The New Orleans Saints christened the newly named, and now beautifully lighted on the outside, Mercedes-Benz Superdome in proper fashion by executing a near flawless game plan against their rivals from Super Bowl XLIV, the Indianapolis Colts, last night. I fully expected a double digit victory for the Saints, but I did not quite envision a college-like final score stomping of 62-7 like was witnessed nationwide on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
With or without Peyton Manning at quarterback for the Colts, it was still a very satisfying win against a team that has quite literally owned the Saints at times in the not so distant past. I’m remembering, in particular, one certain Saints home game in 2003 where Payton Manning and his Colts flat out dismantled the home-town Saints by a final score of 55-21. That was in a year of high expectations immediately following the second winning season for the Saints under new head coach Jim Haslett to start the season too. Although, having the venerable Mr. Manning standing on the sideline sending in plays to Curtis Painter last night did add a certain level of extra enjoyment for most Saints fans who remember him walking off the field in Miami at the Super Bowl after his loss to Drew Brees and the Saints without shaking anyone’s hand. I wonder how quickly he wanted to get out of his own home town after this beat-down of a loss last night?
It was a pure delight to watch the New Orleans Saints operate so smoothly without their head play-caller, and Head Coach, Sean Payton on the sideline with the rest of the team. If this was a sign of things to come for the next several weeks while Coach Payton is relegated to having his leg elevated in the booth upstairs during games, the rest of the league that is on this team’s schedule best take notice, and fast!
It was important to have Drew Brees rebound in a positive way after his 3 interception day last Sunday in Tampa. Check that task off the list with the posting of 31/35/325/5 TD’s with a completion percentage of 88.6% and a 144.9 passer rating for Mr. Cool Brees. The only thing that I can figure kept him from a perfect passer rating were the 2 sacks he endured in this one.
Field position would be an item of high importance in a home stand game after a 3-game road trip. This task was accomplished to near perfection with a total of 8 kick-offs for touch-backs and the only punt being a thing of beauty with 2:56 left in the game for 53 yards that only yielded a 13 yard return by Indianapolis to their own 29 yard line. Thomas Morstead is a one man wrecking crew on special teams for the Saints!
Running the ball effectively has been an issue for this year’s Saints team up until this contest. Finding a good balance between the run and the pass is important for the success of any great quarterback who thrives on the play-action game as much as Drew Brees does. Consider the Saints’ balance of 38 rushes for an average of 6.2 yards per carry and 35 pass attempts, only 4 of which went incompleted with none intercepted, for an average of 8.7 yards per pass in this game. If that’s not perfect balance between the run and the pass, I don’t know what is. Mark Ingram ran it 14 times for 91 yards (6.5 avg) while Darren Sproles toted the rock on the ground 12 times for 88 yards (7.3 avg), followed by PT Cruiser who got 10 carries for 57 yards (5.7 avg) and Jed Collins getting one carry for one yard and a TD! I shouldn’t even mention the reverse to Meachem for -1 yard, but I did.
Spreading the ball around is something that the Saints offense under Sean Payton and Drew Brees have always done so very well and this game was certainly no disappointment there. Eight different receivers, including all 3 RB’s, 4 WR’s and one TE (who else but Jimmy Graham?), caught passes resulting in 5 passing TD’s in this contest!
Lastly, the defense needed to step up in a big way after a disappointing performance last weekend against the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Well, they certainly were up to the task last night by constantly mixing formations up to the point of mass confusion for the opposing offense which ultimately lead to mistakes and extra opportunities for the Saints to score points. Though they were only credited with one sack, one forced fumble and one interception, they really deserve credit for the first fumble by Curtis Painter on the early snap due to the shifting defense and the interception by Leah Torrence Jr. late in the game went all the way to the house for the last 7 points scored by this Saints team in their 62-7 route of the Indianapolis Colts.
What more is there to say about this New Orleans Saints win other than Darren Sproles is incredible to watch, Drew Brees is a master of control and precision when he is on his A-game and Jimmy Graham is arguably the best tight end in the game today? I suppose it should be added, if it wasn’t already caught in a comment earlier in this write-up, that upcoming opponents need to be fully aware of the threats that this Saints team poses. Look out Bucs and Falcons! I’m talking mostly to you since you both come up soon on the schedule in quick succession before the bye in week 11.
Up next for the Saints are the Rams in St. Louis, followed by the Bucs at home and the Falcons in Atlanta, in that order, before the bye week.
Let’s GEAUX Saints!!!