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Week 11 Game Recap: New Orleans Saints 38, Oakland Raiders 17

New Orleans Saints

QB Drew Brees, Pass: 20 - 27 - 219 - 3 TD / 0 INT

Always consistent, Drew Brees and the Saints' offense was super efficient on Sunday, scoring points on half of their drives despite taking their foot off the gas after only three quarters. Like he often does, Brees asserted early control on the first drive, opening with a much too easy out to a wide open Marques Colston for 14 yards. Brees just missed a TD on his next throw as Darren Sproles fill in Travaris Cadet was left uncovered on a wheel route out of the backfield. Brees badly underthrew the streaking Cadet, with pass coming up short, as Cadet was unable to make the catch. Not to be deterred Brees and Cadet connected on the next play on a swing route, with Cadet catching the ball in the flat and turning up field for 17 yards. Brees dumped the ball to Pierre Thomas on a quick out, with Thomas coming up just short of the end zone. As they Brees likes to do inside the five, he play faked on the following play and TE Jimmy Graham slipped off the line untouched and was wide open in the back of the end zone for the one-yard TD catch. Brees and the offense had a rare three and out the following drive, with the lone throw falling incomplete to Lance Moore as Brees was blasted by Phillip Wheeler just as he released the ball. Brees booted right to open the following drive, finding Jed Collins in the flat uncovered for the 11-yard gain. Working the play fake again two plays later, Brees had an eternity in the pocket before he slipped outside and hit Graham who had broken off his route to come back and help his scrambling for nine yards. Brees tried to catch the Raiders off guard with a quick screen to Devery Henderson, but the play was easily defended, picking up only three yards. With safety Michael Huff locked into single coverage with Colston, Brees tried to take advantage of the matchup, but Huff was able to ride Colston step-for-step, getting his hands up late to knock the pass away and force another New Orleans punt. Following an Oakland score, Brees fired the offense back up on the following drive needing only eight plays to go 82 yards for a TD. Colston found a pocket in the zone coverage on the first throw, picking up a too easy 24 yards. Brees just missed connecting with Joe Morgan two plays later on a deep post off play action, slightly overthrowing Morgan on the potential 51-yard TD pass. Brees needed some help on his next throw, as it sailed just a bit, but Colston made a tremendous catch elevating and securing the toss just before safety Matt Giordano delivered a shot. The pass went for 17 yards, but more importantly kept the drive going as it came on 3rd down. After an intentional grounding penalty set the Saints back, Brees cared very little, patiently waiting for Lance Moore to get behind the coverage and throwing a strike to the WR for a 38-yard TD. The throw was pretty, with just the right amount of touch to sail the coverage but not drive Moore out of bounds. After two drives that saw only two passes from Brees (both to Graham for a total of nine yards), Brees drove the nail in the coffin on the third drive out of halftime. Working the same swing pass to Cadet to opposite side, the two connected for eight yards. After three consecutive runs, Brees went play action on the fourth, as Moore again was able to get behind the coverage. Brees delivered another perfect pass, over the underneath coverage and away from the crashing safety for a 15-yard TD pass. With a 35-10 lead, Brees and the passing offense took a back seat to a bruising running game to finish the game off. However, Brees nearly did throw an INT on a screen pass late in the game as DT Desmond Bryant read the play perfectly, but was unable to make the play as the pass went right through his hands. An unfortunate mismatch, Brees only threw when he had to, but did so with great efficiency with no turnovers and no sacks.

QB Chase Daniel, Pass: 1 - 1 - 10 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 19 - 0

Daniel came on in mop up duty, but only threw the ball once for 10 yards. Daniel did pick up 19 yards on a boot, picking up the first down and allowing the offense to kneel the game away after the run.

RB Mark Ingram, Rush: 12 - 67 - 1, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets)

Maybe it was just the Raiders, but maybe it wasn't. Mark Ingram looked spectacular on Sunday, running with power, speed and a shiftiness he hasn't really shown since leaving Alabama two years ago. Ingram's first run really set the tone for the rushing attack, a brutal 16-yard run up the middle. Met in the backfield by Tommy Kelly, Ingram was able to slip the tackle before exploding up field breaking one arm tackle along the way. Giordano stepped up, trying to deliver a blow, but realizing his mistake rather quickly as Ingram destroyed the attempt leaving Giordano wrapped around his waist dragging behind like young child trying to tackle a teenager at the local schoolyard. Thankfully for Giordano help came in the form Mike Mitchell, who wrangled the marauding Ingram down at midfield. Ingram showed some nice hesitation later, waiting patiently for his blocks to develop before striking the middle again for nine yards. Not as impressive as his first run, Ingram's longest run (and lone TD) came on the first play out of halftime. After a nice KO return, Ingram took the initial carry and bounced the run outside, skirting an attempted tackle in the hole from Michael Huff before getting the edge. Turning on the jets (Ingram is clearly finally healthy), Ingram worked Giordano again, whose angle was poor as he was surprised at the burst Ingram had with the RB ultimately outrunning Giordano for the 27-yard TD. Ingram taunted Giordano as he ran in to the end zone, nearly setting off a scrap before hitting the sideline and getting a stern talking to from Colston for his antics. The RB most hoped to see when the Saints gave up a lions share for in the 2011 draft, Ingram finally looked the part on Sunday.

RB Chris Ivory, Rush: 8 - 37 - 0

Ivory wasn't able to find the end zone for a third consecutive week, but still looked explosive and every bit as powerful running the ball on Sunday. Ivory appeared to be more of a spell for Ingram and Thomas, picking up his best and longest runs late in the game when the outcome was all but final. Running up the middle, Ivory was able to slip through a tiny hole before finding open space on his longest run of the day (a near TD). Easily getting the 2nd level, Ivory had the option to try and juke the final tackler, but chose instead to try and run over Giordano (again) who made the TD saving tackle. Always a bruiser, Ivory was still delivering blows on the Saints final clock killing drive, including a short, but brutal run up the middle. Desmond Bryant made contact at the line of scrimmage, but Ivory continued to drive his legs, carrying the DT three more yards.

RB Pierre Thomas, Rush: 5 - 30 - 0, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (4 targets)

The least used RB of the three-headed attack, Thomas still impressed with his five runs, averaging a team best 6.0 yards a carry. Thomas received most of his work on the Saints' opening drive, including picking up 14 yards on his first carry. Running through a gaping hole, Thomas reached the 2nd level untouched and like his fellow running mates, delivered a shot upon contact. Thomas was also active in the passing game, getting four targets, catching three and just missing a TD. Coming out of the backfield, Brees hit Thomas on the out but the RB was knocked out of bounds one-yard short of the end zone.

RB Travaris Cadet, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (3 targets)

Cadet took on a Darren Sproles-lite role on Sunday, getting three targets and catching two of them. Cadet's first target should have been a TD as he was left uncovered running up the sideline, but Brees badly underthrew him and he was unable to adjust to make the catch on the underthrown ball. Cadet's two catches came on the same play, just going to opposite sides of the field. A swing pass left first, coming on the play after his first target and picking up 17 yards on the play. Later Cadet would swing right and make a nice cut up field to pick up eight yards. Also filling Sproles' role on special teams, Cadet had a nice return to set up a TD on the opening drive of the 2nd half, taking the KO 75 yards to the Oakland 27-yard line.

WR Marques Colston, Rec: 4 - 69 - 0 (6 targets)

Colston tied for the team lead in targets on Sunday with six, catching four for 69 yards. Not needing much in the passing game, Colston's output was slightly limited, especially considering the matchup. It was clear the Saints could have done whatever they wanted, but a huge massive lead for the majority of the game limited Colston's final numbers. When the game was (technically) still in the balance, however, Colston delivered. Colston's first catch came on the first play of the Saints' opening drive. Showing just how easy this was going to be for the talented combo, Brees hit a wide open Colston for 14 yards on an out. Just missing a deep connection with Brees on his next target, Colston attacked the middle of the Raider defense for his next (and longest) catch of the game, picking up 24 yards over the middle. The same drive, Colston came up huge for the offense on 3rd down. Again over the middle, Brees' throw was a high. Knowing a hit was coming, Colston extended and exposed his midsection for the shot, but like he so often has in the past still managed to haul the 17-yard catch in despite the blow from Giordano. With a growing lead, Colston's role diminished and he only would register one more catch, finding a pocket in the zone over the middle for 14 yards.

WR Lance Moore, Rec: 2 - 53 - 2 (3 targets)

Moore only received three targets, catching just two of them, but both went for TDs. Facing a 3rd and 13, Moore was surprisingly (well, maybe not considering it was the Raiders) able to sneak behind the coverage. Not his first option on the play, Brees progressed to Moore and delivered a strike in the end zone for the 38-yard TD. Looking a lot like his first catch, Moore again snuck behind the coverage and Brees delivered a perfect strike to the WR in the end zone, this time for 15 yards. It is hard to imagine a more blah two TD game, but Moore was essentially uninvolved with the exception to his two catches. They just both happen to go for TDs. Like the rest of the passing offense, a successful running game mixed with a sustained lead meant the Saints didn't have to open much up.

WR Devery Henderson, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets)

Normally good for at least one (usually dropped) deep shot per game, it was Morgan who received that target relegating Henderson to one short three-yard gain on a quick screen. The screen was defended well as Henderson was unable to do much more with the lone catch. Way down the totem pole of Brees' options combined with a blowout meant a completely uninvolved Henderson.

WR Joseph Morgan (1 targets)

Morgan only received one target, a deep throw coming off play action. Brees slightly overthrew the pass, however, and Morgan was unable to catch up to the ball as it was just out of his reach. With the coverage beat, Morgan just missed a long TD on the play.

TE Jimmy Graham, Rec: 6 - 29 - 1 (6 targets)

Graham was able to secure all six targets on Sunday, but only picked up 29 yards, including a one-yard TD. Given a free release on the goal line, Graham snuck into the back of the end zone for the TD. Graham did a nice job breaking off his route and coming back on his 2nd catch as Brees was scrambling to find an outlet, picking up nine yards on the play. Graham was give free release again on his next catch, running uncovered over the middle. Graham averted disaster on the play, as he fumbled when CB Joselio Hanson delivered a shot, but was saved by Pierre Thomas. Oakland did a nice job on Graham's next three catches, making the immediate tackle and not allowing the TE to get up field for extra yardage. A fairly sub par day, Graham salvaged it with the short TD, but wasn't needed much as the rout was on early.

TE Jed Collins, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (2 targets)

The FB didn't register any carries, but did pick up two catches for 21 yards. Working the flats, Collins was left uncovered on both and made the most of his two catches, picking up first downs on both.

Oakland Raiders

QB Carson Palmer, Pass: 22 - 40 - 312 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0

What looked like a savory matchup for Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raider offense quickly went sour on Sunday. Palmer's first throw of the game to Derek Hagan down the sideline, despite Hagan getting behind the coverage, was underthrown and nearly picked off by CB Patrick Robinson. After a holding penalty put the Raiders in 3rd and long, pressure forced a quick dump off to Rod Streater for an insignificant six yards. The Raiders' 2nd drive was worse, as Palmer and the offense went three and out when pressure forced a severely underthrown ball to Denarius Moore over the middle. Palmer again found near trouble on the first play of the 3rd drive, as miscommunication between Palmer and intended receiver Moore had Palmer nearly throwing another INT. Moore ran a corner route and Palmer expected the WR to continue the route inside, skipping the pass just short of the collapsing safety. After two near INTs, Palmer finally connected with the Saints' Malcolm Jenkins, who beat intended receiver Brandon Myers to the ball and took the INT 55 yards the other way for a TD. Struggling early, Palmer looked uncomfortable in the pocket after the INT, missing Darius Heyward-Bey badly on deep throw off play action. Again facing pressure the next play, Palmer slipped outside the pocket and found his safety valve in Myers for nine yards the first down. Going right back the play fake, Palmer faked the toss to Marcel Reece on the following play and rolled right. Working outside on his route, Moore was plenty open on the play, but again Palmer's pass was wild as it sailed incomplete. Rookie WR Juron Criner made a nice catch on a pass that was behind him on 3rd down, saving the drive as again Palmer's pass was well off target. The catch seemed to settle Palmer, who used the play fake on the following play and hit Hagan for 17 yards on a hitch. Two plays later, Reece, working off the line of scrimmage easily created separation on the quick out and Palmer put the ball right on Reece for the 20 yard pick up. Feeling the pressure of the Saints offense and a mounting deficit, Palmer used the QB sneak on 4th down to pick up a new set of downs at the New Orleans one-yard line. An offensive pass interference call set the Raiders back, however, and the penalty would hurt. After a quick shot to Reece for four yards, Palmer went to Myers, delivering a strike to the TE, but the pass went right through Myers' hands and off his facemask straight into the air. Behind the play, Roman Harper easily caught the deflected pass for the INT. The drive took nearly nine minutes, but after attaining a first and goal at the one, the Raiders had nothing to show for it. The drive, however, clearly helped settle Palmer, who wasted little time marching back down the field on the following drive. Facing a 3rd and five, Palmer hit Reece on a quick out just beyond the sticks. Reece broke Harper's tackle and was able to pick up 56 yards (the Raiders' longest play of the day) before Jenkins finally pushed him out of bounds the Saint 20. Palmer again tried to connect with Moore on a fade, but Robinson snatched one of Moore's arms and ultimately picked up an interference penalty giving the Raiders the ball on the one-yard line again. This time Palmer and Myers would not be denied, however, as Palmer booted right and waited (and waited) for Myers to spring open just inside the end zone. Palmer connected, getting Oakland on the board with the one-yard TD pass. With the offense still feeling the good vibrations from the first half, Palmer lead the Raiders on another scoring drive on their first possession of the 2nd half. Working off play action (as they did, successfully, all day Sunday), Palmer connected with Heyward-Bey for the first time on a 13-yard comeback. Palmer went back to Myers the following play, picking up six yards on the screen to the TE. After a sack and a penalty put the offense in 2nd and long, Palmer hit RB Jeremy Stewart on a swing pass, who turned the short pass into a nice catch and run for 23 yards. Palmer misfired on his next three throws, however, (including a poor drop by Streater that nearly was a fumble) forcing the offense to settle for a FG. A lightning quick three and out, with Palmer unable to even attempt a pass really felt like the Raiders' last hoorah as the game was out of reach by the time the Raiders got the ball back. Much too little too late, Palmer made his first connection of the game with Moore the following drive. Moore ran a quick out and Palmer finally put the ball on the WR, picking up nine yards on the play. Moore was again open two plays later, but Palmer couldn't get enough on the toss, skipping the ball well before it got to Moore. Criner saved another poor pass from Palmer the following play as Palmer threw high and behind Criner, but he made a nice catch coming up just short of the marker. With the game at hand and the coverage sagging, Palmer connected with Heyward-Bey for 18 and Myers for seven to open the next drive, but followed with three consecutive incompletions. Having one of those days, Palmer again missed Moore on 4th down, barely overthrowing Moore who had beat the coverage just missing what surely would have been a 44-yard TD pass. Facing that same soft coverage, Palmer worked right back up the field in garbage time, hitting Heyward-Bey on back-to-back throws for 38 yards. Palmer and Myers connected again, this time for 27 as Myers made a great leaping grab over the middle. After a strike to Streater for 20 yards, Palmer went to the same fade play to Criner on consecutive throws (the same play that earned the offensive pass interference in the first half) finally connecting for a three-yard TD on the Raiders' final drive of the game. In the end, Palmer's numbers weren't bad statistically, but far from what the Raiders needed to pull off the upset. His early mistakes and lapse in confidence proved too much to overcome against a surging New Orleans team.

RB Marcel Reece, Rush: 19 - 103 - 0, Rec: 4 - 90 - 0 (5 targets)

Listed as a FB who often lines up as a TE, Reece looked like the best RB on the Raiders' offense (both injured and healthy alike) on Sunday. Running behind what had been a ravaged, with injuries and criticism, offensive line, Reece wasted little time making an impact. Opening with consecutive runs, Reece picked up 25 yards on his first two runs. Reece did a nice job hitting gaping holes with power, but he showed some wiggle (especially for a man of his size) too. With Palmer clearly struggling early, Reece opened the 4th drive with a beautiful cut back, stiff-arming the initial tackler before breaking another as he rumbled for 13 yards. Always a playmaker in the passing game, Reece had the longest play of the day for the Raiders, a 56-yard catch and run which again featured a broken tackle. Reece caught the quick out and wasn't even slowed as the much smaller Harper failed to bring him down as he caught the pass, not seeing contact until Malcolm Jenkins was able to angle him out of bounds. Reece lined up all over the field, including at FB, where he made a nice contested catch inside the red zone. Reece found a spot on the end of the line, too, working like a TE and running a quick out for 20 yards. Always impressive catching the ball, where Reece surprised was in how natural he looked running the ball. Reece showed some power (the aforementioned 13-yard run), some wiggle (on the cut back) and even showed some Arian Foster-like patience on a five-yard run. Reece took the carry and waited for the blocks to clear the lane for him on the run up the middle. As the touches piled up for Reece, he showed no signs of wearing down either, despite having essentially no history of a full workload in the NFL. With the game clearly at hand and 15+ touches smashed into his body, Reece was still running with tremendous determination and power. Getting consecutive carries to open a drive in the 4th quarter, Reece was met five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. However, Reece kept his legs churning and moved the pile another four yards. Surely a draining run, Reece took the very next carry another nine yards. A running game that has struggled all season, Reece transformed the rushing attack on Sunday, averaging 5.4 yards a carry. Reece also led the receiving attack as well, catching four of five targets (the only incompletion being a spiked screen that was sure to get blasted) for a team high 90 yards.

RB Jeremy Stewart, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (1 targets)

Like Jones, Stewart didn't receive many carries because of the success of Reece, collecting two for seven yards. However, Stewart did have a nice catch and run, picking up 23 yards on swing pass from Palmer on 2nd and 16. Stewart got up field quickly, including a mini hurdle over a diving arm tackle to pick up the first down.

RB Taiwan Jones, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0

Because of the success of Reece, Jones only received three carries on Sunday, picking up 13 yards. Having essentially zero impact on the running game, Jones did provide a glimpse into Oakland's hesitancy to use the RB because of pass protection issues, however. Working out of the shotgun, Jones was the last line of defense between Palmer and a blitzing Jonathan Vilma. Like a mosquito trying to stop a fire hose, Vilma blasted right through Jones and into Palmer's lap for the sack. Jones didn't see much more of the field as the deficit relegated the offense to a heavy passing attack and clearly Jones just cannot be trusted to protect the QB.

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Rec: 4 - 69 - 0 (5 targets)

Heyward-Bey led all WRs with four catches for 69 yards on five targets, but did most of his damage in garbage time against sagging coverage. Heyward-Bey didn't catch his first ball until the first possession of the 2nd half, picking up 13 yards on the comeback. And it wasn't until the 4th quarter that Heyward-Bey received his next catch, picking up 18 yards on a shallow crosser over the middle against the soft coverage. Heyward-Bey's next two catches came on the Raiders' final drive, picking up 22 and 16 yards on consecutive plays, on the same shallow crosser. Heyward-Bey did receive one red zone target in the first half (running the same fade Criner would later get his TD on), but the pass fell incomplete as Streater picked up an offensive pass interference call on a pick/rub underneath in an attempt to spring the WR.

WR Juron Criner, Rec: 3 - 23 - 1 (6 targets)

Criner was third on the team in targets, with three catches including his first NFL TD coming on the Raiders' final drive. Earlier in the game it was Criner who appeared to help Palmer get into rhythm early, making a nice adjustment to the ball as the pass was behind him on the 13-yard catch. Criner again made a nice catch later in the game, having to reach not only back for the throw, but adjust to its height as well, picking up seven yards on the errant throw. Criner's TD catch was a thing of beauty as well, getting consecutive targets on the same fade route. After the defender made a nice play on the ball on the first try, Criner made a diving catch on the second attempt, securing the toss just before he slid out of the side of end zone.

WR Rod Streater, Rec: 2 - 26 - 0 (4 targets)

Streater was largely irrelevant in the passing game, picking up four targets and catching two for 26 yards. Streater's first catch came on the first drive, but only picked up six yards, coming up well short of the first down. Streater's most relevant play, however, was the offensive pass interference penalty he picked up trying to rub/pick the defender on the fade pass to Heyward-Bey, pushing the Raiders off the goal line. Streater nearly fumbled on a quick slant in the third quarter, but was ultimately saved by the replay assistant who deemed the pass incomplete. Streater's 2nd catch came on the Raiders' final drive, picking up 20 yards on the deep out.

WR Denarius Moore, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (7 targets)

Clearly Palmer's favorite WR, Moore led all the wide-outs with seven targets. However, rarely receiving a catchable ball, Moore was only able to catch one for nine yards. The first target clearly a miscommunication as Moore ran away from the intended pass, Palmer struggled to put anything thereafter on Moore until much later in the game. After missing him badly three times on shorter routes, Palmer appeared to have Moore on a 20-yard fade. However, pass interference on the defense prevented Moore from getting his other arm extended. Moore again got behind the coverage on a 4th down pass late in the game, but Palmer slightly overthrew him, just missing a 44-yard TD connection. Moore consistently beat the coverage, but only one of his six missed targets actually touched some part of the WR's body.

WR Derek Hagan, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (2 targets)

Hagan only received two targets, both coming in the first three drives, with his lone catch going for 17 yards on a hitch. Hagan actually had the coverage beat on his initial target the Raiders' opening drive, but Palmer slightly underthrew Hagan and Patrick Robinson was able to break the pass up.

TE Brandon Myers, Rec: 6 - 55 - 1 (10 targets)

Myers led all Raiders with 10 targets and also led the team with seven catches. Definitely a safety blanket for Palmer, Myers was consistently targeted on nearly every drive. It was Myers who Palmer was targeting on his first INT when Malcolm Jenkins beat the TE to the spot on the in. Myers didn't do a great job boxing Jenkins out nor did Palmer do a good job looking the coverage off, allowing the DB to make the play. After picking up a big 3rd down early in the drive, it was Myers who Palmer looked to in the end zone on the Raiders' first trip into the red zone. However, Myers couldn't make the catch. Even worse, the pass ricocheted off Myer's facemask and fell right into Roman Harper's hands for the INT. Clearly dejected on the sideline after the drop, Palmer gave Myers a chance to redeem himself on the following drive. With Palmer rolling right, Myers snuck off the line and found a void in the zone. Palmer put it on him and this time Myers secured the catch for a one-yard TD. Myers best catch came on the final drive, helping set up one final TD. Working over the middle, Palmer's throw was high, but Myers elevated and extended pulling the catch in for 27 yards, looking quite athletic in the process.