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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints' starters are dominant in rout of Chiefs Friday, August 24, 2007 By Jimmy Smith KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Enough already. The schedule says the Saints have to play one more practice game next Thursday night at the Superdome against ...

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Old 08-24-2007, 04:17 PM   #1
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Saints' starters are dominant in rout of Chiefs

Friday, August 24, 2007
By Jimmy Smith

KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Enough already.

The schedule says the Saints have to play one more practice game next Thursday night at the Superdome against the Miami Dolphins.

It seems somewhat unnecessary, for the Saints' front-line players at least.

After the performance of the first team in Thursday night's 30-7 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, it's clear that for the most part the Saints are ready to begin the regular season Sept. 6 against the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts.

At least Chiefs Coach Herman Edwards thinks so.

"We knew they were going to move the ball coming in," Edwards said. "They had great rhythm in the first half offensively. They do a good job, and that's why they're the No. 1 offense. They dealt the ball throwing it and hit us on a couple of runs. They kept us off balance offensively."

Quarterback Drew Brees had a third consecutive nearly flawless performance against Kansas City's first-string defense. Brees was 17-of-19 for 182 yards and one touchdown, that a 4-yarder to David Patten, playing in place of injured Devery Henderson.

New Orleans' first-string defense harassed Kansas City quarterback Brodie Croyle, sacking him twice in the first half and intercepting a pass, a nice grab by right cornerback Jason Craft, who started in place of absent Jason David.

"We had a lot of energy," Saints Coach Sean Payton said. "I'm very pleased coming in on the road and playing as crisp as we did. We flew around on defense. And Brees and that offense was sharp. We've got to get better in the red zone. A couple of those things I can correct."

The one aspect of the Saints' offense that will be scrutinized and likely drilled for perfection this week, as Payton pointed out, will be the red-zone execution.

If anything was troubling Thursday night, it was the Saints' inability to score touchdowns, despite four trips into the Kansas City red zone

The Chiefs (0-3) stopped the Saints (2-2) at the Kansas City 1-yard line in the first quarter, tackling Deuce McAllister for a 2-yard loss after the Saints had driven 79 yards on their opening possession.

When New Orleans couldn't punch the ball over the goal line on its second drive, which bogged down at the Kansas City 10-yard line, Olindo Mare kicked a 28-yard field goal.

The Saints settled for a 31-yard Mare field goal when Brees was sacked on third-and-1 from the Chiefs' 5-yard line in the second quarter on an acrobatic tackle by Kendrell Bell, who hurdled over McAllister's attempted blitz pick-up.

Remember, though, that last season Brees didn't lead the Saints' offense to one touchdown in the preseason, and New Orleans ended the season with the league's No. 1-ranked offense.

While the offense was piling up yardage (246 to Kansas City's 69 in the first half) though not scoring touchdowns, the New Orleans defense wasn't allowing the Chiefs to establish any rhythm.

The Saints outgained Kansas City 479 yards to 153, and had 27 first downs to 11.

When Croyle wasn't being rushed by defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith -- Chiefs left tackle Will Svitek couldn't block Smith -- Croyle was missing his receivers.

Payton's plan was to play his starters for one half and bring them back out onto the field for at least one series in the third quarter.

They were all done by halftime.

Brees didn't even play the last series of the first half, giving way to Jamie Martin (10-of-13, 94 yards, one interception), who fared no better in the red zone after coming in following Craft's interception, which gave the Saints the ball at the Kansas City 23-yard line.

Rookie Antonio Pittman was stopped on fourth-and-1 from the Chiefs' 3-yard line.

But the offense was as smooth as it was all of last season, and in regular-season form.

On one play in the first drive, Payton called for an empty backfield with five receivers in the pattern. Brees hit Lance Moore for 7 yards and a first down.

On the Brees-to-Patten touchdown pass, it was a perfectly executed play fake from Brees to Reggie Bush, who continued with the fake and drew some interest from the Chiefs' defense, though he didn't have the ball.

Rookie free agent Pierre Thomas, a longshot to make the final roster, gave the coaching staff something to think about: he gained 90 yards on 11 carries (an 8.2. average) and scored two touchdowns. The Saints finished with 197 rushing yards. Bush had 51 on six carries.

"There's a lot of good stuff to look at on that tape," Payton said. "I look forward to seeing it and evaluating it."

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