would have.

Brees’ second touchdown, the non-record breaking one, was Colston’s 50th with the Saints, tying Joe Horn for most in Saints history.

Colston made that record his own in the third quarter, and finished with nine catches for 131 yards and three touchdowns.

4. Chargers rookie linebacker Melvin Ingram was flagged for roughing the passer in the third quarter, taking a pick six off the board and allowing the Saints to get within a field goal, a 14-point swing that changed the course of the game.

As roughing calls go, it was a little thin, but it’s the kind of thing that gets called these days.

But he’s one of a few good young parts on that Chargers defense (along with defensive end Corey Liuget) that will keep them solid for years to come.

5. Drew Brees broke the record.

But you know what? The Chargers still made the right call going with Philip Rivers. For all the numbers Brees has posted, the Chargers quarterback has more regular season wins since Brees was allowed to leave, and mostly similar passing numbers.

What Rivers hasn’t had is Sean Payton. Norv Turner is a good play-caller, but Payton’s proving in his absence how good he is at his job.

If there was a debate, let’s end it. Young and promising is better than not-as-young and hurt, which is what Brees was when the decision was made.

Permalink 73 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: New Orleans Saints, Rumor Mill, San Diego Chargers, Top Stories
yo

Brandon Marshall in lineup for Jets in Kansas City

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 03:   Brandon Marshall #15 of the New York Jets celebrates a touchdown catch against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall had more than a week to recover from the knee injury he suffered against the Bills in Week Two, which may have helped him wind up on the right side of a questionable tag this Sunday.

Marshall is active for the Jets as they face the Chiefs in a matchup of 1-1 teams. How much Marshall will be able to do on a bad wheel remains to be seen, especially since he said he wasn’t feeling quite himself as the practice week came to an end.

“I’m not where I want to be,” Marshall said. “I’ve just got to make sure I’m not hurting the team when I’m out there.”

Third-round linebacker Jordan Jenkins is active for the first time for the Jets. Linebacker David Harris is active after being listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, but things went the other way for Erin Henderson as he deals with a foot problem.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg, quarterback Bryce Petty, running back Troymaine Pope, cornerback Darryl Roberts, linebacker Mike Catapano and tackle Brandon Shell are also inactive. Offensive lineman Jah Reid, offensive lineman Parker Ehinger, linebacker Sam Barrington, quarterback Tyler Bray, running back Jamaal Charles, wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas and cornerback Kenneth Acker are inactive for the home team.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Titans show a little life in second half

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota passes against the Oakland Raiders in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski) AP

Tennessee is without tight end Delanie Walker today because of a hamstring injury, and it looked like their offense didn’t know what to do without him.

But after a faltering first half, they answered with an impressive touchdown drive to cut the Raiders’ lead to 17-10.

Running back DeMarco Murray scored his first rushing touchdown for the Titans, to cap a seven-play, 93-yard touchdown drive.

It was a welcome reprieve for an offense which turned it over twice (a fumble and an interception by Marcus Mariota) and was just flat in the first half, as they forced the Raiders to burn a couple of timeouts.

The Raiders also have to worry about line injuries cropping up again, as Menelik Watson was ruled out for the rest of the game with a leg injury. The Raiders have had plenty of injuries up front, and now they have a game on their hands.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dolphins grab lead back on Landry touchdown

Miami Dolphins v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

The Dolphins have taken the lead back, 17-13, on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Jarvis Landry.

Tannehill had been struggling since throwing an early touchdown pass to DeVante Parker. He threw an interception in the second quarter than Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun returned for a touchdown.

New Browns kicker Cody Parkey missed his second field goal of the game on the series prior to the Landry touchdown.

The Browns have continued to have Terrelle Pryor take snaps at quarterback to take pressure off of rookie quarterback Cody Kessler. Pryor has also caught five passes for 70 yards in the game’s first 40 minutes.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Kirk Cousins holds ball too long, Giants hold onto lead

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins carries the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the third quarter at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants were up 21-9 at one point in the first half, but a DeSean Jackson touchdown catch and a strong drive following Shane Vereen’s second fumble in as many weeks left the Redskins with a chance to take a halftime lead.

At the very least, they were in position to cut the Giants lead to two points, but they remained down 21-16 at the whistle after a mental blunder by quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins took a snap with six seconds left on the clock and the half ended with him being stripped of the ball on a sack by Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

Cousins recovered the ball, but it did the team no good after he failed to throw the ball away and preserve the field goal opportunity. Some may choose to add some blame to coach Jay Gruden for not choosing to kick the field goal and guarantee some points with the ball coming their way to start the third quarter.

When the third quarter does start, the Redskins will be dealing with several injuries. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland went out with an ankle injury early in the first quarter and safety DeAngelo Hall joined him after a knee injury late in the second. Hall’s injury came after the two minute warning, so it also cost the Redskins a timeout they could have used before Cousins’ fumble.

The secondary will be stretched thin, which is an issue as they’ve had a hard time covering rookie Sterling Shepard on Sunday. Odell Beckham has two catches for 44 yards and Josh Norman nearly picked off another pass in his direction during a fireworks-free matchup between the two players.

The Redskins also saw wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who has three catches for 84 yards and touchdown, leave with knee and ankle injuries in the second quarter. He was limited by both injuries during the practice week as well. The Giants have fewer injury issues, although rookie corner Eli Apple is done for the day with a hamstring injury.

UPDATE 2:55 p.m. ET: Jackson returned to start the second half.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Emmanuel Sanders puts Broncos up before half

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25:  Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos breaks a tackle by Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders admitted to some frustrated by his lack of opportunities in the first two weeks of the season, but said it was hard to get too upset when the team had wins both weeks.

Their chances of getting a third straight victory are being helped by Sanders in Cincinnati on Sunday. Sanders scored his second touchdown of the game on a seven-yard pass from Trevor Siemian with 28 seconds to play in the half to put the Broncos up 16-14. They took that lead to the halftime after Brandon McManus‘ extra point was blocked and the Bengals opted to take a knee.

Sanders was targeted 11 times overall in the first half and scored a 41-yard touchdown earlier in the proceedings. He has seven catches for 89 yards, which represents a healthy number of the 171 total yards that Denver had in the first 30 minutes.

The Bengals defense had a few shots to pick off Siemian, but couldn’t come away with any of them. The only turnover of the half came when Adam Jones fumbled on a punt return just before Sanders’ first touchdown of the afternoon. It looked like Jones’ knee might have been down before the ball came loose, but the call on the field was upheld after a review.

That turnover looms large because the Bengals offense has been good when Jeremy Hill and ineffective under other circumstances. Hill has 85 yards on 11 carries and the team’s two touchdowns of the day, but the rest of the group only managed 81 yards in the first two quarters.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Jaguars’ penalty gives Ravens another shot

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 27:  Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after hitting a field goal against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Justin Tucker missed a 57-yard field goal as the first half expired, but Dante Fowler of the Jaguars was flagged 15 yards for hurdling a blocker.

Tucker made the second kick, giving the Ravens a 13-7 lead.

It’s been ugly as both offenses have struggled to sustain drives. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is 18-of-22 passing for 141 yards and opened the scoring with the Ravens’ first rushing touchdown of the season.

Blake Bortles is 10-of-19 for 78 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Allen Robinson.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Vikings’ special teams chips in with a touchdown

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 11:  Marcus Sherels #35 of the Minnesota Vikings plays against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Vikings’ offense can’t do much of anything. But they trail only by two points.

A 54-yard punt return from Marcus Sherels for a touchdown narrowed the gap to 10-8. The gap stayed at 10-8 after kicker Blair Walsh shanked the extra point.

It may be even harder for the Minnesota to score in the second half; guard Alex Boone has been carted off with a hip injury.

The Vikings have 35 net yards in the first half.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Tempers flaring on Redskins defense, but DeSean Jackson keeps them close

DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts AP

The Redskins offense had to settle for field goals on their first three drives, but their defense hasn’t been able to have the same effect on the Giants offense.

Orleans Darkwa ran for a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give the Giants a 21-9 lead at MetLife Stadium. After the score, FOX cameras caught defensive lineman Chris Baker yelling at defensive coordinator Joe Barry on his way off the field. Barry turned to return something in Baker’s direction as teammates pushed Baker away from the coach.

The Darkwa touchdown was set up by an 18-yard completion to wide receiver Sterling Shepard that came after Eli Manning called for a quick snap with the Redskins trying to get a 12th player off the field. Trent Murphy was also flagged for roughing Manning on the play, which added 15 yards to Shepard’s gain.

Washington found the end zone for the first time two plays later as Kirk Cousins hit DeSean Jackson for a 44-yard touchdown. Jackson gained 31 yards on the previous play as the Redskins offense finally found the big plays they were missing for the first 25 minutes of the game. It’s 21-16 with 3:35 to play in the first half.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Raiders with early lead over Titans

Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) gets away from Tennessee Titans cornerback Cody Riggs (24) as Murray runs 22 yards for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski) AP

The Raiders did what you’re supposed to do after a turnover, throwing straight into the opponents’ end zone.

But even though a Derek Carr touchdown on the play after a Titans fumble was called back for a holding penalty, the Raiders were still able to take advantage of the Marcus Mariota turnover to pad their lead.

They’re up 10-3 on the Titans in the second quarter, on a 22-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray and a 52-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.

Other than the turnover, the Titans are playing them fairly evenly, but the Raiders have shown more ability to create yardage in chunks.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Defensive touchdown gives Browns the lead

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 03:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins in action during the first half of the game against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) Getty Images

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is struggling against the depleted Browns defense, and that defense delivered a touchdown.

Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun returned an interception 27 yards to put the Browns up 10-7. Boddy-Calhoun is a rookie the Browns claimed via waivers earlier this month.

Two Browns defenders were closing in on Tannehill as he released the interception and it appeared his arm may have been hit by Tyrone Holmes.

The Browns have used Terrelle Pryor at both quarterback and wide receiver in an effort to keep the Dolphins guessing and take pressure off of rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, who’s making his first NFL start.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Broncos take 10-7 lead after Adam Jones fumble

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals returns the kickoff against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the New York Jets 23-22.  (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bengals defense did a good job of stopping the Broncos at the end of the first quarter, but a special teams miscue has helped them lose an early lead at home.

Adam Jones fumbled on a hit by Broncos linebacker Zaire Anderson while returning a punt after the defense forced a three-and-out and Shiloh Keo recovered to give Denver the ball in Cincinnati territory. Trevor Siemian hit Emmanuel Sanders for a 41-yard touchdown a few plays later for the first Broncos touchdown of the day and a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Sanders’ score came with Jones in coverage, so it wasn’t the best stretch for the Bengals cornerback. On the negative side for the Broncos, left tackle Russell Okung left with a back injury. Michael Schofield is at left tackle while Ty Sambrailo plays on the right with Donald Stephenson ruled out before the game due to a calf injury.

The Bengals grabbed an early lead on a three-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Hill that he set up with a 50-yard sprint through the Broncos defense. Hill was quiet in the first two weeks of the season, but has 76 yards on eight carries so far on Sunday.

Permalink 8 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cardinals keep up their trend of slow starts on offense

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is pressured by Buffalo Bills linebacker Lerentee McCray (56) during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) AP

The Cardinals have deferred to the second quarter, if not the second half, all season.

They trail the Bills 10-0 at the end of the first, their third straight first quarter without a point this season.

The Bills outgained them 142-2 in first quarter yards, with a 24-yard touchdown run by LeSean McCoy padding their early lead.

Quarterback Carson Palmer is 1-of-9 passing for 3 yards so far.

Granted, the Cards scored 24 in the second quarter last week, en route to a 40-7 win over the Buccaneers. So it’s probably too soon to panic. Wait, who are we kidding? It’s never too early to panic.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Vikings notch a safety

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter celebrates as he scores a touchdown on a 24-yard run after a fumble recovery against the Tennessee Titans in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. The Vikings won 25-16. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski) AP

The Vikings have scored, but not because of their offense.

A sack of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the end zone by defensive end Danielle Hunter gave the Vikings their first two points of the game.

FOX said it was the first Vikings safety since December 2001. However, as several of you have pointed out, the Vikings got two points when Dan Orlovsky ran out of the end zone in 2008.

The play came two snaps after a 20-yard run by Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne was wiped out by a holding call.

Minnesota offense is still trying to chip in with 3, 6, 7, or 8 points, as the Vikings trail 10-2.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Flacco gets Ravens’ first rushing TD of season

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 22:  Quarterback  Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco scrambled for a 7-yard touchdown for the game’s first score and a 7-0 lead over the Jaguars.

Neither quarterback is off to a hot passing start, but Flacco had key completions to Dennis Pitta and Steve Smith Sr. on what became an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.

Flacco’s touchdown run was the Ravens’ first rushing touchdown of the season.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has completed just two of his first seven passes.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Aaron Rodgers carving up the Lions

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers drops back to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer) AP

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers got annoyed this week by questions about his declining production. Now he’s getting to work on putting those questions to rest.

Rodgers is slicing up the Lions’ depleted defense, with two first-quarter touchdown passes.

Both of the Packers’ offensive possessions have looked like a hot knife through butter, with Green Bay moving the ball at will. In the first 14 minutes of the game, Rodgers has completed six of eight passes for 120 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Packers lead the Lions 14-3.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top