Wow. I know that the Saints wanted to get their starters at least a half of playing time, but they were so good in the first two quarters that there really was no need to put them out there after halftime. In fact, the team played so well in the first half that I, too, tuned out at halftime. To wit:
- Drew Brees was 17-of-19 for 182 yards and a touchdown in the first half. HIs two incompletions were actually drops, a jump ball that David Patten couldn't secure and a toss to Reggie Bush, again unsecured. Brees' quarterback rating for the half: 124.1
- Reggie Bush had 6 carries for 51 yards. Deuce McAllister had 10 touches for 46 yards.
- Lance Moore continued his monstrous preseason with 6 catches for 88 yards (3 catches for 48 yards with the starters). David Patten had 6 catches for 75 yards, including a 33-yard strike from Brees, and a 4-yard touchdown.
- You may hear some talk about the Saints' ineffectiveness in the red zone. Their playcalling was surprisingly banal down there. In the first half, all five of their drives ended deep in Chiefs territory. They came away with 13 points, a touchdown and two field goals. Twice, the Chiefs stopped the Saints on 4th and goal from inside the 3. Here's the thing: the Saints were clearly holding back from their goal line playbook. The only passing play that they ran from inside the 5 resulted in a score. The rest were all runs. Instead of running a play for a meaningless score, and putting it on film for the league to see, Sean Payton clearly kept the playcalling simple, and focused on the positive. In fact, had the Saints playcalling in the Chiefs' red zone been more diverse, the score could have easily been 35-0 at the half.
- Defensively, the Saints pressured Brodie Croyle all day. Though they only came away with to sacks, their pressure disrupted the Chiefs' timing on several key plays, and caused a Jason Craft interception -- HALLELUJAH. Will Smith and Charles Grant were particularly impressive, though their counting stats may not shown it.
- How about Olindo Mare? Hokie mentioned on the radio that Mare was placing his kickoffs so deeply in the end-zone, that he was actually instructed not to kick as far as he could, so the coverage team could have some work.
- Team yardage at the half: Saints 38 plays for 266 yards, Chiefs 25 plays for 68 yards.
- There were some careless errors: On the Chiefs first drive, the Saints secondary took two penalties that could have been avoided. The returners also seemed a bit cavalier with the football.
- A tough game for Robert Meachem. His only touch was a kickoff return that he dropped, causing him to only net 4 yards.
- I'm opening the voting up for the game's MVPs (for the purposes of the Soothsaying contest). I'm only going to name one -- Brees. the other two MVPs will be awarded to those with the highest vote totals. I'm also posting the standings of the contest (now that there are standings) on the left sidebar.
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