This week’s win against the Carolina Panthers once again underlined the depth of the Saints roster and the total team effort it takes to win games this deep into the season. So without further ado please step forward Mr Underdog, Saint of the Week himself Anthony Hargrove:
Anthony Hargrove Saints Defensive Tackle - Hargrove was required to fill the big shoes of much missed and injured Sedrick Ellis, and he did this with some aplomb. After finding himself, and the rest of the run defence, culpable for an early 66 yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams, Hargrove set about solidifying the Saints soft under belly to keep the score competitive. He was able to fill the middle channels forcing Williams and Stewart into congestion and slowing down the Panthers progress. Yes he got penalised for a stupid penalty early on but he learnt from it and applied himself diligently to the team cause. This high work rate was later rewarded with a forced fumble recovery for a touchdown late in the 4th to see out the Saints win.
Without such a telling contribution from the Saints number 69 the game could have gotten away from us and Saints fans would now be saying prayers to the Gods of injury to get Sedrick Ellis back and healthy soon. As it stands we've found a willing and hard working down veteran lineman in Anthony Hargrove, a valuable addition to the roster. We'll still pray for Sedrick Ellis as we love the big man but at least Hargrove has proven he can fill the big mans shoes.
And the Runners Up are:
Robert Meachem Wide Receiver - With Marques Colston dropping his fair share of passes it was left to number 17 to spare the Saints receiving corps blushes with a stellar performance. His 54 yard touchdown catch and run to close out the 3rd Quarter and level the scores was a key moment in the game. He finished with 5 receptions for 98 yards and 1 TD. He was only narrowly shaded out by Anthony Hargrove for the Saint of the Week award and should feel himself hard done by - hey what can I say? I love the under under dog!
Jermon Bushrod Saints Tackle - Bushrod kept Panthers legend Julius Peppers quiet all game. Not once did I see or hear anything of the pass rushing All Pro beyond his introduction at the start of the game. For a lineman to so totally shut down such a great player is work indeed and Bushrod deserves huge helpings of praise for his efforts.
Will Smith Defensive End - Again the Hollywood moonlighting defensive end brought the outside pressure to register two important sacks and further reclaim his Saints sack king crown. I for one am glad to see the big man dominating opposing linemen. His sack in the 2nd Quarter was a highlight as he walked through the Panther tackle to jump all over Jake Delhomme.
Pierre Thomas Saints Running Back - When finally given more playing time in the 4th Quarter he made some great runs to get the Saints offence going. With the Saints backed up close to their own end zone Thomas took a pass out in the flat, broke a tackle just shy of the 1st down marker and tacked on a further 6 yards. It was a heck of a second effort and indicative of the running power Thomas brings to this offence. He finished with 13 for 50 and 1 TD rushing and a further 5 for 31 receiving.
Reggie Bush Saints Running Back - Nothing flashy here but a solid performance none the less. With Jeremy Shockey taken away as a short yardage receiver Brees looked more and more to Bush in the flat and Reggie did not let him down. He picked up some useful first downs and ended up with 7 for 37 receiving and 2 for 16 on the ground.