Panthers 17 @ Saints 45: The View from Section 140

Happy Drew Year!!!

Well, that'll do it folks. Stick a fork in the 2011 Saints regular season because it's officially in the books. The record books that is. With 617 yards of total offense in their 45-17 win against the Carolina Panthers, the Saints put the exclamation point on their record-breaking year in fitting fashion.

And damn if it wasn't a fine season. Possibly even better than 2009. Possibly even the best ever. I don't know, we'll certainly have to talk about that but you might have a hard time convincing me otherwise. Either way, the Saints finish the year with a 13-3 record overall and just about every other offensive record you could possibly think of. Just in case you missed it, here's a quick rundown of all the good ones:

  • 7,474 - NFL record for total yards gained in a season
  • 5,347 - NFL record for most net passing yards in a season
  • 329 points - NFL record for most points at home in a season
  • 472 - NFL record for most completed passes
  • 71.3% - NFL record for highest completion percentage in a season.
  • 416 - NFL record for most first downs in a season
  • 280 - NFL record for most passing first downs in a season
  • 6 - NFL record for fewest fumbles in a season
  • 56.7% - NFL record for highest third-down conversion percentage in a season (since 1991)
  • 547 - Franchise record for most points in a season

Suck on that, 2000 Rams! The Bayou Wrecking Krewe is here to stay. And let's not forget about the sweet individual records we saw get broken yesterday by Darren Sproles (NFL record for all-purpose yards in a single season with 2,969) and Jimmy Graham (NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end in a single season with 1,310), though Graham would quickly get eclipsed by New England's Rob Gronkowski, giving Graham another record for shortest time actually holding an NFL record.

Speaking of Jimmy Graham, did you see his sick one-handed grab? It's almost as if he's using skills learned while playing another sport to help him excel on the football field, even though he's got relatively little experience. Wait...didn't Graham play basketball in college at some point? Someone should look into that because there might be a correlation. I'm just thinking out loud here.

Let's take a moment to give the defense a little love, too. Sometimes they can be frustrating to watch with all the yardage they give up, I know, but when it really matters most they always come up with the big play and/or the big stop. So no more negative talk about these guys, alright? Besides, opponents are going to need to put up at least 40 points if they hope to have a chance against the Saints at home. Good luck with that, loser.

Plain and simple, the Saints are the hottest team in football top to bottom. And now that all those records are out of the way, it's time for the team to focus squarely on kicking some playoff ass. If you're a Saints fan, you can't be any more pleased with this team right now. If you're the Detroit Lions, you should be kissing your season goodbye.

Here are the rest of my thoughts and opinions from my time at the Saints final regular season game of the 2011 season:

  • The team announced the special teams starters for a change. Don't think I remember them ever doing that.
  • I think the black jerseys with the gold pants may be my favorite uniform color combination.
  • Disney's Imagination Movers sang the National Anthem.
  • Jermon Bushrod led the pre-game Who Dat chant.
  • Before introducing the Saints at the start of the second half, the in-stadium announcer let the crowd know the Saints offense had broken the NFL's single-season total yardage record. Their 617 yards of total offense yesterday was also a franchise record.
  • The team also made announcements after Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles broke their records.
  • The crowd got the wave started late in the 3rd quarter.
  • Jeremy Shockey caught a few passes early in the game and was booed by the crowd after each one.
  • I'm convinced Drew Brees is intentionally throwing to Marques Colston more than usual simply for the purpose of making him look good and padding his stats so Colston will command the big bucks in his next contract. I would have liked to see Jimmy Graham get some of Colston's targets instead so he could have owned the tight end receiving yards record. Marques finished the game with 7 catches for 145 yards and 2 TDs.
  • The defense definitely seems to be coming up with more turnovers, and just in time for the playoffs. Patrick Robinson made an incredible interception in the back of the end zone, keeping his toes in bounds with fancy footwork. He's still the only defensive back who can catch a damn ball. Then Tracy Porter recovered a Steve Smith fumble forced by Isa Abdul-Quddus.
  • Ladies and Gentleman, we had an Adrian Arrington sighting. He caught one pass early for 17 yards and took a serious hit after making the catch. Good for him for holding onto the ball. Like the woman sitting behind me said when it happened, "Welcome to the NFL, Adrian."
  • Also seen during this game: Devery Henderson. He had 2 catches for 48 yards plus an end around run for 9 yards.
  • Steve Smith is one loud-mouthed son of a gun. He was often showing off or running his mouth after making a play and following one catch near the Saints sideline, he mouthed-off at practically the entire team. I don't think they liked it.
  • The halftime entertainment was a Christmas-themed dance by the Junior Saintsations.
  • Chris Ivory ran incredibly well yesterday (19 carries, 127 yards, 1 TD), putting together the first 100-yard rushing game by a Saints running back this season. Talk about Drew Brees and the Saints passing attack all you want, but you'd be foolish to sleep on their rushing attack.
  • Both Thomas Morstead and Pam Oliver acknowledged the crowd when fans yelled out their names. Morstead had plenty of time to interact with fans since he only had to punt once and that didn't come until the middle of the 4th quarter.
  • The Saints finish the regular season a perfect 8-0 at home.
  • Jonathan Casillas, Robert Meachem and Will Herring all walked into the locker room with injuries during the game but, with the possible exception of Casillas, none appear to be serious.
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