The Saints did a nice job of getting their hands on QB Carson Palmer’s passes and it all started with the cornerbacks. The top three, Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson and Elbert Mack defended more passes (six) than had completed on them (five). The trio was targeted 16 times with only 48 yards to show for it. Robinson was the best of the bunch as he gave up one measly yard on his five targets. He set the tone as he nearly intercepted quarterback Carson Palmer’s first pass of the day on a go route. Though Palmer was able to do some damage against the linebackers and safeties, the cornerbacks were a big part of holding him to only 2-for-8 throwing outside the numbers beyond 10 yards.
Lofton’s Slump Continues
Expected to shore up the middle of the Saints defense, linebacker Curtis Lofton has been a bit of a disappointment through 10 games. The Saints have struggled with tackling all season and despite the lopsided win, this game was no different with regard to their inability to take down ball carriers. Lofton contributed two of the team’s 11 missed tackles and his season total of 12 is now one more than he had all of last year. After ranking 12th among inside linebackers in tackling efficiency in 2011, Lofton is currently 28th out of 35 qualifiers as he’s missing one tackle every 7.8 attempts. Lofton has represented a slight improvement for the Saints at the middle linebacker position, but he needs to get back closer to his 2011 form if they hope to make a second half surge.
It was an efficient day for the Saints offense that only saw QB Drew Brees drop back 27 times. The offensive line did a tremendous job as he was only hurried three times and hit the turf only twice (only one hit was charged to the offensive line). Left tackle Jermon Bushrod, RG Jahri Evans, and RT Charles Brown were all perfect in pass protection, while even backup right tackle Bryce Harris was unblemished in his 14 attempts after taking over for the injured Brown. In the running game, only Brown graded negatively among the starters as the big boys up front paved the way for 153 yards on 28 carries on the ground. Though the entire group played well, Bushrod stood out as he controlled Raiders defensive ends and linebackers to the tune of a +4.9 overall grade for the day.