Willie Snead up, C.J. Spiller down in Saints' loss

Willie Snead, Fletcher Cox deserve game balls

Saints WR Willie Snead and Eagles DE Fletcher Cox receive game balls from NFL Nation reporters Mike Triplett and Phil Sheridan. Snead caught six passes for 141 yards, while Cox sacked Drew Brees three times and forced him to fumble twice.

A look at the New Orleans Saints players and units who were “up” and those who were “down” in Sunday’s 39-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.


Willie Snead: Nobody came up with more clutch plays for the Saints than the first-year undrafted receiver, who caught six passes for 141 yards. Four of his catches resulted in third-down conversions. He also made a too-little, too-late 59-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Snead has clearly earned Drew Brees’ trust.

Brandin Cooks: The Saints’ top receiver finally caught his first touchdown of the season, albeit a meaningless 14-yard score as time expired. And Brees still missed on some early "shot plays" that he tried to get to his fastest weapon. But Cooks did make a few big catches early, including one for 46 yards when the game was still close. Cooks finished with a career-high 107 receiving yards.

Interceptions: The Saints also finally broke the seal with their first two interceptions of the season -- both in huge moments by cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Delvin Breaux. The picks came inside the end zone to maintain a shutout during the first 16 minutes ... before the wheels came off for the Saints’ defense.


The pass rush: Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford had way too much time to throw, which was especially frustrating, because the Saints had a chance to rattle him early while he was off-target with the two early picks. Bradford officially was sacked zero times (though one Cam Jordan sack was nullified by a penalty), and he wasn’t hit or hurried often.

The pass protection: Brees was sacked five times, lost two fumbles and threw an interception while being hit. I haven’t seen tape of every hit yet, but left tackle Andrus Peat and guards Tim Lelito and Senio Kelemete appeared to be beaten at least once each, although Brees deserves blame for holding the ball too long on at least two sacks. Peat will be credited for at least two sacks in those instances of delayed pressure. But I’m anxious to watch the tape, because Peat seemed to hold up well at other times in his NFL starting debut, often getting extra blocking help.

C.J. Spiller: What a huge disappointment on the heels of Spiller's breakout 80-yard touchdown in overtime last week. His first three touches went for negative yardage, as the Eagles defense was all over two screen-pass attempts. And he finished with just 2 yards on six touches. At one point, Brees appeared to correct Spiller for not running a desired route. Another time, Brees appeared to complain to an official when he thought Spiller was held. The Saints have to figure out how to get Spiller incorporated more consistently.