05 November 2006

Soundly Answering the Critics: Saints 31 Bucs 14

Drew Brees picked apart the Buccaneers today.
Stats: 24 of 32, 314 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs

The best way to respond to an ass kicking is to give out an ass kicking of your own. That was impressive today. Congratulations to the coaching staff for putting together an outstanding game plan. And congratulations to the Saints for playing hard and strong on both sides of the ball. I thought the Saints had a good chance of losing this week without Joe Horn and Jammal Brown. But the team responded to losing two integral parts of its successful passing game by having its most efficient air performance this season.

So the Saints are 6 and 2 on the season at the halfway point. They're 3 and 1 against the South, which is huge in tie breakers. They also have a huge 2-game lead in the division. You can do the math. If the Saints go 4-4 in the second half (which is definitely within reach), they finish the season 10-6. The Panthers and Falcons would have to go 6-2 to tie them. And even if they caught the Saints, 10-6 should be enough for a wild card.

I'm feeling pretty good about the Saints chances right now.

  • Have you ever seen a better single-game performance by a Saints quarterback than the one Drew Brees had today. If you can, they're probably on one hand.
  • The Saints defense didn't give up a first down for the first 25 minutes of the game.
  • Except for the final 5 minutes of the first half, the Saints defense had one of their best performances ever. For the other 55 minutes, the Saints gave up 80 yards of offense.
  • Marques Colston: 11-123-1
  • Devery Henderson: 3-111-2. That's how you step up for Joe Horn.
  • The Saints' offensive line (with Zach Strief starting at left tackle) didn't give up a sack.
  • Great game-planning by the offense. The RBs helped out Strief on the left side, and the designed roll-outs to the right side were brilliant.
  • Will Smith: 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
  • Scott Shanle: 8 tackles
  • Saints offense: 0 turnovers
  • The Saints couldn't run the ball.
  • Reggie Bush: 11 carries, minus-5 yards
  • Fred Thomas got burned on Joey Galloway's first touchdown.
  • The Saints gave up a touchdown on the two-minute-drill in the first half.
  • Drew Brees (and the Saints in general) had a really, really bad 2nd quarter.
  • The Saints still can't force turnovers. Their only turnover this week came in garbage time.
  • Why was Scott Fujita covering Joey Galloway on the second touchdown?
  • Back-to-back 5 yard penalties on offense on first down on the first drive of the second half. It's hard to have a successful drive when you're starting out 1st and 15.
Next week, Pittsburgh. Who would have thought when the season began that the Saints would be EXPECTED to beat them? Strange season, but I like it so far.
WRITER'S POST-SCRIPT: The Saints do indeed have a 2 game lead over the Falcons, by virtue of the head-to-head victory. That rematch in Atlanta in 3 weeks is going to be HUGE.


At November 06, 2006 3:49 PM, Blogger dillyberto said...

I have colleagues, if you call them such, in my fantasy football leagues heavily critical of Reggie.

I am holding out judgement on him as he is a rookie.

Drew would be the one I'd be critical of if there is any place to criticize. He was signed as a proven product.

I just can't handle all of the negative press a good-hearted kid like Reggie is getting.

Perhaps it is motivational for him.

At November 06, 2006 5:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Clio said...

That game in Atlanta in three weeks is huge only if we lose it. If we win, I think we will have effectively closed out the Falcons' season.

At November 06, 2006 6:19 PM, Blogger Fitch N. DarDar said...

I think it's just a backlash against ESPN's "coronation" of Reggie Bush as "The Greatest Running Back in Football History." It's not Reggie himself. The media created unrealistic expectations, basically because of their love affair with everything USC. He hasn't struggled any more than Williams, Young and Leinart. But everybody knew they would struggle early. If you believed the ESPN "experts," he was going to be an All-Pro right out the gates. So he's struggling like every other rookie, but he's getting trashed for it.

But, with all that being said, he does need to attack the holes instead of running sideways.

And, half the time, there's always a guy in his face when he gets the ball. Or, the blocker throws a half-ass block like Joe Horn did on Adalius Thomas last week or Mike Karney did this week.

At November 06, 2006 9:15 PM, Blogger Patrick Armstrong said...

RE: the Georgia Dome game. Many Georgia and Atlanta fans I know were not happy with the Monday Night Game of yore. Even if Atlanta plays its way out of contention for the playoffs, they will be looking for some serious revenge, talking some serious smack and the fans will be rocking that building pretty hard.

For the Dirty Birds, it may mean making a wild card. For the Saints, this game may mean home field advantage. Put that in your pipe and smoke it for 'huge game' between divisional rivals.

At November 06, 2006 11:36 PM, Anonymous ashley said...

Patrick: I'm glad the Georgians weren't happy with the loss. They need to get used to it.

This is our destiny.


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