The New Orleans Saints responded to a disappointing loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week by thrashing the Indianapolis Colts 34-7 in front of a Monday night audience. The Saints would dominate the contest from it's onset. The defense forced the Colts to a three-and-out on the opening possession, then blocked the ensuing punt. The New Orleans defense dominated the visiting Colts all night, holding Jacoby Brissett to just 5 of 15 passing in the first half and allowing just 205 total yards for the game. This night was about the efficiency of the New Orleans offense though. Specifically their legendary and record-breaking quarterback. Here were some of the top performances from the Saints' 11th victory of the season.
Davis, the team's leading tackler on the year, had just three stops on the night. He did have three big pass breakups and provided a few key pressures on blitzes during the contest. Davis spearheaded a much-improved performance from the team's linebacking corps from last week and the defense in general.
The rookie Gardner-Johnson stepped in for the injured Vonn Bell at safety and had a standout performance. Particularly against the run, as he repeatedly blitzed the Indianapolis backfield with success. Gardner-Johnson led the Saints with 8 tackles, 3 of them resulting in a loss. He and cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who shut down Colts star T.Y. Hilton, were the stars of a secondary that had struggled over the previous few outings.
Michael Thomas grabbed 12 receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown, running roughshod through a helpless Indianapolis secondary. Thomas brought his league leading numbers to 133 catches for 1,552 yards, catching over 83% of his targets on the year. He now sits only 11 receptions away from breaking Marvin Harrison's record for receptions in a single season.
On the first drive of the third quarter, quarterback Drew Brees expertly moved his offense down the field deep into Indianapolis territory. From the Colts' 5-yard line, Brees dropped back to pass and delivered a perfectly thrown strike to tight end Josh Hill for a touchdown and a 27-0 lead. The score was Brees' 540th touchdown pass of his storied career, moving him past Peyton Manning into 1st place on the all-time list. Brees would complete 29 of his 30 attempts on the game, a single game league record of 96.7% completion percentage, for 307 yards and 4 touchdowns. He completed his last 22 throws, just three shy of another record, and was as sharp as he's ever been through his spectacular career.
Brees' lengthy list of record achievements should put him high in the conversation of the greatest players in NFL history. He and the Saints have their sites set on a more immediate goal, however. The 11-3 Saints are firmly in the mix for one of the NFC's top two playoff spots and a bye. For this night though, the attention should be shined firmly on the great Drew Brees and yet another hallowed record.
Congratulations Mr. Brees, and thank you!