Saints fans rest for BYE
First of all the Saints got thoroughly beaten by the Carolina Panthers 30-7 on Oct. 19, then during the contest Reggie Bush, who was the team’s biggest playmaker on offense other than Drew Brees, injured his knee and is now lost for three to five weeks. But the football nuclear bomb went off last Friday morning.
A report out of Denver stated that three members of the New Orleans Saints, defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant, along with halfback Deuce McAllister had tested positive for a banned NFL substance the three used to take weight off.
Even the most ardent Saints fans had to feel a shiver down the back of their spine to imagine what would happen next.
And what happened was a terrific performance again by the best player in the NFL today, quarterback Drew Brees, and the aging veteran running back, Deuce McAllister, who proved he still has plenty of gas left in his football tank.
In a game in which 81 passes were thrown between both Brees and San Diego Chargers signal-caller Philip Rivers, it was Brees who put together a brilliant performance against his old football team.
Brees shredded a shaky-at-best Charger secondary for 339 yards, three touchdown passes and 30 of 41 pass completions.
Maybe the best running back in the game today, Charger All-Pro halfback LaDainian Tomlinson said it best after the game, “I was just waiting for the ball to hit the ground when Drew was out there. He is a remarkable football player and you could tell this game had special meaning to him.”
Indeed it did, but it was also special for Deuce McAllister.
The former All-Pro halfback has sat in silence for weeks waiting for his chance to prove to the coaches and anyone who doubted he could still play at a very high level and that he still has the right stuff.
Against the Chargers, McAllister rushed for 55 yards on 18 carries and one score, and he also caught four passes for 30 yards.
As I said last week in this same space it is unfair to put the full load on offense on the shoulders of Drew Brees week in, week out, but if he doesn’t play great the Saints don’t win. A good effort will just not do it.
But now he is starting to get some help as McAllister seems to be getting back his running groove and standout wide receiver Marques Colston is getting healthier each day after undergoing thumb surgery.
There is no question that each week due to a leaky Saints secondary and the lack of a consistent pass rush New Orleans will get into shootout-type games, but I would rather have Drew Brees running the offensive show more now than anyone else in the NFL today.
A 4-4 record is not great and it still is a steep climb to get back into the playoff picture, but the air is cooler, the atmosphere is much better and the optimism for the 2008 season is looking up after a win.
A loss against the Chargers and the thought of playing 4 games without the services of Smith, Grant and McAllister would have been hard to live with for the next two weeks.
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