I don't know about the rest of you, but I have gotten a little bit disappointed in the Times Picayune's coverage of the Saints. The articles just don't seem to have that flair anymore, and an elite team should be covered with more enthusiasm. This is a recap of the game that I have put together, and hopefully the good readers of CSC enjoy the article. If I can see enough enthusiasm for this post, maybe I will make this recap a weekly routine. Make the jump and enjoy.
Whistle-blows, headshots, Roman Harper, and other general controversy aside, the New Orleans Saints braced themselves for the Tennessee Titans’ best shot, absorbed it about as gracefully as a boxer who just took an uppercut straight to the jaw, and still had one more swing left in them.
"It was a gut-check win for us," said Head Coach Sean Payton. "We just kept fighting and won a good game on the road against a good team."
For three quarters, it looked like the Saints were still hamstrung by those road demons that had doomed them previously in Green Bay, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis. Poor red-zone execution, a general out-of-sync feeling, and some unfortunate calls (though, as a friend of mine did say, great teams don’t let the game come down to that) beleaguered New Orleans’ high octane offense and Warren Sapp said it all. "This is a different team on the road." Plain and simple. Or so it seemed.
However Brees wasn’t about to let it all go for naught, especially on a day when Chicago and San Francisco would both lose. Not when he was thrown down to the ground late in the first quarter but only had a chunk of grass to show for it. Not when his stud tight end Jimmy Graham was slowed by back spasms and questions were swirling about Brees’ effectiveness without Graham. As he showed during the Texans game in Week 3 and has shown all season, there are three cardinal sins in football- kicking to Devin Hester, underestimating Tim Tebow, and ticking off Drew Brees. The star quarterback flipped on the switch in the 4th quarter as he connected with Marques Colston twice, once on a beauty over the shoulder of Colston that proved all the reasons why he [Brees] is elite. On the other touchdown, which was just as indefensible, Colston elevated and plucked a 35-yard bomb out of the air, falling into the confines of the end zone, only part of his 105-yard day.
"Drew knows how to dissect a defense," stated a disconsolate Michael Griffin, safety for the newly shredded Titans.
As excellent as Brees was on a day when he extended his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 40, one could have made the argument that Chris Johnson was rendered just as ineffective. By the very same Saints defense that put Tennessee 4 yards away from a win with 7 seconds to go. Eleven carries for twenty-three yards is probably more than the Titans were hoping for in a statement game for them. However the Saints defense zoned in on CJ2K, forced someone else to beat them, and the whole strategy almost backfired in Gregg Williams’ face as Locker threw his way to the Saints 4 yard line. But one Tracy Porter pass breakup and a Jo-Lonn Dunbar sack later, New Orleans had won its sixth consecutive game.
The game was not without its rough patches however, as there were numerous penalties on both teams. Darren Sproles, the Saints’ diminutive all-purpose back, had a whirling, spinning, touchdown called back due to a hold, as were several of New Orleans’ long runs. There was a facemask on Roman Harper as well which culminated in a mini-skirmish in the fourth quarter. Nate Washington, the victim of said facemask certainly did not approve, as he called out Harper for being a flat-out dirty player in the post game press conference.
Yet, after 60 minutes of roughshod football, the New Orleans Saints finally picked up a road win against a quality opponent, and find themselves in the playoffs, staring the #2 seed in the face.