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Saints 34 @ Bengals 30: Saints Nearly Bungle the Bengals

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Today's game was a tale of two halves. Though it might not have reflected so much on the scoreboard, the Saints were in control of the game throughout the first half. But it was the Bengals who dominated after halftime, eventually taking the lead late in the fourth quarter thanks to a Chad Ochocinco awakening.

And while penalties were a killer for the Saints today - 11 penalties for 100 yards - it was their ability to draw an offsides penalty from the Bengals in the red zone with under a minute to play. Credit Payton with genius playcalling and the offense with great showmanship. I doubt they were ever going to snap that ball.

Great games for Chris Ivory, Robert Meachem, Jimmy Graham, Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jonathan Vilma and Roman Harper.

Make the jump for just a few quick bullet-point notes and stats from the game. Be sure to listen to our live post-game podcast at 4:30 CST and hang out in our Atlanta @ Tampa Bay open thread while you watch that crucial NFC South matchup.

  • Reggie Bush looked markedly better running the football and more confident this week. Good sign there. Still nothing spectacular, though he wasn't given much opportunity.
  • With a 52-yard pass to tight end Jimmy Graham in the 2nd quarter Drew Brees became the Saints all-time leading passer with 21,789 yards.
  • Chris Ivory had another superb game. Glad I started him on my fantasy football team. And while I hate to admit it, I think Larry Holder actually said it best in a tweet during today's game:

Chris Ivory's gain is Pierre Thomas' ticket out of town next season.

  • "Hey Jahri, here's an ass-load of money, making you the highest paid offensive guard in the history of the NFL. Can you please start leading the league in costly holding penalties? Thanks, that'd be great."
  • The entire offensive line should be on Santa's naughty list and getting coal in their stocking this Christmas. Not only was Jahri a liability but Carl Nicks took a holding penalty and Jonathan Goodwin was flagged for the rare snap infraction.
  • The Saints offense was abysmal on 3rd down (1/8 - 12%).
  • Hartley was again perfect. Things are looking better for the kicking game. I'm feeling slightly more confident.
  • Remember when the Saints offense just couldn't put together a big play? Yeah, they don't have that problem anymore. High five!
  • Speaking of high fives, this win makes five in a row for the Black & Gold.
  • For the love of all things holy, can somebody please tell John Lynch how to properly pronounce New Orleans. My ears are still bleeding. It really hurts.
  • Check out this picture of Gregg Williams doing the "suck it" gesture, stolen from Larry Holder's Twitter account...
Williamssuckit_medium


Top Performers

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
D. Brees 24 29 313 2
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
C. Ivory 15 117 7.8 2
R. Bush 5 26 5.2 0
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
R. Meachem 3 106 35.3 1
J. Graham 3 72 24 0

CINCINNATI BENGALS
Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
C. Palmer 23 33 249 1
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
C. Benson 19 49 2.6 2
B. Scott 6 43 7.2 0
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
C. Ochocinco 5 96 19.2 0
T. Owens 6 47 7.8 1



Scoring Summary

1st Quarter
NO FG G.Hartley 48 yd. Field Goal (8-65, 4:21)
2nd Quarter
CIN FG C.Stitser 29 yd. Field Goal (13-42, 7:08)
NO TD C.Ivory 55 yd. run (G.Hartley kick) (3-68, 1:01)
CIN FG C.Stitser 23 yd. Field Goal (4-50, 2:21)
NO FG G.Hartley 24 yd. Field Goal (11-88, 3:15)
3rd Quarter
NO TD C.Ivory 1 yd. run (G.Hartley kick) (11-66, 5:54)
CIN TD T.Owens 5 yd. pass from C.Palmer(kick failed, wr) (9-60, 5:12)
4th Quarter
CIN TD C.Benson 1 yd. run (C.Stitser kick) (7-46, 3:36)
NO TD R.Meachem 52 yd. pass from D.Brees(G.Hartley kick) (3-69, 1:25)
CIN TD C.Benson 4 yd. run (C.Palmer-J.Gresham pass) (8-59, 4:05)
CIN FG C.Stitser 47 yd. Field Goal (5-15, 1:38)
NO TD M.Colston 3 yd. pass from D.Brees (G.Hartley kick) (7-68, 3:54)


Team Stats

New Orleans Cincinatti
Total First Downs 19 Total First Downs 21
By Rushing 8 By Rushing 7
By Passing 10 By Passing 11
By Penalty By Penalty
Third Down Efficiency 1/8 - 12% Third Down Efficiency 5/14 - 35%
Fourth Down Efficiency 0/0 - 0% Fourth Down Efficiency 2/3 - 66%
Total Net Yards 436 Total Net Yards 311
Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks) 53 Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks) 62
Average Gain per Offensive Play 8.2 Average Gain per Offensive Play 5.0
Net Yards Rushing 146 Net Yards Rushing 96
Total Rushing Plays 22 Total Rushing Plays 26
Average Gain per Rushing Play 6.6 Average Gain per Rushing Play 3.7
Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards) 2--3 Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards) 2--5
Net Yards Passing 290 Net Yards Passing 215
Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 2 - 23 Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 3 - 34
Gross Yards Passing 313 Gross Yards Passing 249
Pass Comp-Att-Int 24 - 29 - 1 Pass Comp-Att-Int 23 - 33 - 0
Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks) 9.4 Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks) 6.0
Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks) 7 - 0 - 0 Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks) 7 - 0 - 0
Punts (Number-Average) 3 - 45.3 Punts (Number-Average) 2 - 56.5
Blocked 0 Blocked 0
Net Punting Average 35.3 Net Punting Average 55.5
FGs Blocked - PATs Blocked 0 - 0 FGs Blocked - PATs Blocked 0 - 0
Total Return Yardage (excludes Kickoffs) 2 Total Return Yardage (excludes Kickoffs) 37
Punt Returns (Number-Yards) 1 - 2 Punt Returns (Number-Yards) 2 - 30
Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards) 7 - 116 Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards) 6 - 179
Interception Returns (Number-Yards) 0 - 0 Interception Returns (Number-Yards) 1 - 7
Penalties (Number-Yards) 11 - 100 Penalties (Number-Yards) 7 - 43
Fumbles (Number-Lost) 1 - 0 Fumbles (Number-Lost) 1 - 0
Touchdowns 4 Touchdowns 3
Rushing 2 Rushing 2
Passing 2 Passing 1
Interceptions 0 Interceptions 0
Kickoff Returns 0 Kickoff Returns 0
Fumble Returns 0 Fumble Returns 0
Punt Returns 0 Punt Returns 0
Extra Points (Made-Attempted) 4 - 4 Extra Points (Made-Attempted) 2 - 3
Kicking (Made-Attempted) 4 - 4 Kicking (Made-Attempted) 1 - 2
Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted) 0 - 0 Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted) 1 - 1
Field Goals (Made-Attempted) 2 - 2 Field Goals (Made-Attempted) 3 - 3
Red Zone Efficiency 2/3 - 66% Red Zone Efficiency 3/6 - 50%
Goal To Go Efficiency 2/2 - 100% Goal To Go Efficiency 3/4 - 75%
Safeties 0 Safeties 0
Final Score 34 Final Score 30
Time of Possession 27:27 Time of Possession 32:33