Monday, October 19, 2009

New Orleans Sports Scuttlebutt 10-18-09

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 3:40 AM

By Clay A. Smith

Many viewed Sunday's battle of the undbeatens between the Saints and Giants as a seminal moment for both teams. The Saints took a 4-0 record into their week five bye (the first time since 1993), and Giants' quarterback Eli Manning dispelled any notion of a post injury let down after the Giants' 44-7 dismantling of the Oakland Raiders. The knock on both teams? Their opponents shared a combined record of 14-25. So naturally there were more questions about the legitimacy of the Saints, than there were about the former champions. Nevertheless, whenever they were tested by the Giants, New Orleans always seemed to come up big, with just the right answers.

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Manning stepped onto the field the NFL's second best rated quarterback Sunday, but it was Drew Brees who had the Saints playing head and shoulders above the Giants. In front of over 70,000 screaming fanatics the Saints annihilated the Giants 48-27. New Orleans gained almost five hundred yards against the NFL's number one ranked defense, scoring touchdowns on each of their first four possessions. Brees' four touchdown passes snapped a two game drought. Number nine threw for 369 yards on 23-of -30 passing.

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At one point Brees completed fifteen straight, with nearly 250 yards before halftime. His co conspirator, WR Marques Colston (the Giant slayer) also put in a full day's work before intermission, with 100 yards receiving on just four catches.

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“We came into the game knowing they’ve been banged up in their secondary," said Colston. "Their safeties haven’t really been able to cover some of the better receivers, so we knew with that, we could exploit some weaknesses.”

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Colston would go on to lead all receivers with 166 yards and a score-leaping over New York defenders in a single bound. In all, seven different Saints found their way into the end zone, including WR Lance Moore-who proved that he is still a threat (6 catches, 78 yards, 1 TD) as well as a really bad dancer.

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WR Robert Meachem only needed two catches to rack up 70 yards and a TD and TE Jeremy Shockey welcomed his old mates from the Golden State with his version of "southern hospitality," catching the second touchdown of the game on a one yard pass from Brees. The Saints were quick to downplay Shockey's  personal stake in Sunday's game, despite the former Giant's noticeably demonstrative antics.

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"...you knew the inner fire was burning and just about to explode," said Brees. "You hoped that would be in a very productive way on Sunday, and it was."

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Manning's homecoming wasn't what he'd hoped it would be, thanks in large part to Saints' defensive coordinator Greg Williams and his number three ranked defense. Williams' squad held the Giants to 38 total yards in the first quarter, with Manning completing just two of his first six pass attempts. Manning came into the game averaging  242 yards but against the Saints, he  was 14-of-31 for 178.

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Though the Giants finished with a respectable 325 total yards, they were only able to manage 177 through the first three quarters. Just before halftime safety Roman Harper forced a fumble to set up a seven yard Reggie Bush Score, and early in the third quarter Harper pressured Manning into his second turnover of the game when he blitzed the All-Pro QB, forcing an errand throw that ended up in the hands of CB Jabari Greer. The Giants third ranked running game wasn't any better. New York averages 160 rushing yards a game but had a little more than half that (84 rushing yards) against a New Orleans team that still hasn't allowed a 100 yard rusher this season.

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With under six minutes remaining Brees left the game to a chorus of cheers. Afterwards, he said that the Saints just wanted to "dictate the tempo" of the game. A 5-0 start sounds like it could be the makings of a much anticipated postseason run. With Brees as the conductor, the Saints orchestrated their most impressive win to date, behind a familiar refrain- "Who dat?" Nobody so far.

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