this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By SHELDON MICKLES Advocate sportswriter Published: Aug 24, 2007 KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After getting off to a shaky start in the exhibition opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New Orleans Saints’ first-team defense has played lights out the last ...
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Defense plays well in victory
By SHELDON MICKLES
Published: Aug 24, 2007
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After getting off to a shaky start in the exhibition opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New Orleans Saints’ first-team defense has played lights out the last three weeks.
The starters have allowed just five field goals and no touchdowns in 15 drives by opposing offenses — including pitching a shutout in Thursday night’s 30-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
While the Saints’ first-team offense was piling up 266 yards in the first half, the starting defense frustrated quarterback Brodie Croyle, who was 3-of-14 for 40 yards, and held Kansas City to 68 total yards in five possessions.
The starting defense held the Buffalo Bills to one field goal in three drives on Aug. 10 and limited the Cincinnati Bengals to four field goals in seven series. Two of those field goals came when the Bengals took over at the Saints’ 33 and 3 after turnovers.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees connected on his first six passes Thursday night, giving him 13 straight completions dating to the Bills’ game. The 13 completions were good for 132 yards.
Brees, who completed his final attempt against the Bills, was 6-for-6 in his only series of work last week against the Bengals.
The streak came to an end when Chiefs cornerback Patrick Surtain got his hand in and broke up a deep ball intended for wide receiver David Patten.
Back in the saddle
Strongside linebacker Scott Fujita and center Jeff Faine were in the starting lineup after each missed the last two exhibition games with injuries.
Faine strained a calf muscle in the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 5 and Fujita bruised his right heel three days later while on a team outing to a water park in Jackson, Miss. Fujita started his NFL career with the Chiefs and played for Kansas City from 2002-04.
Seven Saints were held out of the game because of injuries. They were T Jammal Brown (knee), WR Marques Colston (knee), WR Devery Henderson (hamstring), LB Mark Simoneau (knee), DT Brian Young (foot), DE Rob Ninkovich (knee) and WR Jamal Jones (knee).
Scratches of note for the Chiefs were RB Larry Johnson, who signed a six-year contract extension on Tuesday, RB Priest Holmes and T Damion McIntosh.
Ex-Saints get starts
Michael Bennett, who was with the Saints in training camp last summer before being traded to the Chiefs for a fourth-round draft choice, started at running back for Johnson. Kyle Turley, an All-Pro pick for the Saints in 2000, opened the game at right tackle in place of McIntosh.
Also starting against his old team was former LSU wide receiver Eddie Kennison, who played for the Saints in 1999.
In addition to Kennison, the Chiefs’ roster includes two other former LSU players—wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and center Rudy Niswanger.
Bowe was their top draft pick this spring and the 23rd selection overall.
Also on the roster are a pair of New Orleans natives, Surtain and tackle George Batiste.
Bowe breaks in
Bowe, who played sparingly in last week’s 11-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins after ending a holdout on Aug. 6, caught his first NFL pass in the second quarter. The throw from Croyle covered 21 yards.
“It was a nice catch,” Bowe said. “It was good for a second. Now, it’s time to get more. It feels good to go out and know your assignment, and run around to help the offense.”
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