Yesterday was alumni day at the Superdome. Former players were introduced walking out of the inflatable tunnel and former Saintsations danced with the current squad before the game, while the newest Saints Hall of Fame inductee, Sammy Knight, paraded around the field in a convertible and was honored with his portrait on the field at halftime.
Saints rally towels were being given out free to fans inside the stadium.
I brought my buddy and proud CSC member, Chad, with me to the game. He's from Lake Charles and has lived in Louisiana almost all of his life, yet this was his first Saints game ever. I love helping create memories.
There's always an amalgamation of smells that hits my nose hard as I walk through the plaza level concourse to my seat for the first time. Most of the time it's the different foods that are being served around me but there's also a hint of poop as I pass the bathroom and body odor when I'm stuck downwind of a smelly beer vendor.
The pregame ceremonies had a slight patriotic feel, with a member of the Marine Corps singing the National Anthem and others holding up strips of American flag banners across a portion of the field.
Much of the crowd appeared to arrive a little bit later than usual but they were in their seat by kickoff. They could have been a bit more lively throughout the game also. Must have been that LSU hangover.
Did the Saints lose the coin toss again?
Tight end John Gilmore led the Who Dat Chant.
On the second play of the game Tracy Porter made a nice tackle on Bucs receiver Mike Williams but injured his neck on the play. He needed to be placed on a stretcher and carted off the field. You never like to see that.
The Saints started off the game with three straight run plays. Surely this was a sign of things to come because the Saints would rush 28 times for a total of 195 yards (second most this season) and an average of 7 yards per rush, making it their most efficient rushing performance this season. The play calling was pretty balanced as well with a 44%-56% run/pass ratio. Time of possession, however, was virtually dead even.
Much of that success can be attributed to great play by the offensive line, perhaps the most valuable players in this game. Not only was this arguably their best run blocking performance of the season, but they shined in pass blocking also, keeping Drew clean the entire game.
The defense played well overall and came up with big plays when they needed them, in particular the early fourth down stop. It may be frustrating to watch them give up big plays by allowing the wide open underneath stuff, but I think it's time to accept that it's just part of their identity.
Brees overthrew a wide open Devery Henderson on the Saints first series. It would have been a sure touchdown.
An outsider might not be able to tell from the final score but the Saints were in complete charge of this game the entire time. Never once did it feel like Tampa Bay might have a chance to win. A nice, relaxing, stress-free Sunday afternoon for Saints fans.
Just think about how good Jimmy Graham will be when he develops some moves and jukes in the open field. Scary.
I don't think it was as obvious to fans in the stadium as it was on television but there were quite a few questionable penalties called against the Saints. The most blatant to me personally was the bullcrap pass interference call on Leigh Torrence late in the game but apparently the holding call on Devery Henderson negating Sproles' scoring play was also criminal. The defensive delay of game penalty also left everyone wondering and was the topic of conversation at the bathroom urinals.
Drew Brees has now thrown a touchdown pass in 36 straight games. He is currently tied with Brett Favre and still behind Johnny Unitas with 47. He is also now the first quarterback to throw more than 3,000 yards in the first 9 games of the season.
Roman Harper had a monster game with a team-leading 9 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
This is what my wife said to me tonight after the game: "Pierre played well today. Man, he just doesn't stop. How does he do that if he's so little?"
Welcome back Zach Strief. His mere presence seemed to kick the overall performance of the offensive line up a notch.
Jabari Greer is quietly putting together a very solid season.
The re-introduction of Chris Ivory into the Saints offense continues to go well. After a dull first game back last week, Ivory led the team with 15 carries for 67 yards yesterday. Next week, Ivory gets better acquainted with scoring touchdowns.
Will someone, for the love of all things holy, please teach Drew how to slide feet first after a run? The head first diving is just frightening.
Just a minor nitpick but Devery Henderson should have gotten his ass out of bounds after that catch just before the half; instead the Saints called a timeout to stop the clock. They might have been able to get seven points before going into the locker room instead of three if they hadn't needed to waste that timeout.
Newly re-elected governor Bobby Jindal and his family were watching the game with the Benson's in their suite.
As is usually the case during games when the Saints have a comfortable lead, the fans in the plaza and club levels got the wave going in the 4th quarter.
Vendors outside of the Superdome were selling 'New Orleans F***** Louisiana' shirts after the game. The back of the shirt said, 'If you don't bleed black and gold, take your b**** ass home.'