Saints vs Panthers: Inside the Game Book

Sep 16, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) is tackled by Carolina Panthers strong safety Charles Godfrey (30) as free safety Haruki Nakamura (43) helps defend. The Panthers defeated the Saints 35-27 at Bank of America Stadium . Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Continuing what will be a weekly post we look inside the Panthers game book to identify and review the telling stats. In addition to the stats NFL.com now provides certain media and bloggers access to their game book that includes snap counts by player. So in both cases we will look at these stats and snap counts and see how they changed from previous games.

Turnovers: Saints 2 Panthers 1 - Unlike last week there was only one significant turnover and that was Godfrey's pick 6 on Drew Brees in the 1st quarter. Many Panther fans feel it set the tone for the defense who then continued to play inspired ball the entire game. Brees' other INT came on their last play of the game and Newton's fumble came on a 4th down that was stopped short anyway.

Time of Possession: Saints 30:24 Panthers 29:36 I much better ratio from last week when the Bucs controlled the ball

Penalties: Saints 2 for 23 yds Panthers 4 for 34 - The Panthers had two fewer penalties than last week and didn't wipe out any scoring plays

3rd Down Conversion %: 7 for 13 (56%) 6 of 12 (50%) A much better showing from last week's 2 of 10. Though the defense gave a few too many themselves they made enough plays on 3rd down to hold the Saints under 30 points

Fun stat: The Panthers had 8 plays of 20 yards or more to the Saints 5

I'll take a look at the snap counts... after the jump...

Panthers inactives: QB Clausen, S DJ Campbell, LB Onatolu, T Campbell, G Pollack, TE Hartsock, DT Kearse.

Interesting that Garry Williams gets a jersey versus Bruce Campbell. Also, Sione Fua gets his first action of the season as Kearse sits.

Key snap count stats:

  • OL Snaps: Four starters on the offensive line played all 63 offensive snaps, up from 52 last week; Byron Bell missed four plays shaking off his ankle getting twisted - Just wait until this unit really gels
  • WR Snaps: The WR's saw reduced action this week as LaFell was less than 100% with 60 plays (95%); Smitty had 58 (92%) and Murphy 42 (67%). Pilares got a couple more snaps (5) and Armanti got in on 2 plays yet again.
  • RB Snaps: I find it surprising that even with Jonathan Stewart playing DeAngelo Williams got more snaps (25 v 21) and more carries than last week. I guess Chud got the message even though I admit you run more with a lead. Stewart played 23 snaps and Tolbert 18 to give triple trouble some balance.
  • TE Snaps: Olsen played every offensive snap but Barnidge saw only 17 snaps (27%); suggests a game plan that used fewer two TE sets than last week
  • DT Snaps: Dwan Edwards again led the DTs with 57 snaps (73%) while Ron Edwards had 35 (45%) and Sione Fua 30 (38%) from the NG spot. So we had 13 snaps with no NG in the game which my guess would be the 13 3rd and 4th downs when we put in the extra DE Frank Alexander. I hope to see more of that.
  • DE Snaps: As just mentioned Big Frank got in 30 plays which is right around where he was last week. Charles Johnson got 52 of 78 snaps (67%) while Greg The Kraken Hardy played 49 snaps (63%). Thomas Keiser got in 32 plays (41%) which is a lot more than just 3rd down. The kid just makes plays and the coaches are rewarding him.
  • LB Snaps: Beason 76 of 78 plays; Anderson got 57 (73%) with Kuechly getting 29 (37%) and T Davis 27 (35%). It would appear Kuechly lost some snaps in this weeks game plan (46 last week) to Thomas Davis. My guess is its more due to Davis playing well versus Kuechly disappointing but its only a guess.
  • DB Snaps: The four starters only missed 5 snaps total between them. Captain Munnerlyn played 51 snaps (63%) which is not surprising given it was the Saints and they were behind most of the game.
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