Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
It's been a while since we last did this, but I'm glad we got back to work for Monday Night Football. The Who Dats were out in force early (word of mouth says tailgating began around noon) and as creative as ever. We're gonna do two posts for this one. Hang onto to your butts.
- Marques Colston -- For a guy who's scored five touchdowns and has averaged 77 yards per game coming into tonight's contest, it's surprising to see how Colston has flown under the radar this season. He was nothing short of spectacular tonight, notching 85 yards and a touchdown with bonus points for the incredibly degree of difficulty of some of his catches. "Obviously he's no stranger to those types of catches," Drew Brees said afterwards about his top receiver.
- Pierre Thomas -- He made up for his fourth quarter fumble with a topsy-turvy touchdown run that all but sealed the deal for the Saints. His 91 yards set the tone for the entire game. And yet, he wasn't satisfied. "I have to eliminate that. I can't fumble," he said after the game.
- Jeremy Shockey -- Who Dats gave Shockey the loudest reception next to Drew Brees and he responded with a monster game, catching five passes for 72 yards including an incredibly acrobatic 17-yard grab during the Saints' last scoring drive.
- Who Dat Nation -- All 70,088 Who Dats were out in force tonight, from the early-day tailgating to the opening kickoff, all of downtown was buzzing with Saints fever. You could honestly feel the energy reverberating off the Superdome as game-time approached and it was as loud as ever during the game. Oh, and the two full-stadium 'Who Dat?' chants at the start and end of the game gave me chills. (Note: I don't blame the 30,000 or so fans that left with just under two minutes left, even though the game didn't end for another hour).
- Turnovers -- The Saints had four of them (eight in the last two games) and, sure, they were able to overcome them to win the game, but jeez, did it have to be so dramatic? Drew Brees' fumble was recovered for a touchdown and gave Atlanta an early lead. Later on, the game was all but over when Mike Bell fumbled and gave the Falcons new life. "We did a lot of things that can get you beat in games," Sean Payton said. If the Saints don't fix thses problems, they WILL get beat one day (well, maybe).
- Matt Ryan -- For a guy that threw three interceptions and was sacked three times, he still found a way to make the Saints pass defense look mediocre, passing for 289 yards. At least he was considerate enought to become completely undone in the fourth quarter.
- Michael Turner -- 151 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown? Just who does this guy think he is? Him running all up and down the field wore down the Saints D and may have exposed some weaknesses in the run defense that may get other teams thinking they can run all over the Black and Gold. What's up with that, Turner? Jerk.
- Drew Brees -- This is probably unfair but he's set such a ridiculous standard for himself that his 25-of-33 for 308 yards and two touchdown performance just isn't up to par for him. Especially when you consider that he also threw an interception and lost a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown. You're supposed to be the Golden-Armed Wonder Man, Brees. Not the Average-Armed OK Dude. Average-Armed OK Dude sucks.
- Saints' Secondary -- The DBs for the Saints had another uneven game, producing three interceptions (one for a touchdown) but also allowing Matt Ryan to throw for 289 yards including that 68-yard bomb to Roddy White to start the second half. I wish these guys would make up their minds as to whether they're good or not.
- Reggie Bush -- Hey look! Another touchdown! Isn't that just gravy? Just ignore the fact that he recorded a grand total of 15 positive yards. Seriously, ignore it. It will just make you angry.