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QBREES9 12-01-2009 09:37 AM

Recapping the New Orleans Saints' win over the New England Patriots
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Did you see ... Sean Payton?

Leading up to this game, several analysts suggested the New Orleans Saints would try to control the clock to keep the ball out of Tom Brady's hands. Sounds good in theory . . . but not if you know Sean Payton. That's just not his style.
Payton was aggressive from the first play, when he dialed up a deep ball to Devery Henderson that gained 33 yards. Then, all night long, he and quarterback Drew Brees picked apart the Patriots' defense with a series of masterfully-designed misdirection plays in the passing game. It was stunning to see how many times the Saints' receivers found gaping holes.
This game was reminiscent of the Saints' 2006 trip to Dallas, when they carved up the Cowboys and proved they were for real, with Payton emerging from mentor Bill Parcells' shadow. Payton even drew up a touchdown pass to unheralded tight end Darnell Dinkins on Monday night -- an ode to fullback Mike Karney's breakout night against the Cowboys in '06.
That victory at Dallas was probably the signature win of Payton's head-coaching career until now (narrowly edging the Saints' playoff victory that season). But Monday night's thorough victory probably surpassed it.
"He was on fire, " Brees said of Payton, agreeing with the notion that Monday's game probably meant a lot to Payton because he was going against a highly regarded defensive mind like Bill Belichick.
"In that regard, the feeling was (similar to Payton's win against Parcells), " Brees said. "Anytime you're kind of matching wits with a guy like that, it's kind of a little extra motivation. Sean still approached the week like he always does, which is take care of business and go out and execute and all the little things, take care of the football. But just like any competitor would, when you're going up against the best, kick it up a notch.
"Against Belichick in particular, you're not quite sure what you're going to get. You've got to call plays on the run, it becomes kind of a chess match, you've got to be ready for so many different scenarios and situations and looks. And Sean was on fire."
Did you see ... Mike McKenzie?
Ted Jackson/The Times-Picayune
New Orleans Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie, who re-signed with the team this week, intercepts a pass intended for New England Patriots receiver Randy Moss in the first quarter Monday night at the Superdome.
As you're reading this, the Saints' 33-year-old cornerback, Mike McKenzie, is probably immersed in a tub of ice, as his body reminds him that he just played a full-speed NFL game after a year away from the field.
But on Monday night, he was feeling better than usual.
"That's the strange thing about it. I feel very fresh. I felt like I could go out there and play another game, " said McKenzie, who wound up playing more than expected after cornerback Randall Gay left the game in the first half with a leg injury.
When asked how many snaps he played, McKenzie said, "Oh man, maybe 100?"
He spent most of the night running circles around one of the NFL's elite receivers, Randy Moss (with plenty of backup help from safety Darren Sharper). He got the adrenaline pumping during his 8-yard interception return in the first quarter. He even played on special teams. And he delivered two punishing hits on receiver Sam Aiken that he'd be feeling this morning even if he were a 23-year-old with a full year of practice under his belt.
Needless to say, it was a remarkable performance. And heck, if he could pull that off, the Saints might want to think about getting Deuce McAllister on the phone . . .
Did you see ... Pierre Thomas?
. . . On second thought, the Saints are doing just fine at tailback. Pierre Thomas seems to be getting stronger and faster with each passing week this season. He gained 64 rushing yards on 11 carries (with some nice blocking from guard Carl Nicks, in particular) and caught three passes for 23 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown.
Key matchup: Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady
Eliot Kamenitz/The Times-Picayune
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 21 of 36 passes with no touchdowns, two interceptions and was sacked twice Monday night against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome.
Brees needs to win at least one more game - in February - before he can officially join the Brady-Peyton Manning-Brett Favre hierarchy. But on this night, he was stunningly better than the three-time Super Bowl champion.
Brees finished with a perfect passer rating of 158.3, completing 18 of 23 passes for 371 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. A graphic flashed on ESPN said he was the first quarterback ever to throw for three touchdowns in one quarter against a Belichick-coached team.
Brady, meanwhile, was uncharacteristically flat, with zero touchdowns, two interceptions and a rating of 55.0. I think I wrote the word "Airmail" in my notebook a half-dozen times.
How the game was won
With their battered secondary, the Saints were expected to be overwhelmed by Moss, one of the NFL's all-time game-breaking receivers. Instead, they held him to three catches for 67 yards and no touchdowns. McKenzie's performance was huge -- especially when he stepped in front of Moss for the interception -- but it was a group effort, with Sharper shadowing Moss most of the night.

woody 12-01-2009 09:46 AM

Re: Recapping the New Orleans Saints' win over the New England Patriots
i love reading stuff like this! this is one of my favorite games in saints history, i'm gonna remember this one.

Dragon1950 12-01-2009 12:19 PM

Re: Recapping the New Orleans Saints' win over the New England Patriots
The best I've read so far today is on CBS Sports Mobile by Gregg Doyel titled "Easy Breesy". It's really worth reading.

Who dat? Nobody: Saints playing above, beyond rest of league - NFL - Football

Rugby Saint II 12-01-2009 12:40 PM

Re: Recapping the New Orleans Saints' win over the New England Patriots
Another informative article written with a slant towards the Saints. I love biased reporting. Seriously though, this was the best game this long time fan has ever seen. We demoralized the Patriots on Monday night football. 11-0 sure feels good.

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