Losing the way the Arizona Cardinals lost Sunday makes it tough to pick a player of the game. At 31-7, everyone must have sucked and no one should be the player of the game, right?
Wrong. Without looking at the positives in a blowout loss, we would all go insane.
We'd be Cleveland Browns fans.
So here are the candidates for the Week 3 player of the game.
Stats: 12 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 pass defended
Other than whiffing on a sure-fire interception for the second straight week, linebacker Karlos Dansby played a solid game. Saints quarterback Drew Brees targeted him 12 times in coverage, by far the most on the team, and he held his own for the most part-not allowing a reception to tight end Jimmy Graham on three targets from Brees.
Stats: 10 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass defended
Rookie defensive back Tyrann Mathieu made a third big play in as many games Sunday, an end-zone interception of Brees on the opening drive of the third quarter. He was bullied a bit by Graham, who is bigger by 10 inches and 85 pounds, but Mathieu performed valiantly, all things considered. I have a short column on his game out at Bleacher Report, which you can read here if you wish.
Stats: 3 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 hurries, 1 QB hit
Sure, he was facing an undrafted rookie right guard, but could this be the game that propels Darnell Dockett back into relevancy? We can hope. Dockett was in the backfield frequently Sunday, and he played a stout run defense as well.
Stats: 8 punts, 40.8 average, 5 inside 20, 1 touchback
You know it was a bad game when the punter is nominated for player of the game honors. It was bad, but it could have been worse if not for Dave Zastudil pinning New Orleans deep inside its own territory time and time again. I unjustly called him out on Twitter after back-to-back punts were downed outside the 10-yard line, but in my defense, we've come to expect that, haven't we? Outstanding afternoon turned in by Zasty.
Stats: 3 carries, 19 yards, 6.3 YPC; 3 receptions, 36 yards, 12.0 YPC; 1 kick return, 21 yards
Rookie running back Andre Ellington did a little of everything Sunday in New Orleans. He tied for the team lead with six targets and converted a couple first downs. Kick returning is new for him this season, but with how Javier Arenas has failed to make a big play in the return game, we may see more of Ellington back there.