Nov 30, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
With missed opportunities left and right to kick off the game, it looked like the New Orleans Saints were in for another long day. However, the Black and Gold were able to stay in control against the Pittsburgh Steelers, winning the turnover battle and the game, while keeping their playoff hopes alive.
New Orleans’ offense looked flawless as Drew Brees completed 19 of 27 passes for 257 yards and five scores. RB Mark Ingram led the way on the ground with 19 carries for 122 yards, and WR Kenny Stills shined, snagging five catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.
Usually when a team reigns supreme in the turnover a battle, the game is won. That’s exactly what happened this afternoon. Safety Kenny Vaccaro came away with a beautiful interception in the end zone while DE Cam Jordan had his biggest game of the season with five assisted tackles, a sack and an interception as well.
Brees and the offense were able to limit the mistakes, keeping the ball out of the defense’s hands. Hopefully the Saints are awake and not teasing us with another big win.
While the offense was on point, even without noise from TE Jimmy Graham, there was still an unnecessary amount of miscommunication on the defensive side of the ball. Rob Ryan‘s struggling unit allowed 538 total yards today. Ben Roethlisberger completed 32 of 58 passes for 435 yards and two touchdowns, but did throw those two interceptions, which helped the Saints run away with the win.
Steelers’ RB Le’Veon Bell averaged 4.5 on the ground with 21 attempts for 95 yards and two scores while also dominating as a receiver out of the backfield with eight catches for 159 yards.
WR Antonio Brown also had a big day, snagging eight receptions as well for 97 yards and two touchdowns. There is still a bit of a pressure problem in the Big Easy (only one sack), so the issue must be fixed. Big Ben had all the time in the world to find his open men.
However, today, New Orleans was the better team, and it came at the right time. The Black and Gold, now 5-7, are still the likely candidates to finish atop the horrid NFC South, but as I’m writing this, the Atlanta Falcons are on top early versus the Arizona Cardinals.
With the Chicago Bears and three division games left on the schedule, it’s crunch time for Sean Payton and company. Today’s victory was a good start to this final homestretch.