Damn it feels good to be a Saints fan. This s*** is fun, right? Normally this is where I do my usual 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" post-game wrap-up. But other than John Kasay's missed field goal and the questionable Unnecessary Roughness penalty on Roman Harper there isn't much to complain about. It's all good. So why be negative at a time like this?
Truth is, the Vikings never had a chance in this game. Not with the Saints defense playing inspired football like they did yesterday, holding the Vikings to just 207 yards of total offense. We knew the game plan was going to be shut down running back Adrian Peterson (10 carries for 60 yards) and with the exception of that 39-yard third down run, they were absolutely successful, just as they were last week against Chris Johnson. Hey, does your team have a marquee running back? You don't say? Well guess what: Gregg Williams don't give a s***.But the awesomeness didn't stop there. No,no, no. The Saints defense looked solid on the back end as well, limiting the Vikes to just 102 yards passing, led by the dread-less Patrick Robinson at cornerback, like some sort of bizarro Samson. Guess those dreads were really holding him back. Roman Harper also turned in yet another great performance. And as if all that wasn't wonderful enough, the defensive line went above and beyond the call of duty by getting good pressure on Christian Ponder and recording three sacks (Charleston, Galette, Johnson).
Even when the Saints started the game in self-destruct mode with two turnovers courtesy of a Jimmy Graham fumble and a botched snap, both in Minnesota territory, the Vikings were only able to get six points. Only if they had blocked the field goals could the Saints have done a better job of limiting the damage from those two mistakes. That should give you some sense as to how well the Saints defense was able to simply shut it down.
But wait, there's more! Because that's just one side of the football. It should be no surprise that the Saints were equally dominant on offense, who amassed 573 total yards. Move along, nothing to see here. Just the usual Jimmy Graham/Darren Sproles/Marques Colston show we've all seen before, with a special guest appearance by Lance Moore and his silly touchdown dance of the week. I don't think Lance was expecting to score twice so he had just a disappointing little shiver move in the end zone for his second act of the afternoon. He's gonna need to get that worked out before playoff time.
And directing this show with great aplomb was the one and only Drew Brees (32/40, 412 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs) of course, at least until the game was out of reach and he was pulled in favor of Chase Daniel late in the game. Drew put together yet another one of those masterful performances that leaves you to wonder whether he is, in fact, human or a cyborg sent from a football league in the not-so-distant future. He even made a diving tackle to save a touchdown on that botched snap.
When he's on his game like he was yesterday afternoon, no defense can be expected to stop the Brees train. But it's always tougher to do when the Saints offensive line dominates in the pass blocking department and Brees had plenty of time to do whatever the hell he wanted back there in the pocket yesterday. Opponents really need a dominant defensive end, a player capable of leading the league in sacks, who could put lots of pressure on Brees all day and disrupt his timing. If only the Vikings had someone like that on their roster. Hmmm... I didn't see any player like that out there yesterday, did you? Didn't think so.
Sure, Aaron Rodgers may be the clear front-runner for league MVP this year but if there were an award for MVP of just the second half of the season, it would definitely have to be given to Brees. Dude is en fuego. In the last five games he's thrown 16 TDs, 0 INTs for a QB rating of 125.1. Ridiculous. And no need to worry about all the records he's been chasing, they were all broken or kept alive and well for breaking at a later date. You need a record broken? I know a guy. 41 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, 11th 300-yard passing game of the season (NFL record), 7th 350-yard game of the season (NFL record), first quarterback in NFL history to complete 80+ percent of his passes and throw for at least 400 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions in a game, new franchise record set for touchdowns in a season and he's now within striking distance of the Marino single-season passing record. He needs only 305 more yards, which he will easily surpass next week against the Falcons on Monday Night Football in front of his home crowd and a national audience. High five!
Okay, so the Saints beat up on the lowly Vikings. Big deal. That's now three wins over Minnesota in as many years. The Saints obviously have their number. But what's really got me tingly in my pants right now is the simple fact that our favorite NFL team is now on a six-game winning streak, playing their best football when it matters most and looking a lot like their 2009 ass-kicking self, but with a better quarterback.
What's been key for the Saints during this current run has been consistency. They're winning at home, they're winning on the road. They're doing it with offense, they're doing it with defense. They're playing up to quality opponents, and disciplined enough to stay at that level against lesser teams. In short, the Saints are back in contender mode and yesterday we saw Green Bay can be beaten. The fun is only just beginning in Who Dat Nation.