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QBREES9 01-14-2011 04:29 PM

Uneven year for Saints
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n its place was what has become a typical season for a defending Super Bowl champion ups and downs in the regular season capped by an early playoff exit.

The Saints were no different, shaking off a 4-3 start to win seven of their final nine games and make a late push for the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed.

A season that began with dreams of a repeat Super Bowl championship came crashing down with one of the more surprising playoff results in recent memory the Saints'

41-36 loss to 7-9 Seattle on Wild-Card Weekend.

What Went Right

The Saints offense was, once again, a productive force. Drew Brees ranked third in the NFL with 4,620 passing yards and the New Orleans running game did a passable job considering the large number of injuries that plagued the New Orleans backfield.

Following the pattern of most of the Sean Payton era in New Orleans, the Saints unearthed yet another playmaker in rookie tight end Jimmy Graham. The third-round draft pick from Miami hauled in 31 passes for 356 and five scores and gained Brees' trust down the stretch as he hauled in four of his five scores in the final three weeks of the season.

The Saints posted 11 wins, giving them back-to-back seasons of double-digit victories for only the third time in franchise history.

"Obviously, I'm proud of the fact we won 11 games and came back, despite the adversity, and played some good football," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "In the end we didn't play well enough in the postseason, but that, if my memory serves me correctly, was really put to rest in the regular season by winning 11 games."

Uneven year for Saints | | Shreveport Times

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