Saints and Bills Game Blog
The New Orleans Saints try to make it a 3-0 start to the 2009 regular season in Buffalo against the 1-1 Bills:
And the Saints are 3-0 with a very impressive 27-7 win at Buffalo this afternoon. Most impressive is the fact that the Saints defense was absolutely superb throughout, keeping Fred Jackson and the running game in check while pressuring Trent Edwards relentlessly. The Bills finish with just 274 yards, just 101 in the second half. The Saints amassed 394 yards total, including 222 rushing. In the first half, Reggie Bush and Lynell Hamilton carried the load. In the second half, Pierre Thomas took over, rushing 14 times for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns, all in the second half. His knee looked fully recovered. The offensive line was great in the second half, especially blocking for the running game. The Saints won despite Drew Brees looking ordinary. Brees was 16 of 29 for 172 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Marques Colston had 4 catches for 67 yards while Jeremy Shockey had 6 catches for 48 yards. The Saints forced two more turnovers while committing just one. This is a good football team that is playing very well. Great job on the road!
And the Saints defense, relentless with pressure, kills the Bills offense, forcing a punt. Victory formation, kneel a couple of times and it's 3-0!
And the Saints close out the Bills like champions. Pierre Thomas runs right for 19 yards and a score--untouched! 27-7 New Orleans with 2:03 to play in the game. The Saints have rushed 35 times for 225 yards (6.4 avg.) and three touchdowns. What was that about needing the run the football that we have all hollered for?
After getting another stop, the Saints defense gets the "O" the ball and Brees engineers a scoring drive, resulting in a 35-yard field goal by John Carney to make it 20-7 New Orleans with 3:21 to play. Pierre Thomas moves over 100 yards rushing--all in the second half. Only a holding call on Carl Nicks stops the drive, which is 9 plays, 48 yards, taking 4:01 off the clock.
And the Saints offense finally gets it done--rushing! Pierre Thomas rambled 34-yards left for a touchdown to make it 17-7 Saints with 9:55 to play in the game. On the score, Thomas got great blocks from Zach Strief and Heath Evans to clear the path. He made one nice cut in the open field and just got it in the end zone. Brees hit Bush for 12 yards on the drive while Thomas started it with a 5-yard run, followed by a personal foul facemask penalty on the Bills. Finally, some breathing room! 66 yard drive in just 3 plays.
Under pressure, Brees is just 2 of 10 for 34 yards. Pressure kills.
And the Saints defense gets a three-and-out ad Edwards misses Owens deep. He was open by 2 steps on Greer but the pass missed. Saints ball at their own 34-yard line with 11:01 to play, still leading 17-7.
So much for the invicible Saints offense....three-and-out again. They have done nothing in the second half. Morstead must punt again.
The Saints defense comes up big, forcing a three-and-out. Will Smith gets a sack on third and four. Punt coming.
Another high, 46-yard punt by Morstead. Add a penalty against Buffalo and the Bills will start deep in their own territory. Morstead has been otustanding again.
And the Saints offense sputters again--three-and-out. On third and nine, Payton calls a draw to Bush for 5 yards, well short of a first down. Third quarter ends 10-7 Saints. The defense may have to win this game.
Miss Jammal Brown yet? Bushrod was awful early in the game, left with an ankle, and now Strief is in and just got a false start.
The Saints defense comes up with a huge turnover to stop a Bills' drive. On third and 3 from the Saints' 27-yard line, Will Smith comes up with a huge interception on a tipped ball. It appeared that Jabari Greer knocked it in the air on a pass attempted for Terrell Owens. Buffalo took advantage of two personal foul penalties on the Saints to advance that far, one on Darren Sharper (stupid play) and another on Anthony Hargrove, his second of the game, on a terrible call. He hit Trent Edwards in the back tackling him. Did nothing wrong. Saints get the ball, anyway at their own 23, still leading 10-7 with 2:12 to play in the third quarter.
The Saints stall at the Buffalo 36, Morstead punts beautifully, downed at the Bills three-yard line. 6:26 to play in the third quarter--still 10-7 New Orleans. Buffalo has defended Brees and the passing game very well. The Saints defense has been outstanding. Let's see if they can get a three-and-out and get the offense a short field, which they need.
On fourth and one from his own 49, Payton goes for it and Brees bootlegs for 2 and a first down.
Pierre Thomas rushes for 19 yads and a first down. Jermon Bushrod done with an ankle sprain.
The Saints defense gets a stop, forces a punt and Reggie Bush makes a terrible mistake, letting it bounce. It rolls all the way to the Saints 3-yard line for a 56-yard punt. Very tough for Brees. Fans will not allow him or his offense to hear now up against the goal line, up 10-7 with just over 13 minutes to play in the third quarter.
Saints had the ball for 16:36 in the first half. Second half starting.
Buffalo will get the ball first to start the second half.
Halftime and the Saints lead the Bills 10-7. The Saints defense has been outstanding. The only touchdown by Buffalo was a special teams bust by the Saints on a fake field goal touchdown pass by the Bills. Malcolm Jenkins forced a turnover and Drew Brees turned it over on a fumble (sack) so the teams are even in that department. Brees came out red hot but has cooled off. Pressure has bothered him, the most he has seen this year. His ball has fluttered a bit as well and he has missed a couple of receivers. Brees is 10 of 17 for 114 yards. The Saints have rushed effectively, running for 89 yards. Reggie Bush has 9 carries for 56 yards while Lynell Hamilton has 5 carries for 24 yards and a score. Jeremy Shockey has 5 catches for 45 yards. For Buffalo, Trent Edwards is 12 of 19 for 104 yards while the Saints have held the Bills to just 39 yards rushing. The Saints have 203 yards to 173 for the Bills.
Forget about the good field position--excellent punt by Thomas Morstead, outstanding coverage and a penalty puts Buffalo at its own 24.
Chris Kelsay sacks Drew Brees on third down at his own 18-yard line and the Saints will have to punt it away with 2 minutes to play. Buffalo should get great field position and because Payton called two timeouts with the Bills on offense, starting with 3:35 to play in the half, Buffalo will have plenty of time (and timeouts) to tie or take the lead in the game. Why does Payton call timeout so early in the clock? It cost him here.
And the Saints do not take full advantage of the turnover, getting just 3 points. At least Coach Payton decided to kick it this time. John Carney boots a 27-yard field goal to give New Orleans a 10-7 lead with 4:17 to play in the first half. After Lynell Hamilton bolted 16 yards for a first down on the first play after the turnover, Brees threw incomplete, Bush ran for 3 yards, and Brees threw complete to Shockey way short of a first down. Must have been no one open deeper. NO chance for Shockey to make it. Buffalo's defense is easily the best the Saints have faced thus far in the young season. Zach Strief came in on third down to replace Jermon Bushrod to block Aaron Schobel.
After getting a stop, the Saints defense forced a punt, New Orleans started at its 20, Brees hit Bush for a first down but a tripping call on Shockey negated it. The call stunk. It was a poor call, costing the Saints a first down. The Saints punted and Malcolm Jenkins forced a fumble by Roscoe Parish and recovered it himself at the Buffalo 32. Second straight week that Jenkins has forced a turnover on special teams. Awesome play!
Saints turn the ball over. After driving to the Buffalo 32 yard line, he is hit, fumbles, and Aaron Schobel recovers at the Bills 38 yard line. Schobel beat Jermon Bushrod, forced the fumble, and recovered it. Was close to being a pass as Brees was trying to bring his arm forward.
New Orleanian Bobby April pulls a trick out of his bag to burn the Saints. On fourth and six from the Saints' 25-yard line, he calls for a fake field goal and it works perfectly. Holder Brian Moorman, the punter, throws a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Denney, who was running alone. Extra point good. Tied 7-7 with 14:48 to play in the first half. 9 play, 72 yard drive, 3:26 off the clock. Perhaps the Payton gamble has turned the tide in this game.
End of the first quarter and the Saints lead Buffalo 7-0. The Bills are on a drive, playing a third and six at the Saints' 25-yard line to start the second quarter. Gregg Williams' defense is blitzing on nearly every down. The pressure has been good but on the one play that they did not get to Trent Edwards in time, he hit Josh Reed for 18 yards and a first down. Reed had a total mismatch with linebacker Scott Fujita on the play. Expect pressure on third and six.
Sean Payton returns to his gambling ways and it backfires. The Saints drive to the Buffalo 28 and on fourth down and 2, he passes on a field goal, electing to throw a flair pass to Reggie Bush who is stopped cold for no gain. No confidence in John Carney from 45 yards? Brees tripped throwing the ball and it messed up the timing. On the previous play, he missed a wide open Devery Henderson for what would have been a first down. You don't want to give Buffalo any confidence. Could have been up 10-0. Don't like the decision.
The Saints have scored touchdowns on their first possession in all 3 games thus far in 2009.
After Buffalo moves to the New Orleans 47-yard line, the Saints get a stop as Jonthan Vilma laids the wood to Jackson on a screen pass to stop him 3 yards short of a first down. Punt sails into the end zone--Saints take over at their own 20, leading 7-0 with 6:30 to play in the first quarter.
Nice job of challenging the Saints offense, Dick Jauron. New Orleans quickly drives 10 plays, 82 yards and Lynell Hamilton, making his first NFL start, plunges into the end zone on first and goal from the 1-yard line to give the Saints a 7-0 lead with 10:04 to play in the opening quarter. On the drive, Drew Brees was 4 of 5 for 69 yards, including a third-down conversion pass to Marques Colston of 12 yards. He connected on a beautiful pump-fake completion of 31 yards to Colston and hit Devery Henderson for 20 yards. Time to play special teams and defense. Great start for an offense that looks great.
Short return by Courtney Roby to 18. LYNELL HAMILTON starts at running back and gains 4 on first down.
A little rain earlier in the day...Bills to challenge Saints right away. Buffalo won the toss and deferred, giving the Saints the ball first. Bills kicking off. No rain now.
Saints wearing white jerseys today--should feel right at home.
There is a slight chance of rain with radar showing a small cell of rain that could be hit and miss but otherwise, it looks good for the Saints to unveil their aerial show today.
It is mostly cloudy and 65 degrees with the wind out of the south at 6 miles per hour in Buffalo right now. The Saints are a 6-point favorite to make it 3-0.
Will Charles Grant be effective today? He is playing with a sore hamstring. Will Smith goes against a young tackle on the other side. Bobby McCray is the Saints best pass rusher.
Aside from being the team's leading rusher with 45 carries for 229 yards (5.1 per carry, 114.5 yds. per game), running back Fred Jackson is the top receiver for Buffalo with 11 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
In his amazing start this season, Drew Brees has completed passes to 10 different receivers. His counterpart, Trent Edwards, is 7-6 as a starter at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Bills Cornerback Drayton Florence, out since the middle of training camp with a knee injury, is back and he is active against the Saints today. Cornerback Leodis McKelvin is banged up but will play today. Terrence McGee, the other Buffalo starter at corner, is also dinged but will start.The active status of Florence is a hedge against the health of McKelvin and McGee. Former LSU star Josh Reed is active despite being questionable with an ankle injury.
The Bills inactives for today include wide receiver Justin Jenkins, cornerback Ellis Lankster, linebacker Paul Posluszny, lineman Jamon Meredith, defensive end Chris Ellis, defensive tackle John McCargo and Shawn Nelson.
It's the Saints in Buffalo to take on the Bills. The Saints have released center Nick Leckey to make room for signing Chase Daniel from the practice squad for today's game. The Saints inactives today include Rod Harper, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Kendrick Clancy, Darnell Dinkins, Lance Moore, Jammal Brown and Mike Bell.
Check out my preview of today's matchup plus another in-depth analysis.
The Saints and Bills kick off at 3:05 p.m. Central time. Two NFC South teams are in action now as the Bucs host the Giants and the Falcons visit the Patriots. The Carolina Panthers play on Monday night in Dallas.
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