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Clearing the Tubes

Here's what writers from around the interwebs are saying about the Saints (with a bonus Eagles blurb).

Two down. Two to go.

In the desperate atmosphere in which the Saints found themselves in the last quarter of the 2007 season, the stakes were these: win four in a row in December or sit in front of the wide-screen television in January.

The second week of this all-or-nothing saga saw the Saints maintain their momentum, and their still flickering playoff hopes, with a 31-24 victory that effectively eliminated the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon in the Superdome, pulling New Orleans to 7-7 with a pair of must-win games on the horizon in the final two weeks of 2007.

Knowing what they were up against, the Saints came up with one of their more complete games of the season on offense and defense in putting a dent in the Cardinals’ postseason chances.

Brees was at his best, completing 26 of 30 passes and compiling a passer rating of 132.6 while tossing TD passes of 19 yards to Marques Colston and 32 yards to David Patten.

Colston caught eight passes for 114 yards and Patten had four receptions for 71 yards although he did fumble the ball away following a 26-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

Running back Aaron Stecker, who just missed his second straight 100-yard rushing game when he finished with 95 yards, had TD runs of 1 and 6 yards in helping the Saints pile up 421 total yards.

The Saints defense had an interception, a fumble recovery and two sacks in addition to a huge third-down stop in the fourth quarter to keep the Cardinals at arms-length after the offense turned the two takeaways by the defense into 14 points.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a defensive battle. As both teams battled for their playoff lives, neither defense was very impressive. Offensively, though, both teams played better. The Cardinals used a good mix of run and pass in the first half to stay with the explosive Saints offense, but ultimately, just couldn’t keep up. New Orleans defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs used more pressure packages in the second half to force indecisive Kurt Warner into long yardage conversions and Arizona was just 3-for-11 on third-down conversions. Saints coach Sean Payton kept the Cardinals' defense off balance with an effective ground attack, led by Aaron Stecker, and pinpoint passing on all levels by quarterback Drew Brees. WR Marques Colston had a big day against the Arizona secondary as his size and strength was too much to handle. With the win, the Saints are still in the playoff mix, but the Cardinals are all but eliminated by their loss.

Simply put, the Philadelphia defense dominated this football game. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson did a great job of slowing the Cowboys' high-powered offense by restricting the running lanes for Julius Jones and Marion Barber and forcing Dallas into third-and-long situations. By doing that, Johnson made the Cowboys' offense one-dimensional. And knowing Dallas would be passing, Johnson unleashed his zone blitz schemes. QB Tony Romo never seemed to get into rhythm and made some critical game-changing mistakes on the back end. By keeping the Cowboys' offense on its heels. the Eagles were able to get pressure late in the game with their four-man rush while being very physical on the back end when dropping seven. This was a huge upset victory for the Eagles on the road.