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Saints have it all: a perfect blend of offense, defense

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; NEW ORLEANS — This just in: The Saints no longer are just Drew Brees and his merry band of receivers. They are a complete team. The Saints have known this for weeks. On Monday night, they demonstrated it in front ...

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Old 12-01-2009, 11:53 AM   #1
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Saints have it all: a perfect blend of offense, defense

NEW ORLEANS — This just in: The Saints no longer are just Drew Brees and his merry band of receivers. They are a complete team.
The Saints have known this for weeks. On Monday night, they demonstrated it in front of a national TV audience and a frenzied crowd in a Superdome that got so loud at times you swore the roof was about to explode.

Saints linebacker Scott Fujita wraps up Tom Brady, symbolic of how New Orleans kept New England under wraps Monday.
In raising their record to 11-0 with a convincing 38-17 victory over the Patriots, New Orleans showed it has plenty of weapons and playmakers on both sides of the ball. Brees and the offense have been good for the past four seasons. Now, they have a complementary defense.
And there's no limit to where these Saints can go. Think perfect regular season. Imagine the Super Bowl. That isn't hyperbole; it's a real possibility.
But if you think they're going ga-ga in the Saints' locker room, you're wrong.
"I think people are going to talk about this game and maybe blow it out of proportion a little bit," said quarterback Drew Brees (18-of-23 for 371 yards), who had a perfect 158.3 passer rating and threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers. "This game doesn't entitle us to anything. It's just another win in the win column."
It was no routine victory. The Patriots are the team of the oughts. They are the team most NFL teams want to model themselves after, they won three Super Bowls during a four-year span, they came into the game with a 7-3 record …
And the Saints blew them away—with offense and defense.
Brees distributed his passes to seven receivers. Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell combined for 114 rushing yards on 24 carries. A defense that has become so crippled in the secondary it had to sign veteran cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Mike McKenzie off the street in the past two weeks limited Tom Brady to 237 yards and intercepted him twice.
"They were better than we were in every phase of the game," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of the Saints. "I don't know how to put it any other way."
On a night filled with big plays by the Saints, no one came up bigger than McKenzie, the 10-year veteran who was released by New Orleans last March but re-signed a week ago because starting cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter are sidelined by injuries and several of their backups also are hurting.
McKenzie's first big play came late in the first quarter, after Wes Welker's 41-yard punt return set up New England with a short field at the New Orleans 46. On the next play, McKenzie stepped in front of a pass intended for Randy Moss and picked it off, returning it 9 yards. Six plays later, a Brees-to-Thomas 23-yard scoring pass gave the Saints a 10-7 lead.
While McKenzie's pick gave the Saints a huge lift, safety Darren Sharper was more impressed with the play McKenzie made later in the game while defending Randy Moss.
"I think the play that changed the momentum more was that breakup he had on fourth-and-4," Sharper said. "That breakup he had against Moss was just vintage Mike McKenzie."
After the Saints took a 31-17 lead in the third quarter, the Patriots looked like they were going to cut the gap when they reached the red zone. But on fourth-and-4 at the New Orleans 10, McKenzie cut in front of Moss and broke up the pass. Not a bad performance for a guy who hadn't played in an NFL game for more than a year.
The Saints look like they have all the parts to earn home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs and go deep into the postseason.

As for the Patriots, the loss reinforced the notion that they are a struggling road team. Not counting their victory over the Bucs in London, New England is 0-4 on the road, having lost to the Jets, Broncos, Colts and Saints. That's not a good omen for the playoffs, especially since the Patriots likely will have to go on the road at least once in the playoffs.
"We have to do a lot better to compete with a team of this caliber," Belichick said



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Old 12-01-2009, 01:58 PM   #2
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Re: Saints have it all: a perfect blend of offense, defense

We're looking at basically the last third of the season. Getting past the Patriots was a major hurdle to finishing the perfect season. Atlanta and Dallas are still substantial challenges to overcome but this team should be able to walk away with wins after both games. My only concern is the list of mounting injuries however, I believe we can win with the depth we have as long as the injury list doesn't get critical.
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