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We’re nearing the end of our focus pieces from Football Outsiders www.saintscheapshops.com , which have all centered around questions related to the New Orleans Saints. The latest topic involves wide receiver Michael Thomas, who has been living up to his ‘Can’t Guard Mike’ reputation in his first two seasons.Michael Thomas is in some Top 5 wide receiver conversations, where did he shine most last season and why?It’s hard to run out of good things to say when it comes to Michael Thomas. In his second season, Thomas compiled 104 receptions for 1,245 yards and 5 touchdowns on 149 targets. It was his second straight 1,000-yard receiving season. He set the Saints single season record for receptions in 2017, surpassing Jimmy Graham’s old 2011 mark. He also set an NFL record for most receptions through the first two seasons, which was previously held by Jarvis Landry (194) from 2014-2015. Thomas also became the first Saints wide receiver to make the Pro Bowl since Joe Horn (2004).Thomas finished 6th in the NFL in receiving yardage, just 31 yards shy of Adam Thielen (1,276 yards). Ahead of Thielen and Thomas were DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Julio Jones, and Antonio Brown. Thomas did finish third in the NFL in receptions behind Larry Fitzgerald and Jarvis Landry, and also accounted for 70 Saints first downs (third-highest receiving total in league). Michael Thomas also kicked it into another gear in his first postseason action, tallying 8 receptions for 131 yards on 9 targets against the Panthers in the Wild Card win. He followed that up by having a 7-catch, 85-yard, 2-touchdown outing against a stellar Vikings defense in which he got off to a slow start.As Kacsmar mentioned, getting into the end zone more in 2018 could pole vault him into Top 5 receiver conversations more, and there’s little to suggest that Thomas can’t get there.As good as Thomas has been for the Saints, the reality is that when it comes time to lock him on his next deal, that contract will probably give him some ‘stupid money’. If Brandin Cooks can get a 6-year, $88 million deal from the Rams and Stefon Diggs can get a 5-year, $72 million extension from the Vikings New Orleans Saints T-Shirt , then how much can Michael Thomas get? The 2018 New Orleans Saints have been an enigmatic team: coming into the season with all sorts of high expectations, the Saints were thoroughly dominated by the Tampa Bay Bucs in the season opener, then squeaked by the Cleveland Browns in week two.The task was not getting any easier this afternoon in Atlanta, as the Saints faced their division archrival, the Atlanta Falcons, with each team looking to go to 2-1 and put their opponent in an early divisional hole.1st HALF The Saints came out of the gate smoking, after the Falcons had won the toss and deferred to the second half. New Orleans marched 75 yards down the field in a blink to take a 7-0 lead on a Drew Brees’ pass to Ted Ginn Jr. The Falcons would answer on their second possession, with Matt Ryan finding Calvin Ridley who abused P.J. Williams on that drive, to tie the game at 7. The Saints defense would tighten things up, with rookie Marcus Davenport notching his first NFL sack. Drew Brees and the offense would flirt with the end zone but only come up with field goals to extend the Saints lead to 13-7. In the process, Brees became the NFL all-time leader in completions when he reached 6,301, passing Brett Favre.The Falcons would wrestle the lead back in a two-play, 75-yard drive that saw Calvin Ridley continue to roast P.J. Williams, catching a 75-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan and giving Atlanta a 14-13 lead after the extra point. After a punt by the Saints, the defense forced the Falcons into a three-and-out, giving the Saints the ball back with 40 seconds left. In two passes to Alvin Kamara and Benjamin Watson, the Saints got into field goal and Wil Lutz converted a 45-yard field goal to give New Orleans a 16-14 lead at halftime.2nd HALFThe Falcons started the second half with the ball, quickly getting into the Saints red zone on a pass interference by Ken Crawley on the unstoppable Calvin Ridley. Matt Ryan would find Ridley again for a touchdown, giving the Falcons a 21-16 lead. After a punt by the Saints, the defense would step up once again and force the Falcons into a punt, which was blocked by the Saints. Craig Robertson returned the punt to Atlanta’s 16-yard line. Drew Brees would then find Cameron Meredith for his first touchdown as a Saint to put New Orleans back in front 23-21.The Falcons would not wait to respond, driving right down the field on their next possession New Orleans Saints Hats , with Matt Ryan hitting running back Tevin Coleman for a touchdown, and the Falcons converting the two-point try to retake the lead 29-23. In a game of: “anything you can do I can do better,” the Saints marched right down the field, actually mixing up the run and the pass and using a Wild Cat formation to run Taysom Hill deep into Falcons territory. On 4th and goal from the one-yard line, Drew Brees found fullback Zach Line for a touchdown and the see-saw after continued with New Orleans taking a 30-29 lead, the seventh lead change of the game.The Falcons would waste no time getting back into the Saints’ red zone on a 58-yard bomb to Julio Jones. The Saints thought they had held Atlanta to a field goal try, but a personal foul by David Onyemata who hit the center on the field goal attempt gave the Falcons a first-and-goal. On the very next play, Matt Ryan hit Mohamed Sanu for a touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion to Sanu again, to give the Falcons a 37-30 lead.What did you expect would happen? Of course, the Saints then drove right down the field and into Falcons territory on the back of runs by Alvin Kamara and Ted Ginn Jr. and they would get into the end zone with a run by none other than quarterback Drew Brees himself. Wil Lutz would tie the game at 37, with a minute and 15 seconds left in the game. The Falcons would have one last chance to go ahead, but the Saints defense stopped them to take the game into overtime.OvertimeThe Saints would win the toss and take the ball, immediately driving deep into Falcons territory. Never giving the Falcons a chance to possess the ball, New Orleans would punch it in the end zone with Drew Brees’ patented “Fleur-de-Leap” to give the good guys a 43-37 win. Phew! and WHO DAT Y’ALL, the Saints are 2-1***Below is a timeline of the game:1st QuarterFalcons win the toss and defer to the second halfBrees finds Michael Thomas for a 39-yard reception on the first playSaints get into the red zone in the blink of an eyeBrees finds Ted Ginn Jr. for a touchdownNO: 7 – ATL: 0Falcons take over at their 25-yard lineSaints defense forces the Falcons into a three-and-outSaints take over at their 21-yard lineSaints go three-and-out and have to puntFalcons take over at their 19-yard lineFalcons get into Saints territoryMatt Ryan finds Calvin Ridley for a touchdownNO: 7 – ATL: 7Saints start at their 25-yard lineSaints get into Falcons territory at the 44-yard line as the quarter ends2nd QuarterSaints’ drive stalls and they puntFalcons start at their 20-yard Marcus Davenport sacks Matt Ryan and forces the Falcons to puntSaints take over at their 38-yard line and get into Falcons territoryBrees ties Brett Favre for the all-time lead in completions in the NFL at 6,300Saints stall and Wil Lutz makes a 49-yard field goalNO: 10 – ATL: 7Falcons take over at their 25-yard lineFalcons stall and have to puntSaints take over at their 27-yard lineBrees finds Michael Thomas for apass near midfieldBrees is now the all-time leader in completions in the NFL with 6,301Saints get into the red zone on a pass to Ben WatsonSaints stall and Wil Lutz makes a 21-yard field goalNO: 13 – ATL: 7Falcons take over at their 25-yard lineMatt Ryan finds Calvin Ridley who roasts P.J. Williams again for a 75-yard touchdownNO: 13 – ATL: 14Saints Get to their 44-yard line but stallFalcons take over at their 9-yard lineFalcons go three-and-out and have to punt Saints take over at their 42-yard line with 40 seconds left in the halfSaints get into field goal range in two passes to Kamara and WatsonWil Lutz makes a 45-yard field goalNO: 16 – ATL: 143rd QuarterFalcons start at their 25-yard lineFalcons get into the red zone on a pass interference call on Calvin RidleyMatt Ryan finds Calvin Ridley for a touchdownNO: 16 – ATL: 21Saints take over at their 25-yard lineBrees gets sacked by Vic Beasley and the Saints have to puntSaints penalties mounting, giving the Falcons great field position at their 47-yard lineSaints defense stiffens and forces the Falcons to puntSaints block the punt, Craig Robertson picks it upSaints take over at the Falcons 16-yard line Brees finds Cameron Meredith for a touchdownNO: 23 – ATL: 21Falcons take over at their 17-yard lineAtlanta easily gets into Saints territory and into the red zoneFalcons are knocking at the door as the quarter ends4th QuarterMatt Ryan finds Tevin Coleman for a touchdownFalcons go for two and convert easilyNO: 23 – ATL: 29Saints take over at their 25-yard line with 14:11 left in the gameSaints use Taysom Hill in a Wild Cat formation to get into the red zoneSaints have a 4th and goal from the one-yard line and go for itBrees finds fullback Zach Line for a touchdownNO: 30 – ATL: 29Falcons take over at their 25-yard lineMatt Ryan finds Julio Jones for a 58-yard bomb right into the Saints red zoneCameron Jordan sacks Ryan on third and goalA David Onyemata personal foul gives the Falcons a first downMatt Ryan finds Mohamed Sanu for a touchdownRyan finds Sanu forthe two-point conversionNO: 30 – ATL: 37Saints take over at their 19-yard lineSaints get into the red zone in the blink of an eyeSaints have a first and goal as we hit the two-minute warningOn second and goal, Drew Brees runs into the end zone for a touchdownWil Lutz ties the game at 37 with the extra pointNO: 37 – ATL: 37Falcons take over at their 26-yard lineSaints defense forces the Falcons to puntSaints have the ball at their 13-yard line and take a kneeOvertimeTaysom Hill returns the kick to the 20-yard lineSaints get into Falcons territory and into the red zoneSaints get inside the five-yard line for a first-and -goalDrew Brees finds Alvin Kamara inside the five-yard lineBrees leaps into the end zone for a touchdownNO: 43 – ATL: 37Saints Win! Saints Win!