This week’s win against the Carolina Panthers once again underscored the depth of the Saints’ roster and the total team effort it takes to win games this far into the season. So, without further ado, step up Mr. Underdog, Anthony Hargrove’s own Saint of the Week:
Saints defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove – Hargrove was required to fill the big shoes of the much-missed and injured Sedrick Ellis, and he did so with a certain amount of aplomb. After finding himself, and the rest of the run defense, guilty of a 66-yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams, Hargrove set out to solidify the Saints to keep the score competitive. He did this by filling up the middle channels, forcing Williams and Stewart into congestion and slowing the Panthers’ progress. Yes, he was penalized for a stupid penalty early on, but he learned from it and diligently applied himself to the team’s cause. This high work rate was later rewarded with a forced fumble recovery for a touchdown late in the quarter to see the Saints win.
Without such a telling contribution from the Saints’ number 69, the game might have slipped away from us and Saints fans would now be praying to the injury gods for Sedrick Ellis to return and be healthy soon. As it stands, we’ve found a willing and hard-working veteran lineman in Anthony Hargrove, a worthy addition to the roster. We’ll still pray for Sedrick Ellis as we love the great man, but at least Hargrove has shown that he can fill the great man’s shoes.
And the finalists are:
Wide Receiver Robert Meachem – With Marques Colston dropping his fair share of passes, he stayed at number 17 to prevent the Saints from receiving body flushes with a stellar performance. His 54-yard sack and touchdown run to close out the third quarter and level the scores was a key moment in the game. He finished with 5 receptions for 98 yards and 1 TD. Anthony Hargrove narrowly edged him out for Saint of the Week and he should feel bad about… hey, what can I say? I love the under dog!
Jermon Bushrod Saints Inlet – Bushrod kept Panthers legend Julius Peppers silent throughout the game. Not once did I see or hear anything from the All Pro rushing pass beyond the introduction of him early in the game. For a lineman to completely shut out a great player is work, and Bushrod deserves high praise for his efforts.
Will Smith defensive end – Once again, Hollywood’s moonlighting defensive end brought the outside pressure to record two big sacks and further reclaim his sack king crown from the Saints. For my part, I’m glad to see the big man dominate opposing linemen. His sack in the second quarter was a highlight as he plowed through the Panther tackle to pounce on Jake Delhomme.
Pierre Thomas Santos Broker – When finally given more playing time in the fourth quarter, he made some great runs to get the Saints’ offense going. With the Saints backed up near their own end zone, Thomas caught a flat pass, broke up a tackle just before the first down marker, and scored another 6 yards. It was a great second effort and indicative of the run power Thomas brings to this offense. He finished 13 of 50 and 1 TD rushing and another 5 of 31 receiving.
Reggie Bush Santos Runner – Nothing flashy here, but a solid performance nonetheless. With Jeremy Shockey out at short-range receiver, Brees increasingly looked at Bush on the floor and Reggie didn’t let him down. He got some useful first downs and finished 7-of-37 receiving and 2-of-16 rushing.