New Orleans Saints defeat Jaguars 41 - 24
The Saints have fought their way back to the .500 mark, but now with 8 games left in the season the boys in black and gold are (4-4) and they are just a hair away from the first place club in the NFC South Division, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sport a 5-4 win/loss mark.
Anytime you get a win in the NFL it is a huge accomplishment, but it was the way the Saints defeated the Jaguars that really stood out. For the seventh straight week the Saints defense held an opponent to under 100 yards rushing and in this contest it was against the fourth best rushing team in the NFL.
Even more impressive was the fact that the Saints starting defensive tackle Brian Young had to miss the game when his injured knee flared up on him the night before the Jaguars contest.
The Saints held the Jaguars to just 88 yards rushing on 23 attempts and they forced young quarterback Quinn Gray to beat them and he just didn’t get the job done.
While Gray did throw for 354 yards, 80 of those yards came on a blown coverage midway into the first quarter when he hit wide receiver Reggie Williams for a score, a lot of those yards he compiled were when the game was well out of reach.
Gray, was forced to throw the ball way too times, 33 overall, and three of his throws went for interceptions, included in that mix was Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie’s 75-yard interception return for a touchdown.
But the story Sunday was the tremendous play of the Saints offensive line and quarterback Drew Brees. With very little pressure on him Brees lit-up the Jaguars defense for 445 passing yards and 3 touchdown passes.
Brees, who completed 35 of his 49 throws, (he threw the ball 37 times in the first half) took on an aggressive approach when attacking one of the best defensive fronts in the league and he distributed the ball to 9 different receivers during the contest.
But it was the continuing story of the Brees-Marques Colston show that appeared again for the second straight week. Colston caught 10 of Brees’ throws for 159 yards and over the past two weeks the angular wide-out has caught 18 passes for 244 yards and 3 touchdowns.
And let’s not forget the Saints offensive line which gave up only 1 quarterback sack in 49 pass attempts and they also opened up running holes for Reggie Bush to rush for 72 yards on 17 carries and the Saints backs averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
The real story of this football contest was the fact that the New Orleans Saints football team played with the same sort of confidence we all saw back in 2006 and was missing early on in the 2007 season.
In the NFL you are what your record says you are and right now the Saints are a .500 football team in the NFL, but they are a red-hot .500 football team with the St. Louis Rams, Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons next on the schedule.
I know that head coach Sean Payton does not want this football team to get too overconfident in themselves and stated after the game to the team:
“Don’t eat the cheese,” a metaphor for what people outside say about the Saints after an impressive win.
With Drew Brees playing at a very high level and the Saints defensive front seven playing better than anyone would have anticipated, you can understand the catch-phrase, ‘They’re back.’
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