All Saints Day
Team effort brings unexpected results, smiles
The New Orleans Saints are having fun. It has been on full display in their last few games. They deserve it. After three straight 7-9 seasons and two devastating losses to start the 2017 season, the Black & Gold have steamrolled their competition on their way to seven straight wins. They’re among the best in their conference, and playing like they could make a deep playoff run.
The Saints dominated their latest opponent, defeating the Buffalo Bills 47-10. It was a full team effort that provided numerous impressive, if unexpected, stat lines.
The Saints scored 47 points, had 482 total net yards, and didn’t punt once. Not unusual for this prolific offense, but the way they did it was quite novel for this team. While fans expect quarterback Drew Brees to put up videogame-like numbers each week, he didn’t have to in Buffalo. He had 18 pass competitions on 25 attempts – an impressive 72 percent – for 184 yards, and 0 TDs, and 2 rushing attempts for 6 yards, 1 TD. It was one of a team record six rushing touchdowns on a day that belonged to a backfield, with two 100+ yard rushers, that picked up 298 yards and helped the Saints gain 32 first downs and hold the ball for more than 41 minutes. Mark Ingram had 21 carries for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns. Alvin Kamara had 106 yards on 12 carries and a TD. When rookie Trey Edmunds, who had nine rushes for 48 yards, scored his first NFL TD, he was greeted in the end zone with a plethora of players led by Ingram.
Not to be outshined by the backs, wide receiver Michael Thomas topped the century mark with 117 yards on nine receptions.
The Saints Defense made the most of their playing time of 18:37, holding the Bills to 198 total net yards – 129 passing and 69 rushing – and 10 first downs. It was a dominant performance.
The Saints are in strong position in the playoff race, but at just past the midpoint in the season, it’s too early to make postseason reservations. The NFC leading Philadelphia Eagles, 8-1, had a bye week, but have also won seven straight games. The Los Angeles Rams, 7-2, the Saints’ opponent in two weeks, has one of the NFL’s best offenses. After that, they have to play division opponents four out of last five weeks of the season, including the Carolina Panthers (6-3) in the Superdome and archrival Atlanta Falcons (5-4) twice.
The Washington Redskins come to town this week, as the Saints look to break their run of three straight 7-9 seasons. This year, they’ve won seven straight with seven games to go. Happiness was on full display on the Saints sideline this past Sunday, and I don’t expect it to be a rare sight during the rest of the season. It was good to see. Long faces and the look of disbelief have grown old. Happy days are here again. Laissez les bons temps rouler!