NEW ORLEANS (31) d SAN DIEGO (24)
The Headline: Brees gets his moment to shine in the Saints first win
After an offseason filled with turmoil, this was a nice way to turn things around for the Saints after their 0-4 start. With their suspended off field personnel allowed back into the Superdome for one night only, they saw their franchise player Drew Brees break Jonny Unitas’s half century old NFL record for passing touchdowns in consecutive games. Going into the game there were big questions as to how the winless Saints could have been favoured against the previously 3-1 Chargers but on this night they showed flashes of why they have been so successful over the last few years. It was Drew Brees’s night as he threw a touchdown pass for the 48th consecutive game in the first quarter, received his congratulations from the crowd then set about earning his team’s first win of the season. Of course it was not all positive news to come out of this game as there were a series of questionable calls from the referees as the Chargers were trying to tie the game up as well as a questionable roughing the passer call which turned momentum in the Saints favour during the third quarter. It was not easy for the Saints, they were made to work at home by the Chargers but they were finally rewarded as they were able to get that crucial first win of the year, while a playoff push may be a reach still, the Saints now have something to build on for the second quarter of the season.
Key Stat: New Orleans: 1 rushing first down, 19 passing first downs
It will always amaze me how much the Saints are relying on their passing game to have success but this total borders on absurd. Everything in this offense runs through Drew Brees and his right arm which to me says that when you take the term “MVP” in its most literal sense, he most certainly has to be among the three most valuable players to his team in the league.
Key Play: Phillip Rivers strip sacked by Wilson to end the Chargers final drive.
Despite an insane amount of penalties disrupting the final drive of the Chargers, they somehow found themselves 33 yards away from the end zone and the tying touchdown. An incomplete pass to Ryan Matthews gave the Chargers 3rd and 10, and as Cris Collinsworth had just pointed out on the call, left tackle Jared Gaither was struggling with injuries and was unable to move. Saints end Martez Wilson took full advantage of Gaither’s incapacitation running right past the big blocker and blindsiding Rivers forcing the ball out of his hands before recovering the loose ball to seal the Saints win.
Man of the Match: Drew Brees
29/45, 370 yards and 4 touchdowns
As has been the case for most of his time in New Orleans, Drew Brees had to carry the Saints offense on his back as he tries to outscore the other team with minimal support from his running game. This year, with their defense seemingly in a state of disarray, that task is even tougher for Brees but on this night where he has already received so many congratulations for his achievements, allow me to add another one for his stellar showing in this game.