this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Colston, Brees connect for three TDs as Saints win third straight By SHELDON MICKLES Advocate sportswriter Published: Oct 29, 2007 SAN FRANCISCO — With each passing week, the New Orleans Saints are looking more and more like the team that ...
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Colston, Brees connect for three TDs as Saints win third straight
By SHELDON MICKLES
Published: Oct 29, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO — With each passing week, the New Orleans Saints are looking more and more like the team that fell one win short of the Super Bowl last season.
It’s no coincidence the key word is passing.
The Saints hit the San Francisco 49ers early and often Sunday afternoon in a 31-10 victory, with a 43-yard pass from Drew Brees to David Patten on their first play from scrimmage setting the tone for their third straight win.
“I wanted to challenge the defense on the first play with a deep throw,” said Saints coach Sean Payton, whose team is gaining more and more confidence after an 0-4 start. “I thought Patten made a good play on the ball.”
Keying off that aggressive start, Brees hit on 31 of 39 passes in posting season-highs in touchdowns (4), passing yards (336), completion percentage (79.5) and passer rating [136.8].
Marques Colston caught three of the TDs, a career-high for the second-year pro, and Terrance Copper got the other. Olindo Mare kicked a 26-yard field goal for the Saints’ other points.
By the end of the day, the Saints (3-4) were one game behind the Carolina (4-3) in the ever-tightening NFC South race and trailed the Tampa Bay Bucs (4-4) by a half-game after both division foes fell Sunday.
Even though they might have left some points on the field in the second half, the Saints probably played their most complete game of the season across the board in dispatching the 49ers (2-5).
After the Saints defense forced the 49ers into a three-and-out on their first series, Brees stunned the Niners by heaving a 43-yard completion to Patten after a double-move left two of their defenders — cornerback Nate Clements and former LSU safety Mark Roman — in his wake.
Patten had to slow down and reach back for the ball, but the result was a first down at the 49ers’ 30. Three plays later, a wide-open Colston had a 17-yard TD reception to give the Saints an early 7-0 lead.
“That put us in a rhythm right from the start,” Saints left guard Jamar Nesbit said. “Coach Payton saw something and took a shot. It worked out well for us because it gave us good field position and allowed us to open up the playbook.”
Did it ever.
While the Saints defense continued to do its part in frustrating Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore and quarterback Alex Smith, who was coming back from a separated shoulder, Payton kept the pressure up on offense.
In the second quarter, he called a double-reverse that wound up with Patten being dropped for a 6-yard loss.
Undaunted, Payton came right back with a deep pass to the end zone for Colston on a flea-flicker. While he didn’t come up with the catch, a 36-yard pass interference penalty set up Copper’s 2-yard TD catch two plays later.
Brees’ third TD of the first half, a 3-yard shot to Colston, gave the Saints a big 24-0 halftime lead. Brees was 21-of-26 for 222 yards and a passer rating of 140.7, while Patten had five catches for 109 yards and Colston had five for 52 yards.
“Today was definitely closer to a lot of performances last year,” Nesbit said after the Saints finished with a season-high 438 total yards. “The key was in getting into an early rhythm, and the offense really executed today.”
“The start we had on that first drive was very important,” said Patten, who didn’t catch a pass in the second half. “After that first play, we felt like we should be successful the rest of the day. It’s good to be on the other side of one of those scores.”
Colston finished off his hat trick early in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard scoring reception after the 49ers’ Joe Nedney kicked a 29-yard field goal in the third period. Colston beat himself up for not catching two more TDs, but realized it was a good day overall.
“Getting three touchdowns is definitely a great feeling,” said Colston, who finished with 85 yards on eight catches, “especially when you’re going against two pretty good corners (Clements and Walt Harris).”
Meanwhile, the Saints defense was doing its part.
It held an opponent under 100 yards rushing for the sixth consecutive game and limited Gore, who had a sprained ankle, to 41 yards on 12 carries. Smith completed 22 of 43 passes for 190 yards, but the 49ers finished with just 260 total yards — most of which came long after the outcome had been decided.
The Saints had two sacks of Smith and they also came up with a fumble to end a scoring threat as Josh Bullocks knocked the ball loose from running back Maurice Hicks and linebacker Scott Fujita recovered.
“We just didn’t make too many mistakes defensively and our offense sure did help us a lot,” said defensive tackle Brian Young, who had one of the sacks. “Having that big of a lead for the majority of the game gave us a really big advantage.”
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