Both teams needed a win on Monday Night, but only one could come out as the victor. Drew Brees was looking to exorcise some demons against the Ravens and get his team back on track at home in prime-time. The Ravens were trying to stay in contention with a very tight AFC North and continue to dominate the struggling NFC South. Here’s 5 important takeaways from the Monday Night matchup between the Ravens and Saints.

1. Drew Brees Remains Winless Versus Ravens

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The Baltimore Ravens are the only NFL team that the Super Bowl MVP and future Hall of Fame Quarterback has not yet beaten. The Ravens and Saints only face one another every 4 years; Could Brees retire before he’s given another chance to get that W? Brees accumulated over 400 passing yards (420) in the game on Monday Night which was his 11th 400+ yard game (third all-time in the NFL behind Peyton Manning and Dan Marino). But like Dan Marino, big passing numbers doesn’t always equal victories.

2. Saints Home Prime-time Streak Ends At 12

“Our fans always seem to rise to the occasion. Our team always seems to rise to the occasion. We need it more than ever right now.”
-Drew Brees on playing at home in prime-time.

The Saints, prior to this 3-game losing streak, were on an 11-game win streak at home. That may be a sign of a decline for a struggling Saints team but they’ve always risen to the occasion in prime-time. Drew Brees and the Saints don’t just win at home in prime-time, they do so routinely scoring 40+ points and winning by 20. There are clearly many factors that lead to a Ravens victory on Monday night, including the Bye Week prep time for Baltimore and the depleted secondary of New Orleans, but the Saints just don’t lose in prime-time. Now they have.

3. Forsett Has Another Standout Performance

The journeyman Runningback has played for 5 different teams, including the Colts, Seahawks, Texans, and Jacksonville before settling in Baltimore for the 2014 season. If not for the off-season Ray Rice incident, the Ravens may not have signed Forsett and he may have remained on the bench and not been given a chance to shine. Let’s think about that for a second. This is a guy who was cut by one of the perennial worst-teams-in-football in Jacksonville, backed up guys like Ben Tate and Arian Foster in Houston and Marshawn Lynch in Seattle. He’s never really been given a full chance to be the number one guy. Now, in Baltimore, he’s been given that chance with Ray Rice getting suspended and then cut from the roster and Bernard Pearce not performing/injured.

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4. Steve Smith Still Owns The NFC South

Steve Smith Sr. has played out of his mind in games against opponents in his former division, the NFC South. It all started when he was released by the Carolina Panthers. Smith felt disrespected. He signed with Baltimore and it just so happened he’d be given the chance to play against his former team this season in September. The Ravens have swept the NFC South this year with the help of Smith having great performances and averaging over 20 yards per reception. Smith had 7 receptions for 139 yards with 2 touchdowns vs. Carolina and 5 catches for 110 and a touchdown vs. Tampa. Those numbers dropped of slightly against the Falcons with only 3 receptions for 67 yards and no touchdowns. On Monday Night, Smith rebounded with 4 catches, 89 yards and a touchdown. It goes without saying, Smith has proven to his former team (who went 12-4 last year with Smith but a struggling in 2014 with a record of 3-7-1) that they made a mistake and to his former division (in which no team has over 4 wins) that, at 35 years-old, he’s still the boss.

5. Terrell Suggs Hits A Milestone

Sitting at 99.5 sacks in his career and 5 on the season, Terrell Suggs avoided answering questions about reaching the 100-sack mark like a pitcher looking at a no-hitter. On Monday Night, Suggs got to Drew Brees after forcing LT Terron Armstead backward, collapsing the pocket around the QB for his 100.5th career sack in his 12-year career. He doesn’t have to worry about a jinx anymore. Suggs joins 30 other players who have reached this milestone and increases his tally as the Ravens all-time franchise sack leader.

Note: Suggs’ fellow outside lineback Elvis Dumervill had 2 sacks on Monday night giving him 12.5 total sacks on the season through 11 games. He is on pace to break the long-standing Ravens single-season sack record held by Peter Boulware with 15 in 2001.
 


 

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