Saints News, 9/23/13: Undefeated Saints Stand Alone Atop NFC South

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

After their 31-7 defensive domination of the Cardinals yesterday, the Saints now have a 2-game lead in their division. Yeah, it's still early in the season, there are many more games to play, and we haven't even hit the hardest stretch of the season yet (weeks 11-13 with be brutal!). Still, we might as well embrace the victories for as long as they last. If Rob Ryan can maintain this level of defensive play and the offensive line gets healthy and back on track, we could all be some happy Who Dats in early 2014. Read on for more on yesterday's game and other NFL action.

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This week in WTF? Ouch!

Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson loses top of finger during Saints game | Audibles - SI.com
Johnson had surgery on his finger (it was actually his left middle finger) on Sunday, and the bone was exposed, so infection is a factor. He lost the finger at the first knuckle, and doctors shaved it down. Somers said that it’s believed Johnson lost the tip during a Darren Sproles punt return, though ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Johnson will have to go back and watch film to see what happened.

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Saints defeat Cardinals 31-7

Forecast: If offense catches up with defense Saints could be special | wwltv.com New Orleans
Suddenly three weeks in to the 2013 season the New Orleans Saints are sitting very pretty.

Suffocating defense, Brees guide Saints to dominating 31-7 win | wwltv.com New Orleans
Sometime between diving over the goal line and heading back to the sideline early in the fourth quarter after dashing in from seven yards out, Drew Brees entertained the thought of dunking the football over the goal post.

Youth movement on defensive line biggest difference for Saints | wwltv.com New Orleans
For more than three weeks, Cameron Jordan told anyone who would listen that New Orleans’ youth on the defensive line was a strength, not a weakness.

Quick Takes: Saints dominate Cardinals for 3-0 start
The Saints defense started out in shaky fashion, allowing the Cardinals to drive 80 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a three yard touchdown by Alfonso Smith. It looked like the New Orleans defense might be in trouble. Not quite!

Saints shut down Cardinals with complete performance
Drew Brees tossed three touchdown passes and ran for a score as the New Orleans Saints scored 31 unanswered points and cruised past the Arizona Cardinals, 31-7.

5 Things We Learned From Saints/Cardinals game - Who Dat Dish
The New Orleans Saints are back to their old ways as they piled on 31 points to beat the Arizona Cardinals. Here are 5 things we learned from the game.

New Orleans Saints dominate Arizona Cardinals 31-7, improve to 3-0
Team is off to best start since 2009 season

John DeShazier: New Orleans Saints defense first among equals against Cardinals
Defense holds Arizona to one TD, forces two turnovers

New Orleans Saints Sunday recap
Taking a look at all of our gameday coverage

New Orleans Saints forge new identity during 3-0 start | NOLA.com
Saints winning with New Dats

Saints cure red-zone struggles against Cardinals | Saints | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA
As a long-time college and NFL assistant coach whose background is on the offensive side of the ball, Bruce Arians knew the chances of the …

Hamstring injury ends Evans’ streak of 122 straight starts | Saints | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA
New Orleans Saints’ All-Pro guard Jahri Evans had a streak of 122 consecutive starts snapped Sunday because of a hamstring injury he suffer…

Saints-Cardinals Thumbs up, thumbs down | Saints | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA
Thumbs up n OPENING DRIVE: Down 7-0, the Saints had one of their best drives of the season when they drove 80 yards on eight plays for a …

Saints-Cardinals Three and out | Saints | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA
1 What we learned The 2012 season? What 2012 season? The Saints may not be the NFL’s most complete team, but they are proving week by w…

No running game is no problem in Saints’ win over Cardinals | Saints | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA
When Drew Brees is your quarterback, Jimmy Graham is your tight end and your defense is getting sacks, forcing punts and picking off passes…

Glenn Foster, Tyrunn Walker step forward for Saints defensive line | Saints | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA
Glenn Foster didn’t know if he was violating some kind of rookie protocol. And he really didn’t care. After the Arizona Cardinals called a …

Rabalais: We’re seeing flashes of that Super Saints team | Saints | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA
In the bottom of his locker, New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis stashed away the football he intercepted late in Sunday’s game agai…

Big game is little comfort for Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu | Saints | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA
Arizona Cardinals rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu played the game of his young NFL career Sunday, but it mattered little against his hometown …

Cards learn all about Saints’ pass rush - Arizona Cardinals Blog - ESPN
NEW ORLEANS -- The cover of the New Orleans Saints’ game day magazine featured a photo of defensive end Cameron Jordan with the headline: &ldquo

NFL Week 3 Winners and Losers – If the Saints’ defense is really this good, look out NFC - Yahoo Sports
A winning team on Sunday allowed just 247 yards (and only 161 passing), gave up seven points and looked very strong on defense. Yep, it was the New Orleans Saints.

NFL Week 3 Sunday Studs and Duds - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN
5. Defense, New Orleans Saints: Rob Ryan's overhaul of this group continues to impress. No one has scored more than 17 points against the Saints this season, matching the number produced by their 2012 defense over 16 games. Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals managed just one score and 247 total yards in the Saints' 31-7 victory. One of the most encouraging factors has been the play of rookie safety Kenny Vacarro, who broke up a potential game-deciding touchdown in Week 1 and had a fourth-quarter interception Sunday.

Saints morning report: Murderers' row? - NFC South Blog - ESPN
The New Orleans Saints are one of just six teams to start the year a perfect 3-0 (with Denver at 2-0 heading into Monday night's game). But the Saints...

Arizona Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu has mixed homecoming in loss to New Orleans Saints | NOLA.com
Tyrann Mathieu recorded his first career interception and had 10 tackles during the Arizona Cardinals 31-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

New Orleans Saints Lance Moore suffered wrist injury
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore (16) during organized team activities at the Saints training facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA

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Transcripts

Sean Payton: "It was a good, hard fought win and I'm proud of our guys"
Quotes from Sean Payton's post-game press conference after beating the Arizona Cardinals

Quotes from Drew Brees and players postgame press conferences
Drew Brees, Cameron Jordan, Jimmy Graham, Robert Meachem and Curtis Lofton addressed the media after the win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22

Arizona Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians discusses loss to New Orleans Saints
Quotes from Bruce Arians post-game press conference on Sunday, September 22

Arizona Cardinals players talk about loss to New Orleans Saints
Saints won 31-7 Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

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Saints speculation

Report: Mark Ingram could seek trade from Saints
NFL insider Jason LaCanfora speculates Ingram's lack of production and opportunity in New Orleans could lead him to seek a change of scenery before the Week 8 trade deadline.

Sean Payton says Mark Ingram isn’t looking for a trade | ProFootballTalk
Saints coach Sean Payton was asked about the report after Sunday’s win and Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Payton was vehement about Ingram’s desire to stick around. He called the report “completely false” and said it had “zero credibility” while Ingram has refused requests from the paper for interviews for more than a week.

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Other Saints news

New Orleans Saints Brian de la Puente named Morton’s The Steakhouse Community Player of the Week
Center Brian de la Puente named Morton’s The Steakhouse Community Player of the Week during the Arizona Cardinals game

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton thrills fans in Old Metairie | NOLA.com
Heavy rain and some minor street flooding could not deter Saints fans from coming out to meet New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton at his recent appearance at Aucoin Hart Jewelers in Old Metairie.

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NFC South news

NFL Recap - Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins - Sep 22, 2013 - CBSSports.com Game Recap
Ryan Tannehill lobbed a 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Dion Sims with 38 seconds left Sunday, and the unbeaten Miami Dolphins rallied past the Atlanta Falcons 27-23.

Questions? None for Carolina Panthers after 38-0 rout | CharlotteObserver.com
A day that started with questions about Carolina coach Ron Rivera’s job security ended with a resounding victory that sent the Panthers into the bye week with a jolt of momentum.

Bucs’ Schiano back in Tampa after reported family emergency

Might be time for Bucs to pull plug on Freeman | Tampa Bay Times
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.By the time the Bucs got around to their most exciting play of the day, most of the crowd had gone home. It was late in the game, and only those fans who wanted to pick at the Bucs' corpse remained.

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Around the League

The Miami Dolphins have the NFL’s most impressive start | For The Win
See which other four teams join them on the list.

NFL morning after: The Giants are terrible | ProFootballTalk
I don't know if the Giants are the worst team in the NFL. They're probably not. Jacksonville is probably worse. And maybe 0-3 Washington or 0-3 Minnesota or 0-3 Tampa Bay or 0-3 Pittsburgh are just as bad.

NFL resumes quiet push for 18-game schedule | ProFootballTalk
For most teams, it's three games down and 13 to go. If the NFL eventually gets its way, each team would still have 15 regular-season contests remaining. Per a league source, the NFL quietly has resumed its push to persuade the NFLPA to expand the regular-season to 18 games.

Fins, fans are back with fast start to '13 - Miami Dolphins Blog - ESPN
MIAMI -- A postgame stroll through the concourse of Sun Life Stadium revealed emotion unseen from Miami Dolphins fans in years. There were deafening

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Video

VIDEO Sean Payton: "really good afternoon for us"
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton speaks with reporters after the New Orleans Saints 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22, 2013. (New Orleans Saints video)

VIDEO New Orleans Saints vs Arizona Cardinals Highlights
Drew Brees looks as elite as ever as he passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns with one more on the ground as he leads the New Orleans Saints to a 31-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3.

VIDEO New Orleans Saints Game Wrap: September 22
New Orleans Saints Senior writer John DeShazier and Sean Kelly recap the New Orleans Saints' 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals. (New Orleans Saints video)

VIDEO Drew Brees pleased with Saints fourth quarter play
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees speaks with reporters after the New Orleans Saints 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22, 2013. (New Orleans Saints video)

VIDEO Jimmy Graham: I wish Drew would have dunked
New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham speaks with reporters after the New Orleans Saints 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22, 2013. (New Orleans Saints video)

VIDEO Cameron Jordan: "we have to keep rolling"
New Orleans Saints DE Cameron Jordan speaks with reporters after the New Orleans Saints 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22, 2013. (New Orleans Saints video)

VIDEO Robert Meachem: "it felt so good to score"
New Orleans Saints WR Robert Meachem speaks with reporters after the New Orleans Saints 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22, 2013. (New Orleans Saints video)

VIDEO Kenny Vaccaro talks about first career INT
New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro speaks with reporters after the New Orleans Saints 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22, 2013. (New Orleans Saints video)

VIDEO Curtis Lofton: "feels great to be 3-0"
New Orleans Saints LB Curtis Lofton speaks with reporters after the New Orleans Saints 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22, 2013. (New Orleans Saints video)

VIDEO New Orleans Saints postgame preser highlights
Sean Payton and New Orleans Saints players speak with reporters after the New Orleans Saints 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 22, 2013. (New Orleans Saints video)



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