N.O. Saints winning with options
Over the past two seasons the New Orleans Saints’ chances of winning a football game was predicated on how well standout quarterback Drew Brees played.
In the Saints 27-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills the team found a few different options to chalk up a victory.
With heavy pressure coming from the Bills front defensive line and numerous blitzes, Brees was held in check for most of the afternoon in game No. 3 and he threw for only 172 yards and 0 touchdowns.
The Saints defeated the Bills in most part due to their ability to rush the football successfully and their defense, much maligned in the past couple of seasons, giving up only 243 yards on total offense.
The Saints have had difficulties over the past couple of seasons, due to the knee injuries sustained by Deuce McAllister, to be able to muster up a potent ground attack. But even without Mike Bell in the lineup, the Saints rushed for 222 yards on 38 carries against the Bills.
The star of the rushing attack was Pierre Thomas, who did not carry the football one time in the first half, but he got the Saints offense cranked up in the second half by rushing for 128 yards on 14 carries and 2 touchdowns.
While the Saints offensive line struggled at times to successfully keep a heavy pass rush off of Brees they did an outstanding job blowing open holes for Thomas, Reggie Bush and Lynell Hamilton and the trio averaged over five and half yards per carry against a defense that had been very stout in run defense over the first two games of the season.
Even more surprising was the play of the Saints defense.
While the defense bent at times they did not give up the big play to Bills quarterback Trent Edwards and his one-two explosive punch of Terrell Owens and Lee Evans at wide receiver.
Owens saw his 185-game consecutive catch streak come to an end against the Saints and the speedy Evans caught 4 passes for only 31 yards.
Name the last time a Saints defense held a starting duo at receiver to just 4 catches for 31 yards?
The Saints defensive front gave Edwards trouble most of the evening sacking him four times, picking off one of the passes and they forced the Bills to punt the ball nine times.
The more impressive stat of the day is the fact that the Bills could only convert two of their 14 third-down opportunities.
Despite not putting up pinball-type numbers via the air the Saints won a game on the road and did it the old fashion way with a rushing attack and a very tough defense.
Who would have dreamed that this game would have been won in this manner?
The impressive 3-0 start for the Saints is also making history in the NFL. In the modern day history of the NFL only one team, the 1966 Dallas Cowboys, have scored more points in the opening three weeks of the season than the Saints number of 123.
Winning in the NFL, especially on the road is tough, but a 3-0 start has Saints fans now talking about a possible Super Bowl run and while it is early, it is realistic.
Posting a win without having a player like Drew Brees at his best is something very few clubs in the NFL have the option of doing when their star quarterback is “off” his game.
We all know Brees will for the most part carry this offense on his back for the majority of the 2009 season, but against the Bills the heavy lifting was done by the running game and a very solid defense.
Now bring on the J-E-T-S!
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